Water damage is one of the most common ways that iPhones get damaged. If your iPhone has been exposed to water, it’s important to dry it out as quickly as possible to give it the best chance of surviving. But how long does it actually take for an iPhone to dry out after water damage? Here is a detailed look at the iPhone drying process and timelines.
How Water Damages iPhones
When water gets inside an iPhone, it can damage the device in a few key ways:
- Corrosion – The metals inside the iPhone can corrode when they come into contact with water. This is one of the main ways water damage destroys iPhones.
- Short circuits – Water can bridge connections and create shorts or faulty connections on the logic board.
- Mineral deposits – As water evaporates, it can leave behind mineral deposits that interfere with electrical connections.
- Component damage – The various components and chips inside the iPhone can be damaged by water exposure, leading to malfunctions.
The severity of water damage depends on a few key factors:
- Amount of water – The more water exposure, the more extensive the damage.
- Water impurities – Pure, distilled water causes less damage than tap water or other liquids which have minerals and contaminants.
- Power status – Powered-on devices sustain more damage as the electrical currents can interact with the water.
- Speed of drying – The faster the phone can be dried out, the less damage is sustained.
Drying Steps to Save a Water Damaged iPhone
If your iPhone has gotten wet, it’s crucial to dry it out as quickly as possible. Here are the steps you should take:
- Immediately power off the iPhone – Don’t try to power it on to check if it’s working. Powering it off will help prevent shorts and fires.
- Remove the SIM card – Use a SIM card removal tool or paperclip to pop out the SIM card tray and remove the card. Drying will be more effective with the card removed.
- Dry the exterior – Use a lint-free cloth to gently blot up any moisture on the iPhone’s screen, buttons, ports, camera, etc. Don’t rub the screen.
- Do not charge – Don’t try to plug in and charge a wet iPhone. Only charge once it’s fully dry.
- Dry out ports and buttons – Use compressed air to blow out any water lingering in the ports, speakers, microphones, and buttons.
- Place in front of a fan – Point a fan directly at your phone to speed up evaporation. This can significantly cut drying time.
- Insert in rice – Place your iPhone in a sealed bag or container filled with dry, uncooked rice. Rice will absorb ambient moisture.
- Use desiccant packs – Desiccant material absorbs moisture rapidly. Place your phone in an airtight container with multiple packs.
- Do not microwave or heat – Never try to speed up drying with heat, which can damage the iPhone’s components.
How Long Does it Take for an iPhone to Dry Out?
The exact timeframe for drying out a water-damaged iPhone depends on several factors:
- Amount of water exposure – The more soaked the phone, the longer drying takes.
- Steps taken – Using fans, rice, etc.accelerates drying vs. just air drying.
- Temperature – Warm, dry environments speed up drying vs. cool, humid ones.
- Type of water – Clean water evaporates faster than contaminated liquids.
- iPhone model – Newer models with water resistance dry quicker.
As a general guideline, here are some estimates for iPhone drying times:
|Splashed or briefly submerged
With more extensive water damage where the phone was fully submerged, drying times could extend up to a week before the phone is completely dry and safe to use.
Tips to Speed Up iPhone Drying Time
Here are some tips that can help cut down the iPhone drying period:
- Use multiple drying methods – Combine several approaches like rice, fans, desiccant packs.
- Keep in warm spot – Heat accelerates evaporation. Don’t overheat or use microwaves though.
- Disassemble if needed – Taking apart the phone lets inner parts dry. Only if experienced.
- Change desiccants frequently – Swap out moisture absorbing packs for fresh ones.
- Keep powered off and open – Power off the phone and leave ports/covers open for airflow.
- Use moisture-absorbing bags – Silica gel and other materials pull moisture away.
Signs Your iPhone is Fully Dry
How can you tell when your iPhone is 100% dry and ready to be powered on and used? Here are some signs:
- No moisture in ports/buttons – Shake out and check for trapped water.
- Rice or desiccants remain dry – If they are moist, phone still has water inside.
- Back of phone feels dry – Check for any lingering dampness.
- No condensation on screen – Power on and check for fogginess under glass.
- Full functionality – Power on phone and test all features respond normally.
- Battery charges normally – Able to charge to 100% capacity.
Even if the iPhone seems dry externally, water trapped internally can take longer to evaporate completely. It’s smart to give it a few extra hours before use just to be safe.
Water Resistant iPhones Dry Faster
In recent years, Apple has added water resistance capabilities to many iPhone models. Here are some notable water resistant models:
|Water Resistance Rating
These water resistance ratings of IP67 and IP68 indicate the phones can withstand submersion in 1-3 meters of water for 30 minutes without damage. However, Apple still does not cover water damage under warranty.
While water resistant iPhones can survive brief water exposure better, they will sustain damage if not dried properly. The main benefit is they will dry out significantly faster thanks to waterproof adhesives and seals around components.
Water Resistance Rating Drying Times
Here are some approximate drying times for water resistant iPhone models compared to non-resistant ones:
|Water Resistant iPhone
|Splashed or briefly submerged
Thanks to internal sealing, water resistant models like the iPhone XR can dry in about half the time after being splashed, partially submerged, or even fully dunked underwater.
Getting Professional iPhone Water Damage Repair
Even after thoroughly drying out a water damaged iPhone, future issues can arise due to corrosion or component failures. Some signs of lingering water damage include:
- Reduced battery life
- Dim or flickering display
- Faulty speakers, microphones, or cameras
- Glitchy or unresponsive touchscreen
- Reoccurring error messages
If your iPhone experiences problems after water exposure, professional repair may be needed. Repair shops can diagnose the issue and potentially restore your iPhone using methods like:
- Ultrasonic cleaning – Uses sound waves to deeply clean interior parts.
- Isopropyl alcohol rinse – Displaces water and cleans corrosion from logic board.
- Circuit deoxidization – Electrically removes built-up corrosion on components.
- Board repair – Soldering replacement of damaged chips, ports, or connectors.
- Full restoration – Combination of cleaning, part replacements, and inspection.
Professional iPhone water damage repair typically costs $100-$300 on average depending on the model, extent of damage, and parts needing replacement. While not cheap, a skilled restoration can often salvage an iPhone even after significant water exposure for much less cost than full replacement.
Preventing Water Damage to iPhones
While no iPhone is 100% waterproof, there are steps you can take to help prevent liquid damage:
- Use a protective case – Cases add extra protection if you drop your phone in water.
- Attach a lanyard – Keep your phone securely around your wrist or neck when near water.
- Keep away from moisture – Avoid setting your iPhone down around sinks, tubs, or pools.
- Turn off before wet activities – Power off if you expect to get splashed or sweaty.
- Don’t take in steam rooms or saunas – High heat and steam can damage water sealing.
- Dry hands before handling – Wipe hands to avoid accidental splashes into ports.
- Never charge wet iPhone – Don’t plug in until phone is fully dried out.
While not perfect, these tips can reduce your iPhone’s chances of getting wet. But if it does succumb to water damage, act quickly to dry it out for the best chance of recovery.
Water exposure is one of the top ways iPhones get damaged, but drying times can vary from 24 hours to a week depending on the situation. Immediately powering off and drying with rice, fans, or desiccants will help minimize water damage. Water resistant models have internal seals that allow faster drying. If your iPhone sustains lingering damage after water contact, professional board repair and restoration may be needed, but can often salvage a wet phone. With the right response, even significant water damage does not have to be a death sentence for your iPhone.