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How To Fix a Wet iPhone or iPod

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Wet smart phone being taken out of toilet
Peter Cade/Iconica/Getty Images

In the course of using them, iPhones and iPods sometimes get wet. It's just a fact of life. Whether we spill drinks on them, accidentally drop them in the tub, have kids who soak them in the sink, or any number of other watery mishaps, iPods and iPhones get wet.

But a wet iPhone or iPod doesn't necessarily mean a dead iOS device. While sometimes a soaked iPhone can't be saved no matter what you do, before you declare your beloved gadget dead, try these tips:

  1. Never turn it on – If your iPod is wet, never try to turn it on. Doing this can cause more damage to the electronics inside it. If it's already on, turn it off/lock it as quickly as possible.
  2. Shake the water out – Depending on how soaked it got, you may be able see water in your iPhone's headphone jack, dock connector, or other areas. Shake the water out as much as possible and dry off the iPhone.
  3. Put it in rice - This may sound crazy, but it actually works really well. Get a ziplock bag big enough to hold the iPhone or iPod and the rice. Put the device inside and then fill most of the rest of the bag with uncooked rice (try not to use enriched rice, as it can leave dust on your device). Leave it in the bag for a few days. In that time, the rice will draw moisture out of the device that you wouldn't be able to get it in any other way. Many a wet iPhone has been saved this way.
  4. Leave it in a warm place – Once you've gotten the water you can see out of the way, keep your iPod off and leave it somewhere warm to dry for a few days. A lot of people like to leave a damp iPod on the top of a TV, where the heat from the TV will help to dry the inside of the device, but choose whatever tactic you like.
  5. Use a hair dryer – Be very careful with this one. It can work for some people (it's worked for me), but you can also damage your iPod this way. If you decide to try it, blow a hair dryer, on low power, on the wet iPod about a day after it got wet. Don't use anything more intense than low, though.
  6. Take it apart – You better know what you're doing to do this, because you can ruin your iPod and will void your warranty, but if you're handy with electronics, consider taking your iPod apart to dry out the wet parts. In this situation, some people use the hair dryer, others like to separate the parts and leave them in a bag of rice for a day or two and then re-assemble the device.
  7. Try a repair company – If none of these tactics work, there are iPhone repair companies that specialize in saving iPhones with water damage. A little time at your favorite search engine can put you in touch with a number of good vendors.
  8. Try Apple - While moisture damage isn't covered by Apple warranties, a new Apple policy introduced in May 2009, though not advertised, reportedly has Apple willing to trade submerged iPhones for refurbished models for US$199 (no word on replacement of iPods). You'll likely need to request this offer and be able to demonstrate that the iPhone was submerged.

So, as you can see, a wet iPod doesn't necessarily mean that you need to head to the Apple Store with credit card in hand, but it can mean trouble. So, stay out trouble by using a good iPod case (maybe even an underwater iPod case) or keeping your iPod and your soda far apart.

 

Software Tips for Dealing with a Wet iPhone

After you've tried the tips above to dry your iPhone or iPod, it may start up just fine and work as though nothing ever happened. But many people encounter some software problems when they first try to use it. If so, try these tips, which also apply to iPod touch and iPad, for dealing with some of the common problems:

 

How to Tell if Your iPhone or iPod Has Been Submerged

If you're buying a used iPhone or iPod, or have lent your device to someone and now it's not working well, you may want to try to find out if it's gotten submerged in water. If so, you're in luck: iPods and iPhones have a built-in moisture indicator.

The moisture indicator is a small orange dot that appears in the headphone jack, dock connector, or SIM card slot, depending on the device. Check out this Apple article for the location of the moisture indicator on recent devices.

It's important to know that the moisture indicator is far from foolproof, but if you see the orange dot, you need to at least be skeptical.

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