If you own an iPhone, in all likelihood you will drop it in water at some point in your life. The bath, toilet, kitchen sink, and more are all death traps for that expensive device in your hand.
But before you toss your wet phone in the trash and head to the nearest store, stop and read this first. We might be able to help you bring your cherished device back to life.
Let’s start with a quick list of what you should and should not do. Hopefully, these bullet points will get you on the right track in those precious first few moments. Here’s how to fix a water-damaged iPhone.
What to Do If You Drop Your iPhone in Water
- Turn it off immediately.
- Remove the case to allow air to circulate.
- Remove any accessories (headphones, card readers, etc.).
- Blot away as much excess water as possible using paper towels.
- Put it in a warm, dry, non-humid place.
- Wait at least 48 hours before trying to turn it on again.
- Back up your data immediately if it starts working.
Lastly, if you dropped your phone into the ocean or any liquid with particles (such as soup or a dirty puddle), wash it thoroughly under the tap for several minutes. It might sound counter-intuitive, but salt will corrode the electrics, and errant particles can short the circuitry.
What NOT to Do If You Drop Your iPhone in Water
- Plug it into a wall socket or your computer.
- Put it in the oven.
- Blow a hair dryer on it.
- Place it on top of a radiator.
- Use rice. Rice is not a drying agent. It might even make the situation worse; the fine powder can get inside your phone and turn the water into goop.
- Shake it or rotate it. If your phone only took a brief bath, you don’t want water to get into parts that are still dry.
- Press the Home button.
Any of these steps could cause further damage to your wet iPhone.
How to Get Water Out of Your iPhone
This is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? How are you supposed to get the wetness out of your phone if you dropped it in water?
Again, it might be counter-intuitive, but it’s vital not to try and dry your phone too quickly. Rapid heating will cause the water to evaporate inside the phone. As soon as you remove it from the heat source, the water will condense and recollect inside your gadget. As any tortoise will tell you, slow and steady wins the race.
You need to find a warm and dry place that’s not humid. If you have a dedicated boiler room in your house, that’s a good place to start. If it’s a warm day, you can also leave it outside (though not in direct sunlight). Leaving your phone under a desk lamp is also a good choice.
In a dream world, you’d have some synthetic desiccants on hand. The most common example of a desiccant is the little packet of silica gel beads that you find in new electronics, as well as some food and medications.
If you’re clumsy and have a history of wet phones, it might be worth buying a desiccant that’s specially made for electronics to keep around your house. The most well-known brand in the sector is the Bheestie Bag. Just pop your phone inside the bag and leave it for 24 hours.
How to Get Water Out of iPhone Speakers
Even if you’re lucky enough to get your phone working again, you might still have an issue: water in the speakers.
So how do you fix it? You could try using a can of compressed air, but you need to be careful. If you hold the nozzle too close the speaker, you might irreparably damage it.
You could also try using an app called Sonic, which probably has you wondering how an app can possibly get water out of iPhone speakers.
Well, to understand how it works, let’s look to the Apple Watch. In case you’re not aware, the Apple Watch has a native feature which uses vibrations at differing frequencies to dislodge liquid from the speaker. iPhones have no such feature.
Sonic replicates the Apple Watch functionality. It generates a sine wave tone and allows you to set the frequency to anything between 0Hz and 25KHz.
Best of all, it really does work. It boasts almost exclusively four and five-star ratings on the App Store, all from people who dunked their phone in water.
Note that if the speakers aren’t working at all, your iPhone could be stuck in headphone mode. Try restarting your phone, inserting a different pair of headphones, and checking for debris in the jack if this happens.
How to Fix a Water-Damaged iPhone Screen
If you’ve followed this guide precisely (and you’ve benefited from a dollop of good fortune), you might be able to get your phone up and running again.
But what should you do if you have a water-damaged screen?
Sadly, there’s no easy fix. You can have a stab at fixing it yourself, but you’ll have to disassemble your phone to pieces. And on iPhones, that’s no easy task. Still, if you’re confident in your technical capabilities, you can try.
Any water in the screen is almost certainly stuck between the backlight and the LCD. Backlights are cheap and easy to desolder and resolder. Peel the old one off, resolder the new one, and then stick it to the LCD.
The backlight must be perfectly clean before attaching it. Even the slightest mark will be visible when the phone’s screen is on.
Find iPhone Repair Shops Near You
If the soldering sounds a bit complicated, or if you’ve not managed to get your phone working again, it’s probably time to head to a repair shop.
You can find the nearest places to your home on Apple’s website. Google can also help you find third-party repair shops, but they won’t provide official Apple care.
For Next Time: Get a Water-Resistant iPhone Case
Lastly, it might be worth buying a water-resistant case to stop this from happening in the future.
Depending on your model of iPhone, you should be able to pick one up for cheap on Amazon. Try the below model from Vapesoon if you have an iPhone 7 Plus or 8 Plus.
Other Ways to Make Your Phone Water Resistant
A case is only one solution for safety in water. There are a few other ways to make your phone water-resistant; indeed, many new phones ship with water resistance built in.
We’ve also covered ways to how to protect your other electronics from water, especially in areas prone to flooding, in case you’re worried about your portable speaker or tablet.