How To Save a Wet iPhone or iPod

No matter how careful we are, iPhones sometimes get wet. It's just a fact of life. Whether we spill drinks on them, drop them in the tub, have kids who soak them in the sink, or any number of other watery mishaps, iPhones and iPods get wet.

But a wet iPhone isn't necessarily a dead iPhone. While some iPhones can't be saved no matter what you do, try these tips before you declare your beloved gadget dead.

Person holding a wet, dripping iPhone
Peter Cade/Iconica/Getty Images

Many of the tips in this article apply to wet iPods, too. We also have full details on saving a wet iPad.

Get an iPhone 7 or Newer (They're Waterproof)

Probably the easiest — but not the cheapest — to save a wet iPhone is to get one that is resistant to water damage in the first place.

Both iPhone 7 series models, as well as the iPhone 8 series and iPhone X, are water resistant and have an IP67 rating. That means the phone can survive being in up to 3.3 feet (1 meter) of water for up to 30 minutes without damage. You won't have to worry about spilling a drink on an iPhone 7 or briefly dropping it in the sink.

Even better, the iPhone XS series and XR have IP68 waterproofing. That means they can go into up to 2 meters of water for 30 minutes without damage.

If you don't have one of those models, though, try the tips and tricks in the rest of this article to save your wet device.

Don't Do This!

If your iPhone is soaked, what you don't do is just as important as what you do. If you're not careful, you might accidentally do something that could further damage your device. So, if your iPhone or iPod is wet, don't do the following:

  1. Never turn it on: If your iPhone is water damaged, never try to turn it on or wake it. You may be tempted to do that to see if it still works, but doing that can short out the electronics inside it and damage them even more. In fact, you should avoid anything that could cause the electronics to function, like getting notifications that light up the screen. If your phone was off when it got wet, you're fine. If your device was on, turn it off (this is a little risky, but it's better than leaving it on with all functions running).

  2. Don't use a hair dryer: While this technique can work for some people, you can also damage your device or spread the water around more. It's probably best to avoid fans, too, for the same reason. Don't leave your device on a radiator, either. That will get much too hot and could damage the phone in other ways.

How to Save a Wet iPhone

With those pitfalls avoided, follow these steps next to try to save your wet iPhone:

  1. Remove the case: If your iPhone is in a case, take it out. It will dry faster and more completely without the case retaining hidden droplets of water.

  2. Shake the water out: Depending on how soaked it got, you may be able to see water in your iPhone's headphone jack, Lightning connector, or other areas. Shake the water out as much as possible.

  3. Wipe it down: With the water shaken out, use a soft cloth to wipe the iPhone and remove all visible water (paper towel works in a pinch, but a cloth that doesn't leave residue behind is better).

  4. Remove the SIM card: The more drying air that gets inside the wet iPhone, the better. You can't remove the battery and there aren't many other openings, but you can remove the SIM card. The SIM slot isn't large, but every little bit helps. Just don't lose your SIM card!

  5. Leave it in a warm place: Once you've gotten as much water as possible out of the phone, keep your device off and leave it somewhere warm to dry for a few days. Some people leave water-damaged iPods or iPhones on the top of a TV, where the heat from the TV helps dry the device. Others prefer a sunny windowsill. Choose whatever tactic you like.

Advanced Techniques for Dealing with a Wet iPhone

The simplest and probably safest method to saving a wet iPhone is just to let it dry out naturally. But, there are a couple of advanced options you can try to accelerate the drying-out process:

  1. Silica gel packets: You know those little packets that come with some food and other products that warn you to not to eat them? They absorb moisture. If you can get your hands on enough of them to cover your wet iPhone, they help suck out moisture. Getting enough may be a challenge — try hardware, art supply, or craft stores — but they're a great option.

  2. Put it in rice: This is the most famous technique (though not necessarily the best). Get a ziplock bag big enough to hold the iPhone or iPod and some rice. Re-insert the SIM card, put the device in the bag and fill most of the bag with uncooked rice. Leave it in the bag for a couple of days. In that time, the rice should draw the moisture out of the device. Many a wet iPhone has been saved this way. Just watch out for pieces of rice getting inside the phone.

    Don't use enriched rice. It can leave dust behind that can get into your phone.

Try This Only If You're Desperate

If you're really desperate, or really skilled, you can try this option — but you better know what you're doing, because you can ruin your iPhone and void your warranty:

  1. Take it apart: You can take your iPhone apart to dry out the wet parts. Separate the parts to air dry or leave them in a bag of rice for a day or two and then re-assemble the device.

    This is a very risky option. Unless you really, really know what you're doing, you're likely to do more harm than good and should avoid this. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Try the Experts

Don't want to take on this task yourself? Try the folks with experience in repairing wet iPhones and iPods.

  1. Try a repair company: If none of these tactics work, there are iPhone repair companies that specialize in saving water-damaged iPhones. A little time at your favorite search engine can put you in touch with a number of good vendors.

  2. Try Apple: While moisture damage isn't covered by Apple warranties, Apple will provide repairs to iPhones that have been damaged by water. Different models have different prices for repairs, so keep an eye on this page on Apple's site for the latest details.

How to Check for Water Damage In a Used iPhone or iPod

If you're buying a used iPhone or iPod or lent your device to someone and now it's not working so well, you may wonder if it got submerged in water. You can do this using the moisture indicator built into iPods and iPhones.

The moisture indicator is a small orange dot that appears in the headphone jack, Dock Connector, or SIM card slot. Check out this Apple article to find the location of the moisture indicator for your model.

The moisture indicator is far from foolproof, but if you see the orange dot, you need to at least consider that the device may have had a bad experience with water.

Software Tips for Dealing with a Wet iPhone

After you've dried your iPhone or iPod, it may start up just fine and work as though nothing happened. But many people encounter some software problems when they first try using it. Try these tips, which also apply to iPod touch and iPad, for dealing with some of the common problems:

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