How do you fix an iPhone that has gotten wet?

Having an iPhone accidentally get wet is a common problem many users face. Water exposure can cause a variety of issues, from cosmetic damage to complete device failure. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to fix an iPhone that has gotten wet and recover lost data.

What to do immediately

If your iPhone has been exposed to water, it’s important to act quickly. Here are the initial steps you should take:

  • Remove the iPhone from the water source immediately.
  • Dry the iPhone as thoroughly as possible with a clean, soft cloth. Try to soak up any excess moisture.
  • Don’t try to power on the iPhone right away. Water in the circuits can cause electrical damage.
  • Don’t try charging the iPhone until you are sure it has thoroughly dried.

Assess the water damage

Not all water damage is the same. The amount of water exposure and where it got into your iPhone affects the extent of the damage:

  • Minor exposure: If your iPhone just got a little wet but wasn’t immersed, there may be minimal damage. Water may have gotten into the headphone jack, charging port, speakers or microphone.
  • Partial immersion: If your iPhone was partially underwater, there is a risk of corrosion of the logic board and internal components. Water may be in the camera, buttons, battery and SIM card slot.
  • Complete submersion: If your iPhone was fully immersed, all components are at risk of water damage. The screen, motherboard, battery and other parts may be affected.

Dry out the iPhone

It’s critical to thoroughly dry out an iPhone that has gotten wet. Water trapped inside can continue to damage the phone. Here are some tips for drying your device:

  • Use a soft, absorbent cloth to gently blot away any moisture. Don’t rub the screen.
  • Place the iPhone in front of a fan or point a fan directly at it to speed up drying time.
  • Leave the iPhone to air dry for at least 24 hours before attempting to power on.
  • Do not use a hairdryer or other heat source, which can force water deeper into the iPhone.
  • Pack the iPhone in dry rice overnight to absorb any remaining moisture.

Clean corrosion from charge port

The iPhone’s charge port is especially prone to corrosion from water exposure. Here’s how to clean it out:

  • Use a toothpick, paperclip or SIM eject tool to gently scrape any corrosion or debris out of the charge port.
  • Use a soft brush or cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to swab out the port. This dissolves corrosion.
  • Compress air into the port using a can of compressed air to blow out any remaining moisture.
  • Let the port thoroughly dry before attempting to use it again.

Check for liquid indicator

iPhones have built-in liquid contact indicator strips that change color when exposed to moisture. Here’s what to look for:

  • Locate the small circular contacts inside the SIM card slot. They should be white or silver when dry.
  • Check the contacts at the bottom of the iPhone near the charging port. These also stay white/silver if dry.
  • If the strips have turned pink or red, your iPhone has been in contact with liquid.

Power on and test iPhone

Once your iPhone has thoroughly dried out (at least 24 hours):

  • Try powering it on. If it won’t turn on, the logic board may have been damaged.
  • Check that the touchscreen still responds and there is no visible corrosion.
  • Test buttons, speakers, cameras and microphone for full functionality.
  • Check if Apple services like iCloud and FaceTime work.
  • Try charging the iPhone to confirm the charge port isn’t corroded.

Restore iPhone using recovery mode

If your iPhone powers on but is glitchy, it likely has water damage to the software and firmware. Restoring the iPhone can fix software issues.

  • Connect the iPhone to a computer with iTunes installed via the lightning cable.
  • Initiate recovery mode – press and release the Volume Up button, press and release the Volume Down button, then press and hold the Side button until you see the recovery screen.
  • In iTunes select your iPhone and click Restore. This wipes the iPhone and reinstalls the latest iOS software.
  • Restore from an iTunes or iCloud backup once the process completes to get your data back.

Remove water from camera

The iPhone’s cameras are susceptible to water getting trapped inside. Here’s how to dry them out:

  • Use a can of compressed air to blow out any droplets left on the camera lenses or covers.
  • Place the iPhone camera-down and tap the back gently to release any water inside.
  • Let the iPhone dry for at least 48 hours before using the camera to allow any internal moisture to evaporate.
  • Over several days, moisture should condense out of the camera. You may notice foggy photos at first.

Have Apple replace water-damaged parts

For an iPhone with extensive water damage, replacement of affected components may be necessary. Apple and Apple Authorized Service Providers can swap out water-damaged parts like:

  • Logic board
  • Battery
  • Screen
  • Cameras
  • Speakers
  • Microphone

The costs depend on your iPhone model and what needs repair. Apple’s limited 1-year warranty does not cover liquid damage. AppleCare+ can help cover replacement costs.

Use water damage indicator stickers

To monitor possible water exposure, use these affordable third-party water damage indicator stickers:

  • Apply them inside your iPhone’s case or on the back of the device.
  • The stickers change color if they come into contact with moisture.
  • They let you know if your iPhone has gotten wet even if you weren’t present to witness it.

Invest in waterproof case

Your best protection against iPhone water damage is prevention. Investing in a waterproof case is highly recommended if you take your iPhone near water.

  • Waterproof cases seal your iPhone from water exposure.
  • Look for IP67 or IP68 ratings to ensure complete waterproofing.
  • LifeProof and Otterbox make reliable waterproof cases.

Get AppleCare+ coverage

Accidental damage from water exposure is one of the benefits of AppleCare+ for iPhone. It provides:

  • Additional 1 year of hardware coverage beyond the standard warranty.
  • Up to 2 incidents of accidental damage, each subject to a service fee.
  • Covers both partial and full water submersion.

Use a waterproof pouch

For lightweight occasional water protection, store your iPhone in a waterproof pouch or dry bag when around water:

  • They are made of transparent vinyl or plastic coated fabric.
  • The touchscreen can still be used through the pouch.
  • They provide protection when swimming, boating, at the beach.
  • They are a lower cost solution than a waterproof case.

Avoid liquid cleaning products

When cleaning your iPhone’s screen or case, avoid contact with liquids including:

  • Window cleaners
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Spray cleaners
  • Soap and water

The moisture can seep into cracks and openings. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe dust and debris off.

Turn off Siri

If Siri is enabled, water dripping or splashing on your iPhone’s microphone can accidentally trigger it. To prevent this:

  • Go to Settings > Siri & Search.
  • Toggle “Listen for ‘Hey Siri'” to off.
  • Toggle “Press Home for Siri” to off.
  • This disables always-listening and requires manually launching Siri.

Eject SIM card tray

If your iPhone has been submerged, water may have gotten into the SIM card tray. Eject it and dry it out:

  • Use the SIM eject tool that came with your iPhone to pop out the tray.
  • Dry out the SIM card and tray with a cloth or leave it to air dry overnight.
  • Check for any corrosion on the SIM connectors and clean if needed.
  • Let the SIM tray fully dry out before reinserting into your iPhone.

Dry out headphones

If your iPhone was exposed to water while headphones were plugged in, water may have traveled down into the headphone jack. Follow these steps for your headphones:

  • Unplug from iPhone immediately if exposed to moisture.
  • Dry out headphones with soft cloth or leave to air dry.
  • Use compressed air to blow out any water in headphone jack.
  • Do not plug wet headphones back into iPhone.

Rinse with distilled water

If your iPhone was submerged in saltwater, chlorinated pool water or dirty pond water, rinse it with distilled water before drying:

  • Lightly rinse iPhone under a gentle stream of distilled water.
  • Dry thoroughly with microfiber cloth to soak up excess moisture.
  • Never use tap water, which can contain minerals that leave deposits.
  • Distilled water removes dirt, minerals, and salts left behind.

Absorb moisture with desiccants

Placing your iPhone near desiccants can help draw moisture out of a water damaged device. Effective options include:

  • Uncooked rice – place iPhone buried in a bowl of uncooked rice overnight.
  • Silica gel packs – surround your iPhone in a sealed box or bag along with multiple packs.
  • Disposable desiccants – leave your iPhone with specialized moisture-absorbing packs.

Avoid heat exposure

Do not attempt to dry out your water damaged iPhone using a heating source like a radiator, heated fan, or hairdryer. The risks include:

  • Trapping moisture inside and worsening water damage.
  • Warping and melting internal components.
  • Potentially causing an electrical fire.

Allow your iPhone to thoroughly air dry for at least 24 hours before powering back on.

Don’t charge until completely dry

It’s important not to plug your iPhone into a charger until you are certain it’s 100% dry internally and externally. Dangers include:

  • Electric current traveling to components still wet can short circuit and fry logic board.
  • Moisture can corrode charge port pins and damage battery.
  • Sparking can occur if plugged in too early.

Allow 48-72 hours drying time to be safe. Visually inspect charge port for moisture beforehand.


Exposure to water can seriously damage your iPhone, but acting quickly can help mitigate issues. Thoroughly drying out the device and having it assessed by a repair technician are key steps following water contact. Taking protective measures like waterproof cases can also help you avoid problems down the road. With some care and luck, an iPhone can make it through a wet incident with minimal negative effects.