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That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you see the iPhone where it shouldn’t be – submerged in water – is certainly unpleasant; albeit not an uncommon experience.

iPhone dropped in water

Dropping an advanced piece of technology such as the iPhone in water should be treated as an emergency. There is a set procedure following such an incident which can help you prevent further water damage to the iPhone. Timing is important and if you are lucky, you may even escape unhurt. This guide provides a set of “first-aid” steps which are known to avoid water from crippling the iPhone. Remember: there is no magic solution.
Disclaimer: we cannot be held responsible should the below guide fail to help you fix the iPhone after it fell into water.

5 simple steps to fix water-damaged iPhone

  1. Get the iPhone out of the water as soon as you can and switch it off by pressing the top Sleep/Wake button for 5 seconds until you see the following screen, then slide to power off. Of course if the iPhone is already turned off, don’t turn it on. turn off iphone after take out from water
    Turning off the iPhone as swiftly as possible is the single most important step to prevent water damage. Keeping it off for good couple of days after the incident is as crucial.

    It is not water per se which damages the iPhone but the short-circuits which can be produced by the electricity running in the iPhone’s circuit board.

  2. Dry off the iPhone with a towel or a piece of fabric. Do NOT use a hair-dryer, nor place the iPhone in an oven as the excess heat will damage the iPhone beyond repair
  3. Grab a plastic bag, preferably a common zipper storage bag and fill it up with uncooked rice or alternatively, silica-gel packets. Place the iPhone in the plastic bag and make sure the device is fully immersed in the rice.

    If you cannot get hold of rice or silica, you can alternatively place the iPhone in a very dry and well ventilated place (i.e. a room used to dry clothes equipped with a cold-air blow fan)

  4. Take out as much air as possible from the bag and zip it up. If you do not have a zipper bag, use a regular one, or as a last resort, a bowl iphone in rice plastic zipper bag
  5. Let the iPhone remain in the rice for at least 24 hours (preferably 48 hours) after which the device should have completely dried up

I urgently need data from my iPhone. What to do?

While your iPhone is drying in ice or being cared for by Apple specialists, you may need to retrieve some data from it. We have an application to help – CopyTrans Backup Extractor. It will help you restore iPhone data (photos, messages, contacts and more) even if you don’t have the iPhone.

The trick is, if you connected your iPhone to iTunes or iCloud at least once, there may be a local or cloud backup of your device. CopyTrans Backup Extractor searches for such backups automatically and helps you export the data to PC.

Download CopyTrans Backup Extractor

CopyTrans Backup Extractor: backup list

If you need guidance, we have a step-by-step instruction on how to retrieve data from your iTunes or iCloud backup.

When should I turn on my iPhone?

Trying to turn on an iPhone after a water incident always poses a risk of damage. Before you turn on your iPhone, please read the following text.

All iPhones feature a Liquid Contact Indicator (LCI) which is activated in case water got in contact with the circuit board and damaged the phone. If the iPhone was damaged by water, the indicator will glow bright red.

Once you take out the iPhone from the rice, be sure to check whether the indicator glows red. If you are lucky and there is no water damage, you should see the indicator’s regular color which is white or silver.

To find where the LCI is located on your iPhone, check out the below table.
how to find LCI on your iPhone

Remember: it will always be safer to take your iPhone to the nearest Apple Store before attempting to turn on the device.

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By krasimir

Krasimir is an avid marketing aficionado and a tech-support specialist in charge of the English-speaking market. He grew up in Bulgaria and on the island of Mauritius where he became passionate about windsurfing and photography.