For the longest time, we've all known that electronics and water don't mix, and this has never been truer than with portable, personal electronic devices like cameras and music players. This was also true of feature phones, as many discovered by inadvertently dropping them in the toilet or bath.
Now that smartphones are so universal and take on the role not only of phones but the aformentioned cameras and music players, as well as personal computers, video players, web browers and perhaps even a mobile office of sorts - it has never been more important to protect your device from the wet stuff. But, accidents can and do happen, no matter how cautious you are.
There is some mercy as phone-makers such as Sony add waterproofing to their devices. Samsung did this too and Motorola has a few water-resistant models in its portfolio. And as of the last few years, Apple has made the iPhone water resistant. Water resistant iPhones include the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.
But what if you don't have one of these models andyour iPhone gets wet? You may think there's no solution other than buying a new phone. This isn't always the case, however. Although we have to say that there's no guaranteed way of saving a drowned iPhone, there are a few things you can do to give it the best chance of survival.
Note that this guide is equally applicable to whatever type of iPhone you've got, whether it's a now long-in-the-tooth iPhone 4s or the latest iPhone 8s Plus and anything in between!
First of all, if you do take your iPhone back to the Apple Store or your mobile supplier, don’t lie - they’ll find you out. The iPhone has four 'Liquid Submersion indicators' inside it that turn pink on contact with water - so they will know if you're telling porkies.
Here's where the indicator is located on the iPhone 5 and above:
And here is where the indicator is located ont he iPhone 4s and below:
If the iPhone has water damge and the indicator has been triggered it will be half pink and half white.
If the indicator is triggered, Apple won’t - or can’t help - but all is not lost. There are plenty of reports online showing people successfully ‘drying out’ their iPhones. If you have completely immersed your iPhone in water don't try to restart it by plugging it into a power source - seriously. And put away that hairdryer.
Instead, follow the steps below to have the best chance of resurrecting it. First, wipe off the liquid and gently shake the phone to clear ports and sockets.
Out of all the tried and tested methods, the most successful is using Silica gel - which is an incredibly moisture-absorbent substance often found in new handbags or with new pairs of shoes. If you keep your packaging for hi-fi or cameras you may already have some lying around the house. Otherwise, you can find it at Arts & Crafts shops - it's used for drying flowers - or you may be able to blag it from an electronics store. You can also order it online from places like Davpack
Then pack the iPhone in a sealed plastic bag, safely nested among packets of Silica gel, and store it in a dry place (like the back of a cupboard) for three days. If you’ll miss your phone during this time you can always pop your SIM in a temporary one - and giving it time to dry out should ensure the moisture is drawn out from the electronic innards of your iPhone
If you can't get hold of the Silica gel quickly place your iPhone in a bag or box of uncooked rice and reseal it. This will keep it as dry as possible in the meantime. Transfer the iPhone to the Silica gel bags when you get them.
Finally, connect up your iPhone to your PC, load up iTunes and try to do a complete Restore. This will provide you with the best chance of getting the iPhone to its pre-drenched working state.
To further prevent liquid damage, Apple recommends you avoid the following:
- Swimming or bathing with your iPhone
- Exposing your iPhone to pressurized water or high-velocity water, such as when showering, water skiing, wake boarding, surfing, jet skiing, and so on
- Using your iPhone in a sauna or steam room
- Intentionally submerging your iPhone in water
- Operating your iPhone outside the suggested temperature ranges or in extremely humid conditions
- Dropping your iPhone or subjecting it to other impacts
- Disassembling your iPhone, including removing screws
- Minimize exposing your iPhone to soap, detergent, acids or acidic foods, and any liquids—for example, salt water, soapy water, pool water, perfume, insect repellent, lotions, sunscreen, oil, adhesive remover, hair dye, and solvents.