An iPhone that has been exposed to water may be able to recover, but it depends on the extent of the water exposure. Minor splashes or brief immersions in water have a good chance of recovery. However, if the iPhone was submerged deeply or for a long time, full recovery is less likely. The sooner you can dry out a wet iPhone by removing it from the water, drying its exterior, powering it down, and using desiccant packets, the better its chances of recovering completely.
What should I do if my iPhone gets wet?
If your iPhone comes into contact with water, immediate action is important to give it the best chance of survival:
- Retrieve it from the water as soon as possible. The less time it spends submerged, the better.
- Dry the exterior of the phone with a lint-free cloth to soak up excess moisture.
- If possible, rinse residue like saltwater or chlorine off the phone by briefly holding it under fresh, clean running water.
- Do not try to charge it or turn it on. Powering on an iPhone that has gotten wet can short circuit it.
- Do not try drying it with an external heat source like a hairdryer, which can damage internal components.
- Pack the iPhone in an airtight bag or container with silica gel desiccant packets. These absorb moisture.
- Let the iPhone dry out this way for at least 24 hours before attempting to use it again.
The key is to remove external moisture and allow time for internal moisture to evaporate before powering on the iPhone again. Rushing the process risks short circuiting the device.
How does water damage an iPhone?
When liquid makes its way into an iPhone, it can damage electronic components and circuitry in several ways:
- Short circuiting – Water can bridge separate circuits and create new conductive paths for electricity to flow where it should not. This disrupts proper function.
- Corrosion – Many iPhone components are made of metals like copper which corrode when they come into contact with an electrolyte-containing liquid like water.
- Mineral deposits – Solutions like saltwater leave behind mineral residues when they dry out which can insulate or oxidize components.
- Data loss – If water reaches the flash memory or logic board, data may be partially or fully lost.
The longer the iPhone remains wet on the inside, the more internal damage is likely to occur through short circuiting, corrosion, and mineral buildup. Swift action is required to mitigate these effects.
What factors determine chances of recovery?
An iPhone’s prognosis after water exposure depends on several key factors:
- Exposure time – The less time spent in liquid, the better. A quick splash has lower risk than immersion for 5+ minutes.
- Submersion depth – Shallow immersion in an inch or two of water is better than full submersion in a sink or pool.
- Water purity – Clean freshwater reduces mineral buildup versus saltwater or chlorinated water.
- Drying response – Quickly initiating drying with desiccants improves recovery odds over letting it air dry.
- Power status – An iPhone powered off before getting wet has the best chance since circuits are de-energized.
The combination of brief exposure time, shallow submersion depth, pure water, fast drying response, and powered-off state before water contact gives an iPhone the highest probability of recovering fully without issues.
What water damage issues can develop?
If moisture penetrates an iPhone’s internal components, a number of issues can crop up over hours or days:
- Display problems – Display may flicker, show distorted/discolored visuals, or stop working entirely.
- Powering off – Phone may struggle to maintain power and spontaneously power down due to short circuiting.
- Battery issues – Water may reach battery and cause catastrophic failure or reduced battery life.
- Corrosion – Metallic components like electrical contacts can develop corrosion over time.
- Speaker/microphone failure – Water exposure can prevent speakers and mics from functioning normally.
- Logic board failure – The logic board controls iPhone function; water can short circuit it.
These problems arise gradually, from immediate minor glitches to complete component failure within 1-2 days if moisture remains. Quick drying helps mitigate the issues.
How can I dry out my wet iPhone?
Here are some effective methods to dry out a wet iPhone:
- Pack it in an airtight container with silica gel desiccant packs for 24-48 hours. These absorb moisture.
- Bury it in a bowl of raw uncooked rice, which will absorb moisture.
- Use a vacuum extraction pump designed for drying out phones.
- Wipe down all accessible inner areas with isopropyl alcohol which displaces water.
- Do NOT use external heat from a hairdryer – this can damage internal components.
- Do NOT try charging it – this can short circuit the logic board.
The key is to be patient during the drying process. Allow 24-48 hours before attempting to use the iPhone again, and keep it powered off during that time to avoid issues.
What are my options if my iPhone is not recovering?
If drying out your iPhone has not resolved the water damage issues, there are still some options:
- Bring it to an Apple store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. Apple’s technicians offer out-of-warranty water damage repairs for a fee.
- Mail it to a dedicated water damage repair company. They can replace damaged components.
- Use a 3rd party iPhone repair shop. They may be able to swap out damaged parts like the logic board.
- Contact your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance provider. Some policies may cover iPhone water damage under personal property coverage.
- Purchase a new iPhone. Though costly, this may be necessary if repair costs exceed replacement cost.
Be aware that data recovery from a water damaged iPhone is unlikely if it is not powering on or has severe internal corrosion. Make sure anything important is backed up to iCloud or iTunes regularly.
How can I prevent water damage to my iPhone?
These tips can help safeguard your iPhone from liquid exposure:
- Use a sturdy waterproof case when going near water – at beach, pool, boating, etc.
- Do not use the phone in the bathroom – high risk of toilet/sink/tub splashes.
- Never swim/shower with iPhone, even if rated water resistant.
- Keep drinks away from phone to avoid spills.
- Turn phone off and remove battery before cleaning to avoid liquid ingress.
- Avoid placing phone in pockets when washing clothes or doing dishes.
- Only use original Apple cables – 3rd party ones may let water in.
- Consider getting AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss coverage for cheaper repairs/replacement if damaged.
A bit of planning and care goes a long way in preventing and minimizing iPhone water damage events. Quick response when it does happen improves the chances of a full recovery.
While no smartphone is 100% waterproof, a little bit of liquid exposure does not necessarily spell doom for an iPhone. For minor splashes and quick dunks, promptly drying out the device can allow it to recover fully. However, prolonged submersion especially in non-pure water raises the risk of component corrosion and failure over time. Fast action is key – remove it from the liquid, dry the exterior, power it down, pack with desiccant, and allow 1-2 days for internal drying. Following a careful recovery process gives the iPhone the best chance of surviving its swim. With some luck and perseverance, an iPhone can bounce back after a brief plunge.