8 Things You Need to Do If You Dropped Your iPhone in Water

iPhone Water Resistance and Cleaning Credit: EugeneEdge / Shutterstock
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Your iPhone, just like pretty much any other electronic device, isn’t waterproof. If you accidentally drop it in water, there’s a good chance something bad will happen to it if you aren’t careful.

Sure, most modern iPhones can at least resist water, which is a big plus. However, it’s still a good idea to stay away from water as much as possible.

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If you accidentally dropped your iPhone in water, or you want to know what to do if that ever happens, here are a few tips to help you save your iPhone in a flash.

First, Is Your iPhone Water Resistant?

Apple iPhone Water Resistance IP68 2

The first thing you need to know is if your iPhone is water-resistant. Not only that, but you need to know how much water your iPhone can take. 

Not every iPhone is the same when it comes to water resistance, so be sure to understand what you’re dealing with beforehand. An iPhone’s level of water resistance is indicated by an IP code assigned for that model by Apple. Short for “ingress protection,” this indicates to what level your iPhone has been tested for resistance to water and dust. Here’s a quick list of how they stack up:

iPhones That Don’t Have an IP Rating

  • iPhone 6S / 6S Plus and older models
  • First-generation iPhone SE

iPhones With an IP67 Rating

An IP67 rating means that your iPhone can withstand a maximum depth of up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. iPhones with this rating include:

  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone SE (2020, second-generation)
  • iPhone SE (2022, third-generation)

iPhones With an IP68 Rating

The IP68 rating exceeds the depth tested by an IP67 rating, with the exact depth determined by each manufacturer in their own testing and specifications.

This means that while nearly all of Apple’s iPhones released in the past five years are IP68 rated, the exact depths vary by model.

Water-resistant up to a depth of two meters for 30 minutes:

  • iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone 11

Water-resistant up to a depth of four meters for 30 minutes:

  • iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max

Water-resistant up to a depth of six meters for 30 minutes:

  • iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max

If you have any of these iPhones, they should be fine if you splash some water on them. If you actually drop your iPhone in water, it’s also possible that nothing will happen — we’ve seen iPhones survive deep dives and immersion for months — but there’s no guarantee you’ll be that lucky, so it’s best to take a few precautions.

Immediately, Turn Off Your iPhone

If your iPhone is way too wet, you should shut it off immediately. If your iPhone has a home button on the front, you can turn it off by pressing and holding the side button. If you’re using a newer model with Face ID, you’ll need to hold down both the side and volume-up buttons.

If your iPhone is too wet that it doesn’t turn off with the buttons, you can turn it off by doing the following:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and go to General.
  3. Scroll down again and tap on Shut Down.
  4. Swipe the slider to the right to power your iPhone off.

Once it’s off, remove any charging case or accessories your iPhone had. Also, this goes without saying, but make sure to remove any charging cables or external accessories that are plugged into your iPhone’s port. 

Remove Your SIM Tray

If you have an iPhone with a SIM tray, you’re going to want to remove it after you shut your iPhone down. Remove it and leave it out until you finish with the next steps. Do this even if you’re using an eSIM.

Wait Before Turning Your iPhone Again

It’s really important to keep your iPhone off for a really long time. Depending on how much time it was submerged underwater, you’ll want to keep it off anywhere from around 24 to 48 hours. 

Wipe Down Your iPhone

The next step should be to clean your iPhone. You’ll want to remove any wet spots, dirt, or grime with a cloth. Make sure it’s a smooth, clean material, like a lens cleaning or microfiber cloth. If you use something a bit rougher, you might scratch your iPhone accidentally. 

Wipe it clean, and then, once it looks dry on the outside, move on to the next steps.

Let Your iPhone Dry Out

It’s important that you let your iPhone dry by itself. Don’t use any type of heat source like setting it on a radiator or running it under a hair dryer. Let it happen naturally.

However, you can help speed up the process without adding heat. For instance, you can use silicon gel packs if you have any available. These packs work wonders when it comes to drying out your iPhone.

While silicon gel packs work best for this by far, you can also rice if that’s all you have available. Since rice also absorbs moisture, it usually does the trick in drying out an iPhone, but it takes a bit longer.

Depending on how long your iPhone was submerged in water, you’ll need to leave it for around 24 to 48 hours to let it dry as much as possible. 

After Your iPhone’s Dry, Turn it Back On

Once you let your iPhone sit in rice or gel packets for at least a day or two, you should try turning it back on again. You can also put the SIM tray back in and try to assess the damage done. Hopefully, you acted quickly enough, and there wasn’t enough water that got inside to damage your iPhone.

8. Eject Any Water Left

Hopefully, your iPhone will be as dry as a bone, but you’ll still want to make sure you eject as much water as possible. Unfortunately, unlike the Apple Watch, Apple hasn’t added a feature to eject water from the iPhone. 

The good news is that there are many apps you can use to help you. For this example, we recommend you use an app like Sonic. This app creates sound waves at different frequencies, so it helps eject the water from your iPhone. 

Hopefully, your iPhone will be ready to go now, but if not, you’ll still have one more step to take. 

If Everything Else Fails, Get Help

If your iPhone still doesn’t want to work, or is just kind of working, you’ll need to talk to Apple’s tech support and get some help from them.

They might be able to give you a few personalized tips to make your iPhone work properly again, albeit if your iPhone is too damaged, you might also want to consider getting a new one.

Keep Your iPhone Dry!

Fortunately, most iPhones nowadays can handle a bit of water every now and then. Still, if you really want to keep your iPhone as healthy as possible, use the steps above to try to rescue it. Of course, the best tip we could give you is to be careful and never drop your iPhone in the water.

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