DMA Tech Tip: How to Rescue a Drowning iPhone

By Phill Powell

It’s a common nightmare shared by millions: It’s summer. You take that first dive into the pool and it’s refreshing. Then comes the horrible realization that your iPhone is still in your pocket…
iPhone_under_water
D’oh! It’s never pretty when an iPhone (or other smartphone) takes a dive.

Or maybe you’re trying to answer a call while taking a bath. Your soapy hand loses control and – kerplop! – your phone’s now at the bottom of the tub…

Smartphone SOS
It’s a peak “Oh, NO!” moment of the Digital Age: accidentally submerging your iPhone (or other smartphone) under water. The good news is that – in many instances – you can save that phone. Even better: It shouldn’t cost you a dime.

Try these steps…

  • STEP 1: Retrieve the Phone ASAP This may sound obvious, but the first step involves not giving up on the phone prematurely. Some owners will automatically assume the dunked phone has been ruined and there’s nothing that can be done, short of purchasing another one. But don’t give in to that sense of defeat until you’ve tried our method fully.
  • STEP 2: Leave the Drying Phone TURNED OFF! This is the most important step in our rescue efforts. After wet iPhones have a chance to dry out completely, they often will come back to life just by turning them back on. But that won’t happen if you make the tempting-but-foolish decision to switch it on while it’s still wet. If you do this, you will most likely short out the battery and permanently reduce your phone to junk.
  • STEP 3: Let it Dry Fully This may be the most difficult step for iPhone users, because it requires that they leave their beloved phones alone for what could be several days. (Recommended drying time: 72 hours) Remember that it takes longer for the water trapped inside the phone to evaporate, so put the phone in quarantine on a shelf and give it time. Be patient.
  • STEP 4: Accelerate the Drying Process You don’t want to stick a wet iPhone in the toaster oven, but there are ways you can probably speed up the drying process. Put the phone someplace where it will receive steady (but not blazing) sunlight. Plus, try angling the breeze from a fan so that its airflow will be aimed at the iPhone’s open ports. (The same method could be attempted with a blow dryer.)
  • STEP 5: Try the Rice Trick And then there’s the rice method, which has been rumored to work with everything from iPhones to cameras. Here you’re trying to use rice’s ability to absorb moisture to your advantage. Some users of the Rice Trick have dried out their iPhones by putting them inside a container of rice. Does it work? It seems to, for some users.
    bowl_of_rice
    If you’re really serious about saving that wet iPhone, you might try wicking away the moisture by putting the phone in a bowl of uncooked rice.

    If you’re going to try it, remember a few pieces of advice. First, use only uncooked rice. (Cooked rice has already absorbed all the moisture it can.) Second, instead of closing up the phone inside a container, fill a bowl full of rice and place the iPhone in that, and leave it uncovered. That way you won’t slow up the evaporation of moisture that naturally occurs in areas of normal ventilation. Third, from time to time, move the phone around within the bowl of rice and leave it in a new resting position. (This helps trapped droplets of water find their way out of the device.)
  • STEP 6: Use an Ounce of Prevention Or you could just avoid this situation altogether in the future by taking extra precautions with your iPhone. There are numerous cases and plastic bags created expressly to safeguard an iPhone from moisture. Check out Lifeproof iPhone 6 waterproof cases and other similar products that offer reliable protection from water damage.


Is There an App for Drying iPhones?
Not yet, but there’s an app for nearly everything else. The iPhone is so valued by so many consumers because of its unending supply of useful and fun apps.

Designing those apps are skilled programmers who learn app development and then combine what they’ve learned with creativity and practicality – first by discovering an existing need and then working to fill it.

At app development tech camps like Digital Media Academy, kids (ages 10 to 12) and teens (12-17) discover how easy it is to develop apps for iPhones and iPads. They also learn how to build apps that can even be resold through Apple’s App Store.