Apple issues rice advice, saying it's not the way you should dry out your wet iPhone

A smartphone sitting in rice
(Image credit: Future)

Many people—myself included— have had to deal with the woe of a wet phone. My experience came during the Songkran festival in Thailand. If you've ever experienced it, it means you get wet. Very wet. Some water got into my supposedly sealed phone pouch, and yes—I actually used rice to dry it out. It turns out that's not the best thing to do, at least according to an Apple support document.

Apple released an official advisory on the subject of drying your phone, as spotted by Macworld (via the Guardian). The advisory lays out what you should and should not do if your phone gets wet. It says 'Don’t put your iPhone in a bag of rice. Doing so could allow small particles of rice to damage your iPhone.'

I don't actually have an iPhone, but it's safe to say that dunking one in rice is something plenty of people have done over the years. Without ever paying much attention to the subject, I have always assumed the rice submersion method was a sound way of absorbing water from electronics. Did I fall for an unproven urban myth?

Apparently so. Honestly I never thought about little bits of rice getting into the nooks and crannies of my phone.

The iPhone actually has a decent liquid detection function that tells you not to connect your cable if it detects moisture. A short is the worst that can happen, but the pins can corrode which could turn your phone into an overpriced doorstop. 

I won't risk saying iPhones are overpriced anyway. Oops. I just did. Yep, I'm an Android guy. 

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The general advice for drying out your phone is to sit it with the connector facing down to allow any excess liquid to drain out, while directing some natural airflow over it. The same advice goes for any phone or electrical device. Apple wisely suggests you should not direct heat or compressed air at your phone, and not to go inserting stuff like cotton swabs or a bit of paper towel in there.

The iPhone 12 and later models are built to be water resistant, as is the case for many modern phones. Some will even survive full submersion. But when it comes to drying it out afterwards, leave the rice in the bag.

Now if i was to drop my phone into the toilet, I wouldn't even bother. I'd be on the lookout for a new phone.

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.