How To Save a Wet iPhone or iPod

Wet smart phone being taken out of toilet
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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 get wet.

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

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

Get an iPhone 7 or Newer

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. That's the iPhone 7 series. Both iPhone 7 models, and 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.

Preparing To Dry Your Device

  1. Never turn it on: If your iPhone is water damaged, never try to turn it on. 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.

  2. Remove 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

Your Best Bet: Just Let It Dry

The best and safest method to saving a wet iPhone is just to let it dry out naturally. When you do that, try these tips:

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

If You Need More Help

If you want to try for a more thorough drying-out, or want to speed up the process, here are some ideas.

  • Try 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.
  • 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 (don't use enriched rice. It can leave dust behind). 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.
  • Use a hair dryer: Be very careful with this one. It can work for some people, but you can also damage your device this way. If you decide to try it, blow a hair dryer on low power on the wet iPod or iPhone about a day after it got wet. Don't use anything more intense than low power. A cool fan is another good option.

    Try This Only If You're Desperate

    • Take it apart: You better know what you're doing, because you can ruin your iPhone and void your warranty, but you can take your iPod apart to dry out the wet parts. In this situation, some people use the hairdryer, others like to separate the parts and leave them in a bag of rice for a day or two and then re-assemble the device.

    Try the Experts

    Don't want to take on this task yourself? Try the folks with experience in these matters.

    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, an Apple policy introduced in May 2009, though not advertised, reportedly lets you trade submerged iPhones for refurbished models for US$199. You'll likely need to request this offer at the Apple Store and be able to demonstrate that the iPhone was submerged.

    Checking 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: