I dropped my iPhone 5 in the toilet and it was submerged for 45 seconds. I’ve never broken an iPhone before so I completely freaked out. Stress, emotions, OMG this iPhone is worthless and it’s $750 to buy a new one all came at once. I was scared, panicking and had no idea what to do. I immediately took it out of my case and pat my iPhone down with napkins and made sure I got the water out of the headphone jack and lightning port. I rushed over to the local grocery store, grabbed sandwich bags and a bag of rice. I placed my iPhone in the bag of rice and prayed that the iPhone would be fine. 48 hours later, my iPhone seemed to be working fine. I decided that I needed to write a post on what to do if your iPhone goes swimming. After this, my iPhone seemed fine for a while. A few months later, the battery started to fail (it went from 30% to 10% and then said it was dead within 5 minutes). I took it back to Apple and paid the hefty price for a new phone.
What type of water did your iPhone go in?
Fresh water is the best case scenario (toilet, sink, etc.), then pool water and finally salt water is the worst case scenario. If your iPhone went into one of these types of water, do not freak out. Just remember the type of water and the time the iPhone was under for (mine was roughly 45 seconds.)
What to do
1. Calmly (as calm as you can possibly be) take the iPhone out of the water.
2. Turn the iPhone off. Do NOT turn the iPhone on and check to see if it works. You could kill the iPhone by doing this. Just turn it off.
3. Grab some napkins, paper towels, anything that can soak up water and dry the iPhone off. Make sure to dry off the exterior of the phone and try to get a dry napkin to soak up the water from the ports. Water in the ports can cause rust and corrosion.
4. Remove the SIM card if you know how (a paperclip will work if you don’t have the SIM card remover.) On the side of the Phone, push a paperclip into the hole and pull the SIM card tray out, remove the SIM card (do not lose it) and put the tray back into the phone.
5. Get a Ziploc bag and put in a couple of Silica packets or if you are unable to get them, use rice and place your iPhone in it. It is okay if there is a screen protector on the iPhone. Leave it on.
6. Leave the iPhone in the bag of rice or bag of Silica packets for a minimum of 24 hours, preferably 48 hours for the best chance of survival. 48 hours may seem like a long time, but those 24 extra hours could mean the difference of having a working iPhone and buying new one for $650+.
7. Talk to your friends, family members, social networks and inform people that you do not have your phone with you and give them a way to reach you (e-mail, iMessage on an iPad, carrier pigeon, whatever is the best way for you.)
What to do while you wait
1. Assess your situation. The worst case scenario is that the iPhone will never work again. The best case scenario is that the iPhone works perfectly afterwards.
2. Determine if you have AppleCare or no AppleCare. On the Apple website, click here to determine if you have AppleCare or not. You will need the Serial Number, which can be located on the box that your iPhone came in or in the Settings app.
3a. If you have AppleCare, Apple should be able to fix the iPhone (assuming it turns on) for a small fee, $49.
3b. If you don’t have AppleCare, Apple should be able to fix the iPhone (assuming it turns on) for a somewhat larger fee of $229. Apple recommends you purchase AppleCare with the new iPhone for a total of $329, but they gave me a discount with my purchase. Expect to pay $329 or so. Note: if you are on a two-year contract, this does not start over your contract. Your contract end date does not change with the purchase of a new iPhone to replace your water damaged one.
4. Make plans in case the best, worse or most realistic scenario take place.
- Best Case Scenario: the iPhone turns on and works perfectly (just like new), although it may have long-term problems (like battery issues, touch screen malfunction, etc.)
- Worse Case Scenario: the iPhone doesn’t turn on, has a frozen screen, etc. or Apple won’t fix it. (I would suggest looking into other phones while you wait to get an idea how much it would cost for a replacement phone. Like mentioned above, Apple will replace it for roughly $329 without AppleCare+ or $49 with AppleCare+.
- Realistically: the iPhone works, but has a flaw with it (the touch screen is unresponsive in some areas, the external speakers don’t work, etc.)
5. Learn from your mistake (as detailed below.)
An iPhone with water damage that doesn’t work is not completely worthless. It can be used for parts and sold for substantially less than you paid for it. So you will still get money if you wanted to sell it, but not as much without water damage.
Learn from your mistake
In the future, don’t bring the iPhone into a situation where it could fall in the water. Keep it in your pocket when you go into the bathroom, put the iPhone in the locker room when you go swimming, leave it in the car when you go to the beach, etc.
If you want, invest in a waterproof case for the iPhone so it will better its chances of survival if it goes swimming again.
Also, invest in Liquipel if you don’t want a case, but want the best protection. I haven’t used their services (although I might now), but I hear that it works really well. They put a nano waterproof coating on your phone so it repels liquid (not only water, but coffee, soda, etc.).
Note: The steps outlined in this guide will not guarantee the survival of your iPhone and are to be used as a guide of what to do. This guide was meant to work with the iPhone 5, but it can easy be applied to the current iPhone generations (although the prices may differ).