Will iPhone dry out on its own?

iPhones are popular smartphones that many people rely on every day. However, iPhones are not completely waterproof, and exposing them to liquids like rain or an accidental drop in water can lead to the phone getting wet and ceasing to function properly. When an iPhone is exposed to moisture, internal components like the logic board can short circuit, preventing the device from powering on or working correctly. This leads many owners to wonder if a wet iPhone that has stopped functioning can dry out on its own over time and start working normally again. In this article, we’ll explore the factors that determine whether a water-damaged iPhone can potentially dry out and regain functionality.

Why iPhones Stop Working When Wet

Water can damage electronic components and circuits inside the iPhone in a few key ways:

First, water can cause short circuits. As explained in this article, water is conductive and can bridge connections between electronic components that are not meant to be connected, resulting in a short circuit. This disrupts the flow of current.

Second, water can cause corrosion. With prolonged exposure to water, the metal contacts and copper traces on circuit boards can corrode and degrade over time. This damages the ability for signals and power to flow properly in the circuits.

Third, water can cause insulation failure. Many components and connections in electronics rely on insulation to prevent short circuits. But water can penetrate and compromise insulators like silicon and rubber gaskets, leading to electrical failures.

Lastly, water can leave behind mineral deposits and residues when it dries out. As explained in this webinar, these deposits can affect electrical resistance and conductivity, which can disrupt the delicate operations of electronic circuits.

In summary, water exposure creates shorts, corrosion, insulation failure and mineral buildup that prevent the iPhone’s complex electronics and circuitry from functioning properly.

Factors That Influence Drying Out

Several key factors influence how quickly and effectively an iPhone can dry out after water exposure:

  • Amount of liquid – More liquid means more water logged inside the phone that needs to fully evaporate.
  • Type of liquid – Water has a lower viscosity than other liquids like soda, juice, etc. This allows it to penetrate deeper into cracks and crevices.
  • Length of exposure – The longer the iPhone sits in liquid, the more moisture seeps in that needs to be dried.
  • Phone model – Newer models like the iPhone 13 have better water resistance but are still vulnerable to moisture damage over time.
  • Temperature – Warmer and drier conditions speed up evaporation whereas cold and humid environments slow drying.
  • Protective case – A waterproof case creates a barrier limiting liquid exposure and damage.

Understanding these variables helps set proper expectations for drying time. More severe water damage requires more patience and ideal drying conditions before expecting full functionality.

According to experts, the average drying time for an iPhone is 1-3 days if air dried correctly (source: https://www.gophermods.com/how-to-tell-if-your-iphone-has-water-damage/).

Allowing Phone to Air Dry

One of the easiest ways to dry an iPhone is to simply allow it to air dry. According to WikiHow, it is important to first power off the iPhone and remove any protective case. This allows air to circulate around the entire device to evaporate any moisture inside (source).

You’ll also want to use a lint-free cloth or towel to gently wipe away any external moisture from the phone. Be sure to check inside ports, buttons, and openings where moisture may be trapped. Opening any flaps covering ports can help circulation and drying. Finally, place the iPhone in a dry, well-ventilated area and allow it to sit for at least 24 hours before attempting to power on again (source).

The key is allowing plenty of air flow while the phone dries out. Don’t enclose it tightly or block ports where internal moisture could still be trapped. Patience is important, as it takes time for liquid to fully evaporate from small internal spaces.

Using Desiccants

One of the most effective ways to dry out a wet iPhone is to use desiccants. Desiccants are substances that absorb moisture. Some common desiccants are:

  • Rice – Rice acts as a desiccant by absorbing moisture from the air and environment. Place the wet iPhone in a sealable bag filled with rice. The rice will draw out the moisture from the phone.
  • Silica gel – Silica gel packets absorb up to 40% of their weight in moisture. Put the phone and several packets in an airtight container or bag. The silica gel will absorb the moisture from the phone.[1]

When using desiccants, it’s important to seal the phone in an airtight container or bag with the desiccant. This prevents moisture from re-entering the phone. Let the phone sit for at least 24 hours to allow the desiccant time to absorb the moisture.

Desiccants provide a gentle way to draw moisture from the phone without heat or disassembly. They are inexpensive and easy to find around the home. However, the drying process takes time and may not fully dry out the inside of the phone.

Heat Drying Methods

Although some recommend using a hair dryer or oven on low heat to dry out a wet iPhone, this is generally not advisable as the intense direct heat can potentially cause further damage. The high temperatures can degrade the adhesives and protective seals inside the phone, leading to more water intrusion or short circuiting of components once power is restored. Prolonged heat exposure can also warp or melt plastics and damage electronic parts not designed to withstand such conditions.

Apple specifically warns against using external heat sources like hairdryers, microwaves, or ovens to dry an iOS device, as it can permanently damage the hardware. The heat can liquefy adhesives, cause the battery to leak or explode, melt device plastics and coatings, and ruin heat-sensitive chips and circuits. Although a slightly damp iPhone may seemingly work fine after warming, problems can show up later as corrosion sets in.

It’s much safer to let the iPhone dry out gradually at room temperature to avoid any risks from thermal shock or concentrated hot air. If professional data recovery is sought, specialized drying techniques under controlled conditions may be used, but are still risky for DIY attempts. Unless you have specific technical expertise, avoid DIY heat drying methods and allow the iPhone to air dry to prevent potential damage.

Disassembling the Phone

One option to dry out the inside of an iPhone is to disassemble it. This allows you to access internal components like the logic board and battery to thoroughly dry them out. However, there are some major downsides to disassembling an iPhone:

Disassembling an iPhone will void any warranty and make future repair attempts more difficult or impossible (Apple Support). The process requires specialized tools and technical skill. It also poses a risk of causing further damage if not done properly. Sensitive components like the display and logic board can easily be damaged if handled incorrectly.

The pros are that disassembling provides the most direct access to dry out internal components that may continue corroding if moisture is trapped. But for most iPhone users, the cons generally outweigh the pros when it comes to taking apart a phone just to dry it out. The loss of warranty protection alone makes this an unwise choice for any iPhone that is not already defective.

When to Give Up Hope

There comes a point when the water damage to an iPhone is so extensive that it likely cannot be repaired or revived. According to Gopher Mods, some signs that an iPhone has permanent water damage include:

  • Corrosion or unusual growths on the charging port or other connectors
  • Extensive discoloration or corrosion on the logic board
  • Shorts and malfunctions in multiple components like the camera, battery, buttons, etc.
  • Visible patches or fogginess deep within the display and camera lenses

If you see multiple issues like these, it’s a good indication that components on the logic board have suffered irreparable corrosion damage from the water exposure. At this point, professional data recovery may be the only option for retrieving any data, as the phone itself is likely too damaged to revive even after thorough cleaning and drying.

Professional Data Recovery

If DIY solutions fail to revive your water-damaged iPhone, you may need to turn to professional data recovery services. Companies like DriveSavers and Ontrack specialize in recovering data from damaged devices. They use sophisticated tools and clean room facilities to disassemble phones and access components that retain data. This involves opening up the phone, removing and cleaning the logic board, extracting the NAND flash memory chip, and reading out the raw data. The cost for iPhone data recovery can range from $400 to over $1000 depending on the extent of water damage.

Besides data recovery, some companies also offer full diagnostic and repair services for water-damaged iPhones. They can troubleshoot the issue, replace any corroded parts, thoroughly clean and dry the device, and get it functioning again. This comprehensive repair service may cost $200-500 or more. While expensive, professional recovery and repair provide the best chance of salvaging data and restoring usability when DIY drying methods fail.


In summary, there are a few key factors that determine whether an iPhone will dry out and start working again after water exposure. The main considerations are the extent of the water damage, how quickly it can dry, and whether corrosion has already started to occur internally. Air drying may work if the exposure was mild and you catch it very quickly. However, heat drying methods tend to be much more effective at evaporating any trapped moisture before permanent damage sets in. For severe cases involving full immersion, disassembly may be required to fully dry internal components. While there’s no guarantee, quick action provides the best chance of reviving an iPhone after water contact. Ultimately, the outcome depends on the specifics of how and when the device got wet. If DIY drying methods don’t successfully restore functionality, professional data recovery services may still be able to rescue personal data from the damaged phone.