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What to do if you drop your iPhone in water

Follow these steps to give your iPhone the best chance of survival if it takes a dunking.

gocompare author
Updated 02 July 2021  | 3 min read

It’s a nightmare scenario for any iPhone owner – dropping their beloved gadget down the loo or in the bath. Although the newer models of iPhone are water-resistant, they still aren’t designed to be submerged in water.

So here’s a quick guide on what to do if you’re one of the unlucky ones whose phone goes for a swim.

1. Turn it off immediately

Turn your iPhone off as soon as you get it out of the water. Press and hold the side button with the volume up button, then slide to power off.

2. Take it out of the case

If your iPhone is in a case, water might have got trapped when you dropped it. Remove the case and any other accessories from your iPhone, including your screen protector.

Dry off your bare iPhone by wiping it with a lint-free cloth. You want to absorb the liquid on the outside of your device without leaving it covered in material fibres. If you don’t have a lint-free cloth to hand, a duster or microfibre cloth usually does the trick.

3. Ease liquid out of the ports

Your iPhone might appear dry, but there’s probably still liquid inside it. Use a SIM tool, a straightened paperclip, or a pin to eject the SIM tray on the side of your device.

Remove the SIM card and carefully dry it off. Now store it somewhere safe. Leave the SIM tray out of your iPhone to create a vent, which helps the liquid inside to evaporate.

4. Now dry your iPhone

Place your iPhone in a warm and dry place so the water inside the phone can evaporate.

Find a flat, open space that’s well ventilated and dry, like a windowsill or a bookshelf.

A good place is on a windowsill, but make sure your phone’s not directly exposed to too much sunlight.

Alternatively, you might want to try the rice method. Place your iPhone in a bowl or bag of uncooked rice so that it’s completely covered. Leave your phone in the rice for at least a day. The idea is that the rice will absorb and draw out the water.

An alternative to rice is some of those silica gel sachets that tend come with new handbags. Place a few silica gel packets over and under your phone in the hope that they’ll absorb the water from your phone.

Finally, you could try a hairdryer – but make sure it’s on a cool setting. You’ll need to take great care not to cause more damage. Turn on the cool wind setting and gently blow it over your phone. If it makes your phone feel at all warm, switch off the dryer immediately.

How do I know when my iPhone’s dry?

Unfortunately, without prying your iPhone open, it’s impossible to know if the liquid inside has evaporated or not - and we don’t suggest you should do that. All you can do is wait as long as possible, then take a leap of faith and power it up.

If it turns on, the first thing you should do is backup your data and files. You never know if a water damaged iPhone is going to stop working two weeks down the line. For added certainty, you should look into getting a repair or a replacement.

If you can’t get it to work, it’s worth taking it to a phone repair expert to see if they can do anything.

Am I covered for water damage if I have iPhone insurance?

Yes, water damage is covered in most standard phone insurance policies.

A good policy might also cover:

  • Mechanical breakdown: If your phone develops a mechanical fault outside of the manufacturer's warranty period.
  • Multi-phone cover: If all your family’s phones under one policy. Make sure you read the small print carefully as some insurers don’t cover children’s phones.
  • Phone accessories: If any accessories get damaged, lost, or stolen at the same time as your iPhone, this can cover the cost of replacements.
  • Overseas travel: Standard phone insurance may only be valid within the UK. If you're planning to go abroad, worldwide phone insurance will cover your gadgets for a limited number of days.
  • Instant cover: Some insurers won’t cover the cost of anything during the first two weeks of the policy but instant cover means you can make a claim straight away.
  • Fraudulent activity if stolen: If there are unauthorised calls or payments made with the iPhone after it’s reported as stolen, then costs will be covered.

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