What to Do When Your iPhone Gets Wet

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Modern iPhones can take a beating, but don’t rely on Apple’s water-resistance rating and take too many risks. Just follow a few simple steps to increase the chances of your device.

Your iPhone is probably water resistant

If you have an iPhone 7 or newer, the good news is that your device has some degree of water resistance. The bad news is that this rating has declined over time, so it shouldn’t be taken for granted.

The following iPhone models can withstand a depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes (IP68):

The following iPhone models can withstand: 4 meters for up to 30 minutes (IP68):

  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max

The following iPhone models can withstand: 2 meters for up to 30 minutes (IP68):

  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max

These remaining iPhone models can handle it 1 meter for up to 30 minutes (IP67):

  • iPhone SE (second generation)
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 (includes 8 Plus)
  • iPhone 7 (including 7 Plus)

If you have an older device, there is no guarantee of water resistance. This doesn’t equate to moisture, which means it’s game over, but the chances of your device surviving a dunk are much smaller.

Age and damage to the chassis can seriously affect water resistance. Using compressed air to clean the charging port may also damage the seal (clean the charging port gently instead). You have to be careful not to get your iPhone wet, even if you have a modern iPhone with a relatively high level of protection. Water damage is not covered by Apple’s standard warranty.

RELATED: How water resistance ratings work for gadgets

iPhone not water resistant? Shut it down

Water can damage your iPhone because it conducts electricity, so it’s a good idea to turn your iPhone off if it gets wet. This is especially true if you have an iPhone model that is not water resistant, is old, or has been damaged in some way that you believe has compromised the water resistant seal.

An iPhone 6 advertising image from Apple

Drying your device thoroughly before turning it back on will give you the best chance of survival. You should wait approximately 48 hours before turning the unit on and leaving it in a warm, dry place to allow the moisture to evaporate.

Dry off and don’t panic

Most modern iPhone models can withstand a splash of water, whether it’s a heavy rain shower, a spill at the dinner table, or a fall in the bath. After turning off your device, dry your iPhone thoroughly. Use a soft cloth to remove moisture and pay close attention to the charging port where drops are harder to reach.

You need to wait for your iPhone to dry completely before charging it. Your iPhone may give you a warning that moisture is detected in the charging port if you don’t, with a recommendation to wait 48 hours before recharging to make sure all the moisture has evaporated.

If you are sure that your iPhone’s water resistance has not been compromised, you can decide to continue using it during this time. If the battery is low, consider charging wirelessly so that the charging port has time to dry out.

Also remove moisture from the speaker

If you’ve decided to use your iPhone normally, you may find that the speaker isn’t working quite as it should. There may be a muffled or crackling tone caused by moisture that has yet to evaporate. You can wait for this to happen on its own or try an app like Sonic Ⓥ.

Sonic V app for iPhone

This app is a tone generator with a dedicated tone generator button designed to remove moisture from an iPhone speaker. It’s ad-supported, so you can experiment with a full range of tones from 0 Hz to 25,000 Hz to move moisture that’s causing problems.

Salt water is much worse than fresh water

Salt water corrodes much faster than fresh water, so it’s important to rinse your iPhone thoroughly if you drop it in the ocean. You should do this as soon as possible because the longer you wait, the worse it can get. If you fail to remove the salt, the corrosion can continue even in the absence of moisture.

Person holding an iPhone from a tap under running water.
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Because salt water is so corrosive, the damage may already be done. The gold contacts in the charging port can quickly corrode, preventing your iPhone from charging via a cable at all. You’ll want to remove any salt residue with a soft brush and fresh water to give your iPhone the best chance of survival.

This advice also applies to sugary and alcoholic drinks, although they do not corrode like salt water.

RELATED: What to do if you drop your smartphone in the ocean?

Rice is useless

Putting your iPhone in rice won’t dry it out, and instead grains of rice can get stuck in the charging port. We recommend cooking your rice and eating it instead, perhaps with a nice curry or in a sushi roll, depending on the grain.

It’s much better to leave your iPhone in a dry, warm place with enough airflow for about 48 hours to evaporate any remaining moisture.

Often on the water? Buy a waterproof case

If your iPhone is likely to get wet, why not get a waterproof case as a precaution? These can give the most clumsy iPhone owners peace of mind, with a range of designs to choose from.

There are waterproof cases to satisfy just about any kind of user. The LifeProof FRE all-rounder is a good choice and protects against drops and moisture to a depth of 2 meters.

LifeProof FRE Waterproof Case

If you are a recreational user who enjoys boating or kayaking, a floating dry bag may be a better choice. Something like the CaliCase Universal Waterproof Floating Case hangs around your neck and keeps your device afloat if dropped in water. You can spend a lot less on a case like this, but make sure it’s strong enough to withstand some wear and tear, depending on your hobby.

CaliCase Universal Waterproof Floating Case

CaliCase Universal Waterproof Floating Case – White

Protect your iPhone while on the water with a floating case that you can hang around your neck. Should the worst happen, you should be able to find your iPhone again, as it floats on water, not the bottom of a lake.

If you want to take your iPhone a little deeper, a dive case lets you use it for underwater photography and videography. Look inside the YOGRE dive case that can withstand a depth of 15 meters (50 feet) and has a convenient camera grip design.

YOGRE Diving case

Even with a case, make sure to rinse the case thoroughly with salt water before removing your device.

iPhones are more water resistant than ever

The good news is that in most cases your iPhone will probably be fine. Apple smartphones are more resistant to water ingress and drops than ever before. With that in mind, AppleCare+ might be a good idea if you’re particularly concerned about destroying personal electronics in the past.

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