#FridayHacks: How to salvage iPhone from Water Damage

Dropped an iPhone in Water? Here’s How to Save It from Water Damage

Picture this. You are taking care of dishes at home and  your phone accidentally drops into to the sink full of water. Dunking a $650 electronic device into water is a pretty terrible feeling especially in this current economic situation were cash has turned out to be a diamond that cannot be easily found.

By David Zvina

6 Things To-Do Immediately if iPhone has Water Contact

 Drop everything and do this first

  1. Remove from water as soon as humanly possible (obvious, right? But seriously, seconds can matter here so move quick)
  2. Turn the iPhone off immediately by holding down the power button until it shuts off
  3. Remove any case or enclosure right away since they can trap in moisture, screen protectors are fine to leave on unless there’s an obvious water bubble
  4. Dry out the iPhone as best as you can using cloth (t-shirt, socks, whatever is readably available) or an absorbent material. Wipe down the screen, sides, and back. Pay special attention to the power button, volume buttons, mute switch, speakers and microphones, and the audio output jack, try and get all visible moisture soaked up
  5. Use a Q-Tip if possible to try and soak up extra water from the audio output jack and in small crevices. If you’re out and about or have no q-tips handy, a little stick or sharp pencil poking through a t-shirt or cotton material can work too
  6. Disconnect any headphones, ports, chargers, USB cables, or accessories immediately

Put the iPhone Into a Sealed Bag Full of Rice

  • A zip-lock bag or similar that is air tight
  • Rice, any generic type, ideally not “enriched” (more on that in a second)
  • Patience for at least 36 hours

Fill a zipper locked bag fairly full of rice so that the entire iPhone will be covered like in the picture below, then place the iPhone into the bag and seal it shut with some air in the bag.

put the iPhone in a bag of rice

put the iPhone in a bag of rice

Any type of rice works, but try to avoid enriched rice, the reason being that whatever enriches it leaves a lot of white residual powder in the bag and it will also get into the ports and buttons on the iPhone. The patience part is the hardest, and generally the longer you wait the better the likely outcome because you want all water inside the device to be completely absorbed by the rice before trying to power it on again 36 to 48 hours should be enough to dry up your iphone completely.

Check the Water Damage / Liquid Contact Sensors

What if water damage occurred and something doesn’t work?

If the iPhone has dried out, suffered water damage, and warranty service is fruitless, the four things most likely to go wrong are the following:

  • The home button becomes unresponsive – try this trick first, but if it’s completely unresponsive you can usually get by with the onscreen home button trick as a fix to deal with a broken home button
  • Audio output is dead – no simple user alternative or repair, consider using a USB based dock if you want to listen to audio instead
  • Volume buttons, mute buttons, and power button don’t work – you can get by without having volume and mute buttons since both of those are available through software, the power button will be a problem though if it’s unresponsive so don’t let the iPhone run out of battery
  • Diminished touch-screen response – depending on the severity this can be tolerable or terrible, sometimes replacing a screen helps, sometimes it doesn’t because the problem can be deeper than just damage to the liquid crystal display

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