Water Damage to Your iPhone?

No? Was that just me? Why yes, yes it was. Who reeeaallly likes their iPhone?! Me me me! Why oh why then, do I abuse it so? The first time it happened, I vowed to never again let something destructive and potentially life-threatening happen to my iPhone again. The first time? It looked a little sumpin’ like this:

cracked iphone screen


I had my little beauty about four months when this tragedy occurred. I always had a case on it, but I took it off that day to clean the nooks and crannies and forgot to put it back on before heading to story time. While we were leaving the library, A asked to smell the tulips, and I happily obliged. I bent down to pick her up and hoist her over the little railing to smell them and that’s when I heard it: the stomach sickening sound of my phone meeting the hungry pavement below; a choice morsel to it’s waiting concrete mouth. A truly gut-wrenching moment. BUT cracks shmacks, it still worked, so here I am, almost two years later, happy as can be with my working phone. Obla-dee, Obla-dah, life goes on.

Enter the sink almost two years later.

Scene of the accident

I was thawing some chicken and cleaning and texting and answering questions and telling the dog no, when suddenly my hand slipped and my phone went flying into the warm chicken hot tub below. I rescued it as quickly as I could, and for a few minutes, everything seemed to be working fine. I shook it. Some water came out (it was at this point I started Googling). I sent a few texts with no problems, but then weird things started happening. The little rocket sound that occurs when you send a text was gone. I tried to make a call, no sound. Then the error message reading ‘this device isn’t made for that one’ came on and I knew Houston had a problem.

All the things I was reading on Google said things like “Turn it off. Why would you use it? Stupid idiot.” Or, “Make sure you don’t shake it. Turn it off immediately so you don’t short circuit the motherboard. Duh.” So, I powered down and began to panic. I read a few articles/forums that said to stick it in rice for 72 hours. 72 hours?! Well, I would just have to worry about that later. I taped up all the ports and holes with electrical tape, poured brown rice in a bowl, submerged the phone in the rice, and stuck it into the (turned off) oven. Rice sucks out the moisture and the oven, well, I’m still not really sure what that was about.

After 12 hours I started wondering how the rice was going to draw moisture out if tape was covering everything, and after consulting with a trusty sound tech from my church, I removed the tape (from everywhere but the camera lens for some reason) and laid it on top of the rice for the remaining 12 hours.

Brown rice & electrical tape

If you’re really paying attention, you’ll notice that 12 hours+12 hours does NOT equal 72 :) Maybe more severe cases require 72 hours, but my lil’ ol’ phone was in water less than 5 seconds (how do I know? It’s one of those things you just…know, like knowing the sound of your own child’s cry) so I went with 24 hours.

Thankfully, miraculously, it WORKS! Yayyy! :)))

And it’s a good thing! I would hate to have to waste my upgrade on getting another 3G because I am waiting for this bad boy!

Lessons? Beside the obvious ya’ll.

If your phone falls in water:

  1. Do not carry on pretending nothing happened, even if the phone still works.
  2. Power the phone off–immediately
  3. Find some rice!
  4. Place your phone in/on (still not totally sure of placement or that there’s a consensus) the rice and leave it alone!


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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by CStoll on March 27, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I’m so glad it works again! Yay!
    You are the third or forth person who has mentioned the rice trick. Pretty nifty.


  2. There is no need for the tape and you should completely bury the phone in the rice for the best outcome. The rice loves to absorb water so it pulls it out of your phone and into the rice. You should take your phone to pieces – remove battery etc (if you have something other than an iPhone) and dry it as much as possible with paper towels then place it in the rice.


  3. Posted by Gene De Lisa on March 29, 2010 at 5:28 am

    I put my recently submerged phone next to the dehumidifier for a few days before turning it on again. It worked.


  4. Posted by Colleen Newvine Tebeau on March 29, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I’ve never heard the rice trick but I will file that away should I ever have that “oh noooo!” moment.

    It makes sense for plain water but I wonder if anyone has similar advice if you happen to drop your phone into dish water with soapy suds or soup or anything else that might leave residue. My gut tells me rinse it first, then do the rice trick.

    As someone who once spilled an entire cup of tea with honey on my computer keyboard, then saw it come back to life once the honey was Q-Tipped out, I’m not one to pronounce electronics dead too quickly.


  5. Oh dear I’m so sorry that happened to your iphone. I would cry if I had one. You are pretty ingenious to come up with such a remedy. I’ll keep your tricks in the back pocket should I ever need them in the future.
    Happy Tuesday!


  6. Posted by Dixie (mom) on March 31, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Good story. Very entertaining. Glad it works.


  7. We had to use the rice before and thankfully, it works!


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