What do I do for iPhone water damage? What do I do for saltwater cellphone damage?

UPDATE 3.15.2013: Be sure and read the comments, there is a ton of good information from other people who have gone through getting their iPhones wet. Thanks to all!

“Help! My iPhone got wet! WHAT DO I DO??”

No worries. If your iPhone got drenched, here’s what to do.

The first thing to realize is that the instructions below apply to pretty much all electronics: iPhones, Blackberrys, Syncs, LGs, iPads, laptops, netbooks, the works. “What do I do if I got my stuff wet?” “What do I do about salt water?” These are great questions and the key here—particularly with salt water damage—is to respond quickly.

Salt water in particular is a threat. But first things first, what if you just get it “wet”.

If your phone gets “dampened” with water, dry it off. If you believe the water got inside, you may want to do more. (Particularly if it is an iPhone 4 due to their relative sensitivity to moisture. The other iPhones seem a little more water tolerant.) Here’s what to do.

The very first thing to do: POWER DOWN. If possible, take you battery out. (It takes a special TS1 “pentalobe” screwdriver, not commonly available but you may be in luck if you live in a big city or if you have friends who are fully-geeked.) If the device has shut itself down, don’t worry. But make sure it is off. And again if possible remove the battery.

Next, shake the water out. Vigorously, for several minutes. The more water that is released this way, the less that is still inside sitting around. Now, BE CAREFUL to NOT LET GO while doing the shaking. Too many times, people release their device while shaking out the water and do worse damage than water damage. Just hold on tight. (What I do is grab a hold of the device with real thought and intent LIKE I AM REALLY DOING SOMETHING (like smacking a rug with a stick) and then swing my arm down in that same way: consciously and with intent. Do this for several minutes. Switch the device around in your grip so the water has different ways to get out. Try it with the main port facing the ground. Then the side. Then the main port again…

After all the water is out that can be “squeezed” out, the next step requires white rice and a container which is preferably sealable. Like tupperware or glassware. Ziplocs do work but they are less than airtight. (Freezer bags are better.) Even a plastic grocery sack or couple of newspaper bags will work in a pinch but the more airtight you can make it the better, and plastic bags tend to “breathe”.

Why white rice? It’s more absorbent. Uncle Ben’s/instant rice is not the best, though. That’s kind of fake rice and it doesn’t absorb as well because it gets soggy quick. But again, in a pinch even this will do.

What to do is place the device in the container or bag and pour the rice over it until it’s covered. Keep this in mind if this is a laptop, it’s going to take a lot of rice. Otherwise, just make sure your device is surrounded with rice. If the battery is removable, make sure the battery is OUT. Don’t skimp on the rice, rice is cheap.

Now comes the hardest part: Put the container or bag away for 24-hours. At least.

I prefer to wait a full 48-hours because my electronics are worth it. Especially data devices such as smart phones. I roll the rice a few of times each day—every four or five hours or so—just to move drier rice around the device.

After this work, open up the container or bag, install the battery, and power up. Chances are it is really going to work. Which is really a great feeling. I mean REALLY great…

…however, if the phone is still not working believe it or not there is still hope. The key is is to plug in your device and charge it for an hour or so. It may come right on BUT EVEN IF IT DOES…WAIT! Let the device sit and “juice up” for a while (an hour or longer). For some reason, this seems to make a big difference in the long-run. In any case, the electricity makes the device happy.

SALT WATER

Salt water is a different ball game. Salt water is like acid to electronics. VERY BAD. Here’s what you have to do, and fast.

That’s right, fast. The key to success with treating electronic’s exposure to salt water is reaction time. And that reaction is to rinse the device in FRESH WATER.

“What??” you ask. That’s right, rinse in fresh water. Even a diet soda is better than salt water. (Sometimes the closest thing to fresh water is Sprite Zero. Sugar sodas on the other hand would be a no-go.) Salt water eats electronics like wet eats tissue paper.

If you get your device dampened by salt water, a quick swish of fresh water and some wiping and shaking may do the trick.

If the device is doused in salt water, however, the only treatment is a fast complete rinse down with fresh water.

(If you only have a limited amount of fresh water: First remove battery (if possible) and rinse off salt from device with fresh water. Than swish device in cup of fresh water. Than shake water out as much as possible. Than wrap in towels. Put in plastic bag until full rinse and rice treatment can begin.)

To start with, remove battery (if possible—as I said above, it takes a special TS1 “pentalobe” screwdriver) and rinse device under fresh water. When I say rinse, I mean drench. Just put under a faucet and then shake out water, then do it again. And again. Get that salt out. Better yet, put in a bowl or bucket of fresh water, turn upside down to let air out from bottom, and shake.

Next, proceed as you would after exposure to fresh water as described above. Since the phone has been completely immersed in fresh water, let it stay in the rice for the full 48-hours. Move the rice around several times to bring the drier rice closer to the device so that it may better draw the moisture away. You can even switch out the rice with fresh dry rice after the first 24-hrs. Be patient.

A word of caution: Some people have used isopropyl alcohol instead after exposure to water. My own experience is that this causes other problems (such as permanent discoloring or fogging of screen; melting of some plastics and rubber; etc.). If isopropyl alcohol is used, your results may vary. My experience is that clean water dries easy.

And that’s it. If you follow the above, chances are you will have a properly working device which continues to serve you well.

Mike Mongo
Computers Are My Life
Key West

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About Mike Mongo

"My name is Mike Mongo and I am an astronaut teacher. Though I travel very much, I live on the island of Key West. My primary occupation is working with students and encouraging students to pursue careers in space and astronautics. Much of my time is spent writing, teaching and learning about space and space travel. Of all the things I love doing being an astronaut teacher is my favorite!"
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67 Responses to What do I do for iPhone water damage? What do I do for saltwater cellphone damage?

  1. Margot says:

    I have no idea if this will work for me, but you are awesome!!!! Thanks! the woman in Hawaii whose Lifeproof case FAILED!!! :D

    • Gianna says:

      my lifeproof case failed too! i was snorkeling down at la jolla cove and water seeped into the case ( i made sure that everything was sealed and tight and snapped) and now im stuck with a phone that has crystalized salt on the charging port. it wont turn on. you think i can still wash it with fresh water? or has the damage been done?

      • Mike Mongo says:

        How long ago did this happen? The most important thing is to get the salt out because salt is corrosive: It will not “stop”. Salt and water together on electronics acts as an acid.

        First thing is rinse in fresh water. Since your phone is not working, you have nothing to lose in this regard.

        Follow the instructions TO THE LETTER that I gave above. Most important after flushing the salt is 1) drying in plenty of rice for the full 48-hours, and 2) do not plug in any power until after the 48-hours in rice. When you do plug it in after the rice, it may take an hour or longer to get a charge. Even if it comes back on, you may have to change the battery. (Which is no big deal, plenty of videos online about doing that.

      • Gianna says:

        it happened yesterday. not much water got inside though, and i cleaned out the charging port, apparently it was dust and not salt crystals. im not sure how to “rinse” it with fresh water, like do it swish it in water or do i submerge it? i just put it in a sealed bag with rice in the hopes of reducing moisture inside the device

      • Mike Mongo says:

        If salt is inside, you must get a little fresh water in that port and shake it around. DO NOT POWER UP. Then follow rest of instructions above. Good luck! Sorry about your phone getting wet but now is the time to be brave and get that salt out before it does real damage. Let me know how it goes.

      • Gianna says:

        im shaking fresh water off as we speak. problem is, i plugged it in after it got wet ( thinking that the water didnt get in bec. it was just bet. the phone and the lifeproof case) because my battery was dead ( it was at 7% when i went snorkeling with it)… but anyway, yeah so i washed it with fresh water now since ive nothing to lose. and now i put it in a tupperware with white rice. ill let you know how it goes. worse comes to worst, im taking it to an apple store. thanks!

  2. Aj0007 says:

    Hi guys I bought my iPhone 3weeks go and i accidentley swim with it in the sea for about 3-5 minuets then I come out and shake it and dry it with towel and sun but nothing happens so now one week later after the accident so what’s the best option to do to I get my phone back

  3. Geno says:

    Oh no! I am in the same boat. I was snorkeling last week (6 days ago) with my iphone 4s in LifeProof and it failed me! After 20 minutes in sea water, I came out, and the apple logo was flickering. I tried turning off but it didn’t and it stayed hot for about 2 hours. Finally the battery went dead. I believe the water leaked through the plug in port (not very good). Do I have any recourse against LifeProof? Is my iphone DOA? Should I soak in fresh water or is it too late?

    • Mike Mongo says:

      Sorry for the delay. If it has stopped working, your ONLY recourse is to soak good in fresh water, shake water out thoroughly (VERY thoroughly), then put in rice for solid 48 hours. See directions above.

      • Geno says:

        Thanks. So I don’t need to take it apart, I can just soak the whole phone intact like it is?

      • Mike Mongo says:

        Taking it apart is best to remove the battery. However, that’s usually a step up on the skill set. Most people just don’t have the tools or the nerve. (Particularly if it is a 4 or 4s.) Rinse in water. DO NOT POWER. Shake shake shake. Shake some more. Put in plenty of dry rice. DO NOT POWER. Wait 48 hours. DO NOT POWER instead plug in. Let set for at least an hour. NOW power. Good luck!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I went on a cruise to the bahamas, and my waterproof case failed in saltwater as well! Unfortunately, as I was on a cruise ship, I was not provided with any rice (it was against ship policy) so I just let it air dry for the remainder of the cruise. When I got home, I put it directly in white rice and today marks 4 consecutive days of it being in rice, yet it still wont turn on. Should I try plugging it in and see if the battery starts up, or would you still recommend rinsing it in water first and then doing the rice treatment again?

    • Mike Mongo says:

      Read the instructions posted. You ARE going to have to COMPLETELY soak it in fresh water and shake VIGOROUSLY several times. You have got to shake the salt loose. Then completely COVERED in rice in a water-tight container for 48 hours. (Shake the container several times over the course of the 48 hours.)

      But READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ABOVE!!! or else this will not work. Ok?

      There is a good likelihood your phone is dead. But this is your best opportunity and it may work. You may very well be surprised. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

  5. Geno says:

    Mike – unfortunately it did not work for me. I guess time and the salt were too much to overcome for my poor device. RIP…

    But I have another question. My kid has an iphone 4 that has a cracked LCD screen. And I want to repair it. My salt-damaged device was an iphone 4s. Do you think I can replace the iphone 4 LCD screen using the one from the 4s? Or do you think I should just get a new LCD screen? Would the Thanks.

  6. Geno says:

    Oops, I did not finish my thought. Would the salt water have damaged the LCD touch screen circuitry as well, or maybe that is fine?

    • Mike Mongo says:

      Hmm. How did it not work? It was less than 24 hours between when I wrote the above and you responded?

      As for the second phone, you will have to get a news screen. Two different screens. It will cost $100 or so to replace.

  7. enricomck says:

    hi to all firsly sorry my english and thank you for all make this page to help others. now i have the same problem iphone 4 my waterproof case failed in saltwater, i have manega to take all parts out and cleane the logikboard wit %99 IPA but i only sprey it on then brush it (i did not soak in %99 IPA) after its dry i power up with new battery and working difrent iphone 4 housing , my problem is now battery charging shows %100 then few hours swich its self of needs charging again, i left on charge 12 hour then went to see was on red battery charging sing but i did not take out charg why its going dead battery ??? what should i do ?? any help?
    should i take logikboard out soak in %99 IPA but please anyone can advice me how long i should kep in %99 IPA ??? thanks

    • Mike Mongo says:

      From iFixit:
      Step 11 — Cleaning the logic board
      • Submerge the logic board in isopropyl alcohol and allow it to soak long enough to loosen hardened residue and to displace any remaining water or other liquid. Use a soft brush to remove visible corrosion and residue.
      • Residue from motherboard left in isopropyl alcohol container.
      • Clean all flex ends, battery contacts, connectors, chips and fuses on motherboard with a soft brush.
      • Repeat cleaning if necessary or if traces of residue are still visible.
      • Allow the logic board or other parts to dry completely before reassembly.

      • enricomck says:

        to be honest my iphone 4 inside water sensors are still white but i haave take the metal shild off and spread with %99 IPA brust it all ,,, please can you give me some time how long sould i soak 10 min 20min ?? thank you

      • Mike Mongo says:

        10 minutes should do it. Then scrub off with soft brush. Read what I posted above.

  8. enricomck says:

    thank you so much i will let you know outcames thanks again man

  9. Debbie says:

    My daughter’s iPhone 4 fell into the ocean under our boat at the dock on Sunday. We finally managed to get a diver to go down and retrieve it today (3 days later). My husband rinsed it in fresh water. Should it be opened in order to rinse again and left open while in the rice? Thanks!

    • Mike Mongo says:

      Yes. It needs to be rinsed totally and then dried completely before powering on.

      • Debbie says:

        Thanks for replying, Mike. Unfortunately, we were not able to get the phone open but it was rinsed as best we could. It’s been sitting in an airtight container covered in rice for two full days now. Do you think that’s enough time to give it a try or should I change the rice and let it sit longer? Also, my husband suggested damp rid… what are your thoughts? Thanks again!

      • Mike Mongo says:

        Iphone’s don’t open. You just SOAK them thoroughly because salt is the enemy more so than water. Rice is the way to go. You can shake it up to stir up the rice moving moisture away from the phone. Two full days is plenty. Then plug it in and let it set on charger for full hour before attempting to turn on. Good luck!

  10. Debbie says:

    Hi Mike,
    I need to ask for your help one more time. I took the phone out of the rice last night and plugged it in. The apple came up and right after it the password screen. I put in the password and my home screen came up. The phone went off quickly so I left it alone. It cycled between the apple, password screen and off for about two hours then stayed dark and I left it plugged in through the night. In the morning, I tried to turn it on but all I got was the dead battery picture. I took the phone to Apple and they opened it and said it was extremely corroded on the inside and that several of the pins were missing from the battery and that is why it was not charging. I managed to get the phone on for a few minutes and my photos were still there. But, the phone does not stay on long enough for me to copy anything to my computer. Do you have any suggestions? Obviously, any advice you give me would be extremely appreciated and helpful. Thank you again!

    • Mike Mongo says:

      Take out the bad battery. That will only cause more problems. And then order another one. (There’s a difference between iPhone 4 and 4s batteries, be aware.)

      You can buy them on eBay for about $10. You will need a custom screwdriver. (On eBay, search for iphone screwdriver. It’s like a little star.)

      The key is to stop corrosion. The bad battery is only going to get worse. FYI.

  11. michael ramsey says:

    I approve of this article. I got my iphone damaged with salt water and it works fine now (less than a day later). I submerged it in water for a bit, shook out the water, and then dried it in a ziploc bag with rice for about 12 hrs. Thank you for your help!

  12. Debbie says:

    Mike, Apple said putting in a new battery could shock the phone and cause me to lose all my data. Are they pulling my leg? Should I just go ahead and have them put in the new battery today? I feel that every day that passes is costing me valuable time. I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars (or more) going to a data recovery service if I don’t have to. Please advise, thanks!

    • Mike Mongo says:

      Untrue. Strange and untrue. It’s a simple operation. What hundreds of dollars? If you must just send it here, I’ll change battery and back-up data for $100 roundtrip. Simple, seriously. You can do it! Buy battery on eBay. Buy tool on eBay. Back slides right off. If you have any doubts watch the video I linked to. You can do it!

      • Debbie says:

        Hi again,
        It’s been a few days now and the phone still sits. My daughter (it’s her phone) is absolutely petrified to put a new battery into the phone. Apple told her it would shock the phone and erase all her data. She stopped by a “data recovery” place on Monday and they told her the same thing as Apple. Then she called our “computer” guy who told her they were all correct. Apparently, she’s bringing him the phone on Saturday so he can try to retrieve the data without turning on the phone. Truthfully, you seem extremely confident that you can get the data (photos, notes, etc) off the phone yet these people are making her so paranoid that I think we’re losing valuable time. My choice would be to send you the phone but I’m sure she’s going to let our computer guy take a shot at it first. If he fails, would you still be willing to give it a shot? I wish there were words you could offer my daughter that would make her feel confident she wouldn’t lose those photos… thanks, Mike!

  13. Sierra says:

    My iphone 4S was completey saturated in salt water a few days ago! Stupid me! I took it to a guy and he said he dried it and removed the battery, but I’m on holiday in Thailand so I can’t be sure what he did exactly. Do I submerge the phone and the battery as well, since he took the battery out? Or just do the salt water recovery steps with my phone? Should I also rinse off the battery? Then after 48 hours put the battery back in and see if it works, and if not, get a new battery? I haven’ttouched the phone for 3 days so is that still salvageable?

    • Mike Mongo says:

      If you are unable to attend to the phone, you must get that salt off/out of it. Salt and the materials of components within an iPhone are reactive: they sponsor one another to “combust” (so to speak). Even if you cannot salvage the iphone, you can save the data, and I am guessing you have vacation photos. The best bet is if you can get the back off again, rinse, let phone alone on countertop for 5-10 minutes and then give a good rinsing again. Not brushing with anything but a good bath under the faucet or whisking in clean water of a bucket. Then WHILE HOLDING TIGHTLY (!!!) shake vigorously. DO NOT LET GO OF YOUR PHONE. I swing my arm down as if I am hammering something, this forces excess water to leave the phone. Towel off with lint-free towel or good paper towels, and then place in big bag or jar or sealed container of dry white rice. (I have even used plastic wrap and just loosely wrapped the package up—about the size of large grapefruit. Personally, I like to be able to shake the container a bit so to move the rice around inside and shift rice around inside, moving rice which has absorbed some away from phone and “new” rice near phone—but that’s really just overkill. Important, though, do NOT open container for 24-48 hrs after sealing. I almost ALWAYS wait 48 hours. If you MUST you can pull it out in 24. You’re call.

      As for battery just rinse off. The little metal connection will probably corrode. Replacement batteries are about $10 US on eBay. Easy to replace yourself. Good luck in Thailand! Have fun in any case!

  14. phil marrone says:

    mike
    my i phone got wet with salt water this past sunday. I put the phone in rice but didnt know about the fresh water option. It is now Wednesday i went to the apple Store on Monday and the guy opened it and said it at corrioson on the inside. i have it in rice know with the back cover off.
    do you think it is too late to clean with fresh water and should i put the back cover on before i do this. when this did happen on sunday i saw no actual water on the phone and it was wrapped in a towel when we got hit by the way. but to date i have no power whatsoever. Should i go buy a new battery? Please advise on what to do. I am sorry for any redundancy.

  15. Fred says:

    Mike, last week im on vacation in Bali and my iPhone 5 inside my bag..i accidentally dropped my bag in salt water and manage to shake my phone after that..and 1 days later i bought white rice and put my iphone..till now my iphone wont turn up..any idea? sorry for my english

    • Mike Mongo says:

      The most important thing: You MUST get salt out of phone. The ONLY way is to rinse. Sweet (fresh) water works best. This can be tap or bottled. Salt acts as a corrosive. It has to be cleared from phone. It may be too late. So the best thing to do is open phone and remove back using special 5-point pentalobe screwdriver (repair shop or ebay). Since that may not be so easy, and if the phone is dead anyway, the best bet is to make sure phone is off (hold power & home button down together for 10-seconds) then soak under fresh water. I mean soak. Drench. Swish around, shake it up so water moves around inside.

      Next, shake out water. I hold it so water can come out bottom and swing my arm downwards for a couple of minutes. NOTE: BE SURE AND HOLD PHONE TIGHTLY. I have seen phones broken during this process by people letting go of phone. When doing this be careful to not let go of phone.

      After all the excess fresh water is shook out, now follow instructions above with rice. Let set in sealed container with rice for 48-hours. Do not bother other. Just walk away and let it be. 48-hours later, remove from dry rice and plug in. It will take an hour or so but generally the phone will come back on at this point. Good luck!

  16. Elliot says:

    I’d been traveling around Spain taking pictures with an iPhone 4 when I accidentally exposed it to the Mediterranean, which is a bit salty. When i realized what i did, I immediately dried the phone and wrapped it in a towel for a couple of hours until I was able to get rice. It has been in the rice for 3 days now, so what should I do to save the phone and/or the pictures? Also, what are the chances that the phone will work or that the pictures will be saved? Finally, is it possible to go to an apple store and see if they can transfer the memory from this phone onto a new phone? Thanks for your help

    • Mike Mongo says:

      Did you rinse the salt out? Does it turn on now?

      First power it it up for an hour. If it comes back on, find a friendly computer and IMMEDIATELY back up your photos etc. (You can even “save” an iphone backup and carry with you (on a thumb drive, for instance) to extract information later but that’s another process. Google where is my iphone backup stored.)

      If it doesn’t power up after an hour I’d unplug, rinse thoroughly with fresh water (see my original post–rinse, swish, shake with firm grip) then dry off and put back in rice for two days. If you have to put in big freezer bag if rice and carry with you, that’s ok too. Two days later, charge again for an hour or two, then try to power up. It will probably work. If not at least it’s dry and corrosive salt is gone.

      At home you can have photos info saved by sending away. (eBay: iphone photo recovery, logic board repair, etc.)

      Good luck. And have a great trip. Don’t let this spoil your fun. Photos and data are important but life and living is even better. I’d rather have a vacation in the Mediterranean without a camera then no vacation but with a camera anyday!

  17. Magnus says:

    Please help me. My iPhone 4 got dropped in salt water yesterday. it does not turn on, and does not respond if i try to recharge it. Is my phone completely broken or is it still hope? if i cant do something, can atleast turn it in for repear? or is it not fixable? please respond :) great article

    • Mike Mongo says:

      There’s hope. Follow the directions above. Essentially, soak, rinse, hold tight/shake out, dry off, put in sealed container of dry rice (about quart of rice), seal, let set for 24 AT LEAST without powering on or messing with. THEN: remove from rice, DO NOT POWER ON, connect to power source, let charge for an hour. NOW try powering on. And (usually) voila! Good luck!

  18. Jaden says:

    Hey Mike, i was wading through the Caribbean sea for about 40 minutes until i realized my phone was in my pocket. i put it in white rice immediately for about 4 days before i realized i needed to rinse it out. after the 4 days i tried powering it again but nothing happened. how long should i rinse the phone in fresh water for? do you think theres still hope? i am currently following your instructions word for word.

  19. Aish. says:

    Hi Mike! So I got my iphone 5 drenched in sea water and it wouldn’t turn on. I put it in rice, tried plugging it in to charge after a day, didn’t work. Then I put it back in rice for 3 days, plugged it in, still nothing. I just read this rinsing in fresh water thing, which I JUST did. Literally gave my iphone a shower with tap water, shook it like nobody’s business and now put it back in container with rice. While I was doing that – THE CAMERA LIGHT STARTED FLASHING – so I pressed the home button and the top button for 10 secs, it stopped flashing and I put it back in the rice. Does this mean there is still hope?? Or is it telling me I ruined everything inside?

    • Mike Mongo says:

      Yes of course there is still hope but whatever you do DO NOT PLUG IT IN. Right now shake out even more water and then put in rice for 24-hours. It matters. It works. You are one the right path. The rice will absorb the moisture. Then, after 24-hours, plug it back in and it charge for AT LEAST an hour. THEN try and power up. (It may do so by itself.) Even if that does not work, try plugging it into computer and see if iTunes recognizes the phone, maybe to retrieve some data. Remove from computer and put back on regular AC charger. You can let set for another 24 hours on charger. It may come up during this time. If not still, then deep rinse under fresh water again and 24hrs in (new) rice again. Good luck, I think you are getting there!

  20. hi there i need help :(( last december 8 i ruined my phone it got soaked in salwater for i think 3 minutes i panicked my aunt told me to bury it in the sand but i didnt remove the casing first i know from a fact i tried turning it on :( when i got home i drenched it in rice but its still dead is their any chance that it can be repaired? or i really need to let go and get a new one? :(((

    • Mike Mongo says:

      Wow, yes, it’s probaby ruined. (Sand? Really? With case still on? Wow!) Here’s your last chance. All you can do is drench under tap water or hose. Shake water out. Then soak in bowl or bucket of water. Shake water out again. Then drench it again and shake water out again. 3 times, even 4. Then shake water out good (but hold onto phone—careful not to let go and throw it). Now shake out even MORE water, until no water comes out. NOW put in rice in airtight container. Fill ziploc freezer bag or tupperware bowl, cover COMPLETELY with dry rice and seal. Leave completely alone for 48 hours, NOT 24 but 48 hours. After 48 hours, take out phone and plug into regular AC charger. Let set for two hours. It may (may) come on by itself but leave it alone and let it charge for two solid hours. If it doesn’t automatically come on after two hours then go ahead and push power button. If it didn’t come on, chances are it is not going to. But you never know until you try.

      Next time, google first, bury your iPhone is sand later.

  21. Michael says:

    Hi i accidentally drowned my iphone due to the fact that my indepth case failed. it drowned in saltwater. as soon as i got home i flushed it with freshwater. i am getting a little red light in the speaker at the top of the iphone 4 it has been in the rice for less than 30 minutes. is this a good or bad thing

    • Mike Mongo says:

      It depends. Did you flush it well with fresh water? If so, good, it is probably just a connection being made internally. The rice will absorb the moisture IF left untended for at least 24-48 hours, IF in a sealed-tight container with plenty of dry rice (I use about 4 cups). Just let it be. Forget about it, and let it sit unmolested and unbothered for AT LEAST the full 24-hours. Walk away and let the rice do its work.

  22. angelwing12 says:

    My ipod got soaked in milk 5 days ago and died. Then, I dried it off and put it in a bag of rice for 4 days and tried plugging it into the computer and it turned on. But then when I came back later, the ipod was off again and I can’t get it to turn back on. What should I do? Would rinsing it in fresh water be helpful at this point, since I didn’t do that before?

    • Mike Mongo says:

      You are in a very tricky situation. Milk (and sugary drinks) leave coatings of residue that hardens. Worse, it rots. Mold can form, particularly with milk-based liquids. If it was mine, I’d put it in bowl of water and let sit for a couple hours. Then I’d rinse it and shake water out over and over and over Like 10 times. Immediately after that I’d put proceed as if it had just dropped it in fresh water: shake out water and place phone in airtight sealed container of 2-4 cups of dry rice for 48-hours. Then I’d plug in and let charge for at least an hour. It will probably come on then and even work well but the battery will more than likely have to be replaced.

  23. BeachBum says:

    Mike I was swimming in the Caribbean Sea when my Griffin “Waterproof” Survivor case failed around 9am on Sunday March 9th. A small amount of salt water entered the case. The phone turned off on it’s own. The LCI liquid contact indicator sticker inside the SIM compartment on my iPhone 5S is still white. The sticker never turned red. Is it still white because only fresh water turns it red or because it didn’t get wet enough?

    My iPhone 5S won’t turn back on or connect to iTunes but gets hot while charging. How do I now if it has a short circuit or if it needs a new battery? If the liquid contact indication sticker is still white will Apple repair it under warranty or will the technician know the phone was damaged by liquid?

    My 4S was stolen so I just purchased this 5S from the U.S. Apple store. I’ve only had it for 4 weeks. It’s factory unlocked so I paid $700US and an additional $500US for shipping and customs import fees to the Caribbean. After spending a total of $1,200US for my iPhone 5S I’m hoping the white LCI sticker will keep my warranty valid. What’s your advice or opinion Mike?

    • Mike Mongo says:

      TOUGH CALL except for one thing. It’s not working. I believe more than a small amount got in, or that it was enough to get into phone and short circuit it. In your case I’d get it open ASAP and give it a “rinse” with “electronic contact cleaner” (comes in spray can—google it—I use CRC-brand) and I’d do it ASAP. The trick is locating the tool. Is there a reputable iphone repair shop where you are?

      • BeachBum says:

        You were right it about the short circuit Mike… Mailing my 5S back to the States for Apple’s $269 out of warranty replacement (or no charge if they can’t find a red LCI sticker inside) They’ll give me a new or refurbished iPhone… Griffin is also mailing me a new Waterproof Survivor Case for free and Jamaica Customs promised to refund the customs duty fees I paid to import the phone the first time and apply the fee to this shipment since it’s being exported and imported again for warranty replacement

      • Mike Mongo says:

        BB, thanks for the informative update. That’s the best part of this post: It’s all the additional information made available by all of us who go through getting our iPhone wet!

  24. BeachBum says:

    Thanks Mike… I’m on my way to the repair shop now… I’ll let you know what happens…

  25. Chris says:

    Hey mike, just came home and found you on google. My 5s got soaked in the Caribbean Sea while snorkeling today. I only turned it off a few hrs later. Then I rinsed it and placed it in a container of rice per your instructions. Will report back in 48 hrs or so to let you know if it works :) cheers

    • Mike Mongo says:

      Thanks, Chris. Good luck!

      • Chris says:

        So it’s Monday, my 5s was stuck in the rice for approx 36 hrs. I plugged it on and nothing happened, so I dumped it in rice again. Keeping my fingers crossed. :(

      • Chris says:

        Oh and for you guys and gals who place your trust in life proof, don’t!!!!!! I barely spent 5 mins in the water when I felt my 5s start to vibrate like crazy. When I took it out of my pocket the entire case was full with water. Yes my charging port and headphone jack were both properly secured because I double checked them before entering e water. And yes I did the water test before installing it in my 5s. I really hope this rice business works because I can’t she’ll out that kind of money anytime soon to purchase a new phone. Life proof totally sucks big time :(

  26. Todd says:

    Hi Mike! In short:
    sealed case failed during a capsizing in salt water,
    massive rinsing and shaking session.
    48 hr. rice process
    plugged in iphone, left it charging, and got the blinking apple logo and then it went dead
    back in the rice for nearly another 24 hrs
    blinking logo is back again but the phone has not gone dead.
    computer will not recognize the phone.

    does the apple blinking indicate anything? what should happen next?

  27. Todd says:

    thanks Mike! its an iphone 5. tried that trick and the symbol came up! that’s new. nothing else happened. believe it or not I never use iTunes. I never use my phone for music at all save for playing off of youtube. anyway that symbol came on and the computer indicated by sound that a device had been connected followed by the sound of a device being disconnected. I found this link while digging around but have to get the phone to stay connected to the computer first. I wonder if I shouldn’t rice pack it again for a while. any thoughts?

    • Mike Mongo says:

      More time in rice may in fact help. I am constantly amazed by the iPhone’s propensity for self healing over time. Also, I would like to encourage you (and all others) to use iTunes—if only to create ready back-ups “just in case”. Those just-in-case moments happen, and IMO it is surprising how much information can be restored from a back-up that cannot be re-downloaded from the cloud/iCloud.

  28. Todd says:

    Blessings upon you for ministering to the desperate tech world.

  29. Sam says:

    Hey mike,
    A couple hours ago I dropped my phone into a urinal that was filled with urine. I picked the phone out right away and quickly rinsed it. I then placed it into rice about 30 min after it has been soaked. My question is should I take it out and rinse it thoroughly or should I just leave it in the rice. It’s been in rice for 3 hours now. I also just rinsed the phone for about 5 seconds. So what should I do?

    • Mike Mongo says:

      Urine is sterile. It can have salt content but generally nowhere near salt water. Don’t rinse it, RICE IT. Meaning, don’t rinse it but leave it COVERED in rice for FULL 24-hrs! (You sound like a person who can’t put their phone down for too long—but in this case your phone’s health and well-being depend on your being able to let it have this “downtime”.) Let the phone be in the rice, walk away, use a computer, get back to it tomorrow.

      If I have guessed correctly, you this is going to be challenge for you. However, think if you didn’t have that phone at all. Unless it’s time for an upgrade, let the rice suck away all that moisture from your iPhone.

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