A trusted iPhone fix could make things worse, Apple says

Before smartphones like Apple’s iPhone became adept at repelling water, many of us sought out the trusty bag of rice as a means of drawing out moisture and returning the stricken handset to working condition.

It was a case of placing the damp iPhone in a zip-lock back and hoping for the best. However, Apple is now telling customers seeking out this miracle cure is little more than an old wives’ tale. In a new support document, Apple says that placing your sodden iPhone in a bag of basmati might actually make things worse.

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“Don’t put your iPhone in a bag of rice. Doing so could allow small particles of rice to damage your iPhone,” Apple says in a support document advising customers what to do if their iPhone or accessory gets wet.

The speaker holes or charging port could always become botched with a gain of rice, we suppose, so it’s not surprising Apple is advising people not to do this now the phones are more robust when it comes to repelling water.

The company also says you shouldn’t seek to dry the phone with an external heat source (I once melted my iBook keys with a hair dryer) or by using compressed air. It also says you shouldn’t use cotton buds or paper towels within the charging connector in order to soak up moisture.

These days iPhones have an IP68 water and dust resistant rating, which means these home remedies are rarely required. A modern iPhone should be able to withstand a depth of up to 4 metres for 30 minutes, for example.

Often when an iPhone encounters water Apple will notify users when they attempt to charge the phone and advise them to wait until the phone is fully dry. It’s still possible to charge the battery wirelessly during this period.

Here’s the full advisory from Apple’s new support document:

Dry your iPhone:

  • Tap your iPhone gently against your hand with the connector facing down to remove excess liquid. Leave your iPhone in a dry area with some airflow.
  • After at least 30 minutes, try charging with a Lightning or USB-C cable or connecting an accessory.
  • If you see the alert again, there is still liquid in the connector or under the pins of your cable. Leave your iPhone in a dry area with some airflow for up to a day. You can try again to charge or connect an accessory throughout this period. It might take up to 24 hours to fully dry.
  • If your phone has dried out but still isn’t charging, unplug the cable from the adapter and unplug the adapter from the wall (if possible) and then connect them again.

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