You Just Dropped Your iPhone 5 In The Toilet. What Next?

by John Carroll on December 3, 2012

iPhone 5 in Water

It’s already happened… so stop agonizing over how you could have stopped it. In two-weeks this will be a terrific story you can tell people at parties.

A few quick safety tips:

  • As your iPhone is dripping wet… don’t try to use it to call anyone for help.
  • This is not a good time to attempt a backup.
  • I doesn’t matter if the phone has only a few minutes of talk time left. Stay away from electrical outlets.

I’d also advise not telling anyone who doesn’t own an iPhone 5. People with an iPhone 4S or lower will show little empathy for your plight.

So… what can you do?

  1. Power the iPhone off. Hold down the power button until you see the red slide to power off slider.
  2. If the phone is in a case… take it out. If it has a dust shield that’s easy to remove, take that off too.
  3. Standing over the bath, shake as much water from the phone as you can.
  4. Dry off your phone with a towel. Lint free if possible.
  5. If you have a cotton bud, do your best to mop any water from the headphone and charging port.
  6. Fill a sealable plastic bag or Tupperware container with plain, uncooked rice. Avoid enriched rice as it leaves a residue.
  7. Add the iPhone. Completely cover it with rice.
  8. Seal the bag or container.

It’s okay to put the bowl in a room that’s warm, but do not put it in the oven, use a hair-dryer, or apply an acetylene torch. To much heat will ruin your phone.

It will take 24 to 48 hours for the rice to draw out all the moisture. When the time is up, try to power your phone back on. Just hold down the power button until you get a white apple and it starts to boot up.

If all goes well, your phone will work.

If your phone won’t power up, you’ll need to get it repaired, but take some solace in the fact that you’ve done all the right things to minimize water damage.

Oh… and don’t forget to throw out the rice.

Update

If you do need to replace your iPhone, you should be aware of Apple’s Out-Of-Warranty service.

Apple considers “liquid damage” to be outside the terms of their warranty, but may, at their discretion, provide Out-Of-Warranty coverage.

They will replace your iPhone with a refurbished iPhone at the prices listed below:

  • iPhone 5 – $269.00
  • iPhone 4S – $199.00
  • iPhone 4, 3GS, 3G and original iPhone – $149.00

This does not include shipping costs and any other applicable taxes. For more information, click the Warranty and Service button on this page.

Thank you for all your comments.

I’m happy to answer your questions, but unfortunately I can’t predict based on a given set of circumstances if a water damaged iPhone will work again.

Your best bet is to bring your iPhone to Apple or an Apple certified third-party repair center and let them take a look at it.

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{ 355 comments… read them below or add one }

Abigail perez July 23, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Last night I had dropped my iphone5 in the sink pot full of water but my phone had cracks on the.screen will it still work if I put it in rice ??

Reply

John Carroll John Carroll July 23, 2014 at 8:41 pm

It would be safer to take it to Apple and have them test it. Whatever you do, don’t connect it to a Mac or other power source. – John

Reply

Maria July 16, 2014 at 11:37 am

I went out with some friends on Friday and dropped my phone in the toilet, luckily I dropped it in a target so I quicky dried it off and went off ot buy rice, after purchasing it I stuck it in the box and waited its now monday of the following week, and my phone still wont turn on. Would it be too late to take it to a repair store? I just got this phone 3 weeks ago :((

Reply

John Carroll John Carroll July 17, 2014 at 11:03 am

Hi Maria – It’s not to late to take to a repair store, but only they could give you the final word on whether or not they can fix it. Have a look at the bottom of the post for more information on what Apple can do. Good luck. – John

Reply

Leslie June 5, 2014 at 4:34 am

At midnight today I dropped my Iphone 5 in a bathtub. It was on and in a battery charge type of case. I very quickly retrieved it wiped it, removed the case and dried it some more. Just before I turned it off I noticed it said “You have no SIM card”.
I knew about putting it in rice, but I didn’t have any and it was past midnight. I wrapped it in a paper towel. I started to worry about losing my photos and particularly a video of my mother touching her toes on her 91st birthday . I turned it on and tried to use my transfer to send some of my photos to my ipad. They couldn’t connect. I now know I shouldn’t have turned it on. I removed the SIM card and put my phone in a container of Rice Krispies.(an on-line suggestion. It is presently in a plastic bag in rice. I don’t mind getting a new phone, but want to save my info and photos. Do you think I can sync it on my computer after it dries? Do I need to put the SIM card back in? What info does it carry?

Reply

John Carroll John Carroll June 5, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Hi Leslie – The Sim card carries information related to your carrier e.g. AT&T, Verizon, Etc. If the Sim card doesn’t work the phone may not function correctly.
That said, there is no other information held on the Sim card. All your data, photos, etc. Are held in flash memory on the phone. There’s no way to know if your phone will sync with your computer after dries. If it doesn’t, you may be able to take it to a third-party repair store and have them retrieve the data for you. I hope this helps.– John

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