What to do when you drop your iPhone in the water

1. Swear.

Use your best words. But get it over with quickly – you’ve got work to do.

2. Dry your phone off.

That’s right, get a towel and dry it off ASAP. Is it dead? It probably isn’t.


3. Back it up.

That’s right. Don’t put your phone in a bag of rice or anything like that. While it’s still alive, you need to get your data off your phone as fast as possible.

4. Backup to iCloud

If you’ve got iCloud backup setup, congratulations – this won’t be that painful.

5. Get your Photos off it. Now.

You are backing your photos up to iCloud, right? If not, plug your device into a computer, run Image Capture if it’s a Mac/MacBook/iMac etc., and copy all your photos/videos off of your device.

6. But I don’t have a backup…

Well you’re about to change that. Plug your phone into a computer, run iTunes, and back your device up. If you use iCloud to save your passwords you can backup your apps/photos/media/documents.

Or you could do an encrypted backup, which copies your phone’s entire current state (apps, photos, messages, movies, app data, tabs, everything). An encrypted backup’s great – if you remember the password. If you have an encrypted backup you can essentially clone your phone – and you can set up a new one just like an old one.

Which is handy if your phone has got wet, as it’s probably going to die a slow death. But if you have a backup, you can restore that on a new phone.

Assuming you have insurance. (Which is what Apple Care is, btw.)

7. Cynical advice: don’t think it’s going to be fine – aka “my phone still works”

If you don’t have a backup, it’s probably not going to be fine. It just might take a few hours for the water to seep through your phone.

8. Don’t think “it’s still working”

Your phone may still turn into a brick. Or the touchscreen might stop working. These things take time. Hours, if you’re (un)lucky.

Once the touchscreen stops working, then your phone’s essentially a brick – you can’t access the phone, or your data anymore. So get your data off your device while you still can.

Now put your phone in a sealed bag. With silica gel sachets. Lots of sachets. Somewhere warm. And wait to see if your phone is going to die. You’ll know pretty quickly.

But you have a backup, so all it is going to cost you is money. Not memories.

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