Rice isn't nice for drying your iPhone, according to Apple

Old wives revise their official advice

With smartphones these days moonlighting as in-flight entertainment when atop the porcelain throne, watery mishaps are bound to happen.

The question is, then, how do you dry your device when it takes that inevitable tumble into those dirty depths? Because it sure ain't charging while the port is waterlogged.

Philosophers have long pondered the problem, and those investigations invariably arrive at what we will call the Rice Solution.

Here is Macworld, which we would assume to be an expert in such matters, on "How to dry out an iPhone with uncooked rice":

To get moisture out of the iPhone's interior, you need a desiccant. Many people swear by uncooked rice, advising owners to put their damp iPad or iPhone in a big bowl of the stuff (cover it completely) and leave it there for 24 hours or so.

The rice will absorb the moisture effectively, and most of us have some uncooked rice in our homes (or can get hold of some fairly easily). But it may get dust or even entire grains into the ports. Be warned.

What follows is a step-by-step guide, as if one were needed, on putting some rice in a plastic container then shoving your iPhone in it. Basically, leave it for a day then try to turn it on. If at first you don't succeed, try, try, and try again for the next few days.

However, whether people "swear by it" has been rendered moot by a decree from Apple itself. Handing down new documentation on how what to do "if you see a liquid-detection alert on your iPhone" (models XS and later), the Cupertino giant gives its official course of action:

  1. 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.

  2. After at least 30 minutes, try charging with a Lightning or USB-C cable or connecting an accessory.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

It then handily outlines what not to do (our emphasis):

  • Don't dry your iPhone using an external heat source or compressed air.

  • Don't insert a foreign object, such as a cotton swab or a paper towel, into the connector.


In fairness, Macworld gives the same warning, but doesn't hesitate to suggest the method regardless. In any case, if neither solution works, you'll be taking a costly trip to the Genius Bar or grappling with Apple Support.

In this admittedly unqualified writer's experience, though, iDevices are somewhat hardened to the perils of water. I recall years ago fumbling an iPod into the toilet. Hope lost, and with the advent of streaming services like Spotify just hitting the mainstream, the iPod went into the drawer where other doomed gadgets gathered dust.

On a whim, many months later, I turned it on and it worked perfectly. I went for a walk listening to a selection of pirated rarities I had thought forever lost. It's probably still functional now, if I knew where it was and had an old 30-pin charger.

So perhaps Apple is right, and patience really is a virtue. ®

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