How a Bag of Rice Saved My iPhone

I have had my iPhone 4 in early August of 2009 and I have been carefully protecting it since then. At the slightest hint of rain I bury my phone deeply in my pocket and have had a thin yet solid cover which has, I believe, saved it on numerous occasions from dopey drops — the cracks in the case are testament to this reality.

Above all, I have kept it well away from bodies of water, trying not to have it out near ponds or lakes and even being careful when going to use the restroom. On Friday, as we were preparing for the holy Sabbath and I was doing the otherwise mundane task of washing dishes, disaster seemed to strike when I picked up my phone to look at something and it slipped out of my hand and straight into a large bowl full of water.

I quickly fished it out of the water and was amazed to see that the phone was still on. I dried it off as best as I could and I saw that there was an immediate effect — the screen asking to swipe to turn off the phone kept popping up over and over again, and I cancelled out of it again and again. It also repeatedly suggested that the headphone ringer volume was going up and down repeatedly, even though I wasn’t touching any button on the phone.

I tried placing a call without an earpiece and I couldn’t hear anything although Elizabeth heard me well. I put headphones on and then I could hear Elizabeth clearly whereas she could not hear me at all. Frustrated, I decided that I had to get a replacement iPhone 4 which got me blue because the iPhone 5 is going to be coming out soon and I was hoping to save up for a few months to get it.

It was a struggle backing it up as well. My Sony laptop, which normally recognizes the iPhone even when it isn’t connected, did not recognize it at all. I was glad that the MacBook recognized it immediately and I had no problem backing it up. Elizabeth told me that her mother recommended plunging it in a container of rice overnight. Since it was nearly time for Shabbos this meant leaving it there for over 25 hours. I decided that either it would somehow work out and I would have my phone again or I would just have to get another iPhone 4 on Sunday.

Saturday evening came and I saw that somehow my phone turned itself back on after I had turned it off and I thought it peculiar. I made a test call to Elizabeth, who heard me perfectly well. There was no notification about the headphone ringer volume, nor did a screen flash that it wanted to be slid to be turned off. As of this writing, at nearly eleven fifteen at night, my phone still seems fine and for that I am relieved. Having read stories of Apple Genius Bar employees telling customers not to try the so called “Rice Trick” I can say that this is absolutely because they want you to have to replace your phone.

If you somehow manage to let your iPhone slip into water, don’t panic! At least try the rice trick before you give up and go back to the Apple store. Turn off the phone and bury it in a container of rice (brown seems to work as well as white) and leave it there overnight — or twenty five hours! The rice seems to draw out the water and does wonders for the phone — it certainly did wonders for mine.