What to do when your iPhone gets wet

Close-up of a smartphone with water droplets on it.

Modern iPhones can withstand splashes of water, but you shouldn’t rely on Apple’s water resistance rating and take too many chances. Just follow a few simple steps to improve your device’s chances.

Your iPhone is probably waterproof

If you have an iPhone 7 or newer, the good news is that your device has some level of water resistance. The bad news is that this rating may have decreased over time, so it shouldn’t be taken for granted.

The following iPhone models can withstand a depth of 6 meters in up to 30 minutes (IP68):

The following iPhone models may be supported 4 meters in up to 30 minutes (IP68):

  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max

The following iPhone models may be supported 2 meters in up to 30 minutes (IP68):

  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max

These remaining iPhone models can handle it 1 meter for up to 30 minutes (IP67):

  • iPhone SE (second generation)
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 (including 8 Plus)
  • iPhone 7 (including 7 Plus)

If you have an older device, there is no guarantee of water resistance. This doesn’t equate to moisture, which means it’s game over, but rather the chances of your device surviving a submersion are much less.

Age and damage to the chassis can seriously affect water resistance. Using compressed air to clean the charging port can also damage the seal (instead, clean the charging port carefully). You should be careful not to get your iPhone wet, even if you have a modern iPhone with a relatively high level of protection. The water damage is not covered by Apple’s standard warranty.

CONNECTED: How water resistance ratings work for gadgets

iPhone not waterproof? Turn it off

Water can damage your iPhone since it conducts electricity, so turning off your iPhone is a good idea if it gets wet. This is especially true if you have an iPhone model that isn’t waterproof, is old, or has been damaged in some way that you think may have compromised the waterproof seal.

Apple iPhone 6 promotional image

Drying your device thoroughly before turning it back on will give it the best chance of survival. You should wait about 48 hours before plugging it in and leave it in a warm, dry place to let the moisture evaporate.

Dry off and don’t panic

CA A LOT modern iPhone models can withstand a splash of water, whether it’s heavy rain, a spill on the dinner table, or a drop in the bathtub. After turning off your device, dry your iPhone thoroughly. Use a soft cloth to remove moisture, paying close attention to the charging port where droplets are harder to reach.

You should wait for your iPhone to dry completely before charging it. Your iPhone may give you a moisture detection warning in the charging port if you don’t, recommending that you wait 48 hours before charging again to make sure all the moisture has evaporated.

If you’re confident that your iPhone’s water resistance hasn’t been compromised, you may decide to continue using it as normal during this time. If your charge is low, think wireless charging so that the charging port has time to dry.

Remove moisture from the speaker as well

If you’ve decided to use your iPhone as usual, you may notice that the speaker isn’t working as it should. A muffled or crackling tone may be heard, which is due to moisture that has not yet evaporated. You can either wait for this to happen naturally or try using an app like this one Sonic Ⓥ.

Sonic V app for iPhone

This app is a tone generator that has a dedicated tone generator button designed to remove moisture from an iPhone speaker. It’s ad-supported, so you can experiment with a full range of tones from 0Hz to 25,000Hz to dislodge moisture that’s causing problems.

Salt water is much worse than fresh water

Salted water causes corrosion at a much faster rate than fresh water, so it’s important to rinse your iPhone thoroughly if you drop it in the ocean. You need to do this as soon as possible, because the longer you wait, the worse things can get. If you fail to get rid of the salt, corrosion can continue even in the absence of moisture.

A person holding an iPhone under running tap water.
Luca Scarabottini/Shutterstock.com

Because salt water is so corrosive, the damage may already be done. The gold contacts in the charging port can quickly corrode, preventing your iPhone from charging at all using cable. You’ll want to remove any salt residue using a soft brush and fresh water to give your iPhone the best chance of survival.

This advice also applies to sugary and alcoholic drinks, although they won’t cause corrosion like salt water.

CONNECTED: What to do if you drop your smartphone in the ocean

Rice is useless

Putting your iPhone in rice it will not help dry it and instead may cause rice grains to get stuck in the loading port. We recommend cooking your rice and eating it instead, perhaps with a nice curry or in a sushi roll depending on the grain.

It’s much better to leave your iPhone in a dry, warm place with plenty of air flow for about 48 hours to allow any remaining moisture to evaporate.

Often near the water? Get a waterproof case

If there’s a good chance your iPhone will get wet, why not take the preventative step and get a waterproof case? They can give peace of mind to even the most clumsy of iPhone owners, with a range of designs to choose from.

There are waterproof cases to suit almost every type of user. The LifeProof FREE the all-rounder is a good choice and protects against leaks and moisture up to 2 meters deep.

LifeProof FRE waterproof case

If you are a recreational user who enjoys boating or kayaking, a floating dry bag may be a better choice. Something like that CaliCase universal waterproof floating case hangs around your neck and ensures that your device will float if it falls into the water. You can spend a lot less on a case like this, but make sure it’s sturdy enough to take some wear and tear depending on your hobby.

CaliCase universal waterproof floating case

CaliCase Universal Waterproof Floating Case – White

Protect your iPhone while on the water with a floating case that you can hang around your neck. If the worst happens, you should be able to find your iPhone again because it will be floating in the water, not at the bottom of a lake.

If you want to take your iPhone a little deeper, a diving case will allow you to use it for underwater photography and video recording. Look in YOGRE diving box which can withstand a depth of 15 meters (50 feet) and has a convenient design for holding the camera.

YOGRE diving box

Even with a case, you should still make sure to rinse the case thoroughly with salt water before removing the device.

iPhones are more waterproof than ever

The good news is that your iPhone will probably be fine in most cases. Apple smartphones are more resistant to water ingress and drops than ever before. With this in mind, AppleCare+ might be a good idea if you’re particularly concerned or have a history of destroying personal electronics.

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