Want to Get Water Out of Your iPhone? Apple Says Using Rice Is Not a Good Idea

The rice myth has officially been debunked.
Stop doing this.
Stop doing this. / Carlos Fernandez/Moment Open via Getty Images

While the iPhone and other smartphones represent incredible technological progress, they remain susceptible to an old-age problem: When submerged or otherwise doused in water, they can be potentially ruined. Some people believe that shoving the devices into a bag of uncooked rice can get the liquid out and avoid water damage. Now, as The Guardian reports, Apple has officially addressed that approach.

In short, they think it’s a pretty bad idea.

In a support page dedicated to advice about wet iPhones, the company has a blunt message for rice proponents: “Don’t put your iPhone in a bag of rice. Doing so could allow small particles of rice to damage your iPhone.”

Apple also cautions against using an external heat source, like a hair dryer or space heater, to try and dry the phone. Compressed air isn’t recommended, either. If a connector is wet, you’re not supposed to use a cotton swab or paper towel. All of it risks damaging the iPhone’s internal components.

That’s quite a laundry list of things not to do. So how should you treat an iPhone that’s been exposed to water?

How to Get Water Out of Your iPhone

Apple advises users with a wet iPhone to first unplug it from its charging cable, and make sure the cable is also unplugged from a power outlet. Next, tap the device against the palm of your hand with the connector facing down so any liquid inside the device can escape.

Apple then recommends leaving the iPhone in an area with some airflow. So, not in a drawer or enclosed space. Placing it in front of a fan is fine. Wait 30 minutes, then try charging it or connecting an accessory. If the connector is still wet, wait 24 hours.

Certain models of iPhone (XS, XS Max, XR) offer a liquid detection warning. If moisture is detected in the connector, including the USB-C connector, the phone will alert you. Once the moisture evaporates, the warning will disappear and you can resume charging.

Although Apple doesn’t recommend charging a wet iPhone, it’s possible you may have to in the event of an emergency. Users can override the liquid detection notice and continue charging, or you can use a wireless charger.

Are iPhones Waterproof?

No model of iPhone is waterproof. Many models from the iPhone 7 and up are what Apple describes as “splash, water, and dust resistant,” which means they can handle a few stray drops.

Some models from the iPhone 12 and up are IP68 rated, which means laboratory tests have confirmed the phones can endure being submerged in water depths of up to 6 meters for 30 minutes.

The Rice Myth

It’s unclear how a bag of rice wound up as the de facto strategy for drying iPhones. Rice can act as a desiccant, absorbing water in the same manner as those little packets of silica that are often used during shipping and storage of consumer products. It’s possible the notion stemmed from photographers keeping their camera equipment dry in tropical climates by using the method back in the 1940s. But evidence this approach actually works is scant. It’s possible the phone would have dried by itself, and users who report success with rice are confusing correlation with causation.

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You may find other methods circulating online, and it’s possible some may work. But as far as official Apple guidance goes, the best bet is to simply leave your iPhone alone and give yourself a connectivity break in the process. And remember that liquid damage isn’t covered by the Apple warranty.