What to do with a water damage iPhone?

If your iPhone has been damaged by water, don’t panic. There are several steps you can take to try and salvage your device. The most important thing is to act quickly, as the longer your iPhone stays wet, the more damage it will sustain. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about dealing with a water damaged iPhone.

Assessing the Damage

The first thing you’ll want to do is assess the extent of the damage. Was your iPhone briefly splashed or completely submerged? Was it in fresh water or salt water? The more water exposure and the longer it was in contact with water, the more extensive the damage will likely be.

Try turning your iPhone on. If it won’t power on at all, that’s a bad sign. You’ll want to quickly move on to drying it out (see below). If it does power on, check if the touch screen still works and whether any components like the camera, microphone or speaker seem faulty.

Look for any visible signs of water damage. Are there water droplets or condensation inside the camera lenses or ports? Can you hear any unusual clicking or buzzing? The more issues you notice, the worse the prognosis.

Try Drying It Out

If your iPhone got wet but is still functioning, your goal should be to dry it out as quickly as possible. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Wipe down the exterior of your iPhone with a soft, lint-free cloth to soak up any external moisture.
  • If your iPhone has any removable parts like the SIM card tray, eject them and wipe them dry.
  • Pat down the Lightning port and headphone jack opening with a dry cloth or Q-tip.
  • Do not try to charge your iPhone while it’s still wet as this can cause short-circuiting.
  • Allow your iPhone to air dry for at least 24 hours before attempting to turn it on or charge it.
  • Place your iPhone in front of a fan to speed up drying time.
  • You can also try putting your iPhone (wrapped in a towel) into a bowl or bag of dry rice. The rice will help absorb the moisture.

The key is to be patient and allow your iPhone adequate time to fully dry before reconnecting the battery. If it still won’t power on after drying, you’ll need to try more advanced repair methods.

Clean Out All Ports and Openings

Carefully clean out any water lodged in the ports and openings of your iPhone using compressed air, isopropyl alcohol and pipe cleaners or cotton swabs. Be very gentle, as you don’t want to cause any additional damage.

Here are the areas you’ll want to thoroughly clean and dry:

  • Lightning port
  • Headphone jack
  • Microphone and speaker openings
  • SIM card tray
  • Volume buttons
  • Power/Lock button
  • Front and rear camera lenses

Take your time with this step and be diligent about removing every last bit of moisture from these areas.

Use Silica Gel Packets

Silica gel packets absorb moisture really well. They are often packaged with electronics or shoes when you buy them new.

To use them for a wet iPhone:

  • Gather as many small silica gel packets as you can find.
  • Place your iPhone in a plastic bag or Tupperware container along with the packets.
  • Seal the container shut.
  • Leave your iPhone inside for at least 24 hours so the packets can absorb the moisture.
  • You may need to change out the silica gel packs if they become fully saturated.

This method helps create a very dry environment for your iPhone to sit in as it finishes air drying.

Use a Desiccant

Desiccants work similarly to silica gel packets – they absorb and trap moisture. Two options are:

  • Uncooked rice – Plain white rice makes a great desiccant. Bury your iPhone in a bowl of uncooked rice for a day or two.
  • DampRid – This is a product made specifically for dampness control. Place your iPhone and some DampRid packs into an airtight plastic container.

Take It to a Repair Shop

If you tried the at-home drying methods to no avail, it’s time to seek professional help. There are dedicated electronics repair shops that specialize in water damage and data recovery. Here are some services they offer:

  • Ultrasonic cleaning – Uses ultrasonic waves to deeply clean interior components.
  • Vacuum drying – Sucks moisture from the innermost parts of the device.
  • Replacing any corroded parts – Like batteries, logic boards and dock connectors.
  • Bypassing damaged areas – To regain partial functionality.
  • Data recovery – Extracting data from waterlogged phones.
  • Component-level repair – Meticulously fixing individual parts.

These professional-grade tools stand the best chance of reviving a water damaged iPhone. Just be prepared to pay several hundred dollars for these services with no guarantee of success.

Contact Apple Support

If your iPhone is still under warranty, it’s worth reaching out to Apple Support about potential water damage repair options. Be upfront about the situation – they’ve dealt with plenty of water accidents before.

Here are some ways Apple may be able to help:

  • Mail-in repair or replacement services
  • In-store Genius Bar appointments
  • Providing advice and troubleshooting steps
  • Sending replacement devices (with AppleCare+ coverage)

Keep in mind any water damage may void your warranty. But it still doesn’t hurt to politely ask Apple if they can offer any assistance or repairs.

When to Give Up on Your Wet iPhone

At a certain point, you may have to accept that your iPhone is beyond saving and won’t turn on ever again. Here are some signs it’s time to throw in the towel:

  • It was fully submerged for over 30 minutes.
  • It shows clear signs of corrosion.
  • Professional repair stores couldn’t revive it.
  • It’s very old and not worth paying for expensive data recovery.

If your iPhone has been exposed to liquid and simply won’t respond, the logic board is likely too badly damaged. You can keep it around as spare parts or recycle it responsibly.

How to Avoid Water Damage in the First Place

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are some precautions you can take to avoid a wet iPhone catastrophe:

  • Use a protective case designed to withstand being submerged.
  • Avoid exposing your iPhone to rain, sprinklers, sinks, etc.
  • Never text, talk or play games around bodies of water where you could drop your phone.
  • Keep your iPhone away from excessive moisture and humidity.
  • Turn on Airplane Mode before doing water sports to avoid damage to the antennas.
  • Avoid spillable drinks, leaky water bottles, etc. around your iPhone.

Being cautious and avoiding obvious water hazards will go a long way towards preventing heartache down the road.

Protecting Your Data

A water damaged iPhone often means lost personal data like photos, notes and messages. To avoid catastrophe, be sure to regularly back up your iPhone.

Here are smart ways to keep your data secure:

  • Enable iCloud backups – This safely stores your data in the cloud.
  • Sync with iTunes – Wired backups to your computer.
  • Use cloud storage apps – Like Dropbox or Google Photos to store files.
  • Keep an external drive backup – Use a flash drive or external HDD as another backup.

With one or multiple backups in place, you can always restore your data onto a replacement phone if your iPhone suffers water damage beyond repair.

Emergency Water Drying Kits

Specialized emergency drying kits provide everything you need to try and revive a wet iPhone on the spot:

  • Water absorbing cloths
  • Isopropyl alcohol wipes
  • Silica gel packs
  • Moisture absorber beads
  • Anti-static cloths
  • Tweezers and precision tools
  • Detailed instructions

Kits like these from iMyFONE, Kinkoo or Gonbes can be lifesavers when every minute counts after an accidental dunking. They’re compact enough to keep in your bag or car for phone drying emergencies.

Water Damage Repair Costs

How much can you expect to pay for professional iPhone water damage repairs? Here are some average costs:

Repair Type Average Cost
Basic cleaning and drying $50 – $100
Complex component-level repair $200 – $350+
Full motherboard replacement $250 – $500+
Data recovery from waterlogged iPhone $400 – $1000+

Costs vary widely based on your iPhone model, extent of damage and what parts need to be replaced. More extensive repairs with full disassembly and cleaning will be at the higher end.


Dealing with an iPhone that’s taken an unexpected swim can be stressful. But in many cases, damage can be minimized by acting quickly. If you follow the steps in this guide, like drying it thoroughly and enlisting professional help, you stand a good chance of bringing your iPhone back from its watery grave.

With the right precautions, you can avoid water damage in the first place. But should the worst happen, don’t give up hope. In the hands of a skilled technician, an iPhone is amazingly resilient and can often be salvaged after even a thorough soaking. Just remember – the sooner you start drying, the better!