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.

Posted by Gordon Davidescu

Born in Perth Amboy, Gordon Davidescu lives in Queens with his wife, toddler son and bears. He loves reading a good book whether it is cloth and paper or digitally.

11 Comments

  1. Sorry to hear of your iPhone water trouble, Gordon!

    Here are my tips for saving a wet iPhone — using rice as well as a gas oven — all in the conversation thread below:

    http://wordpunk.com/2011/05/20/how-find-my-iphone-works-from-afar/#comment-2408

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    1. Interesting! I hope I never have to use the tips but I appreciate their being there!

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      1. If you have a gas oven, I’d still put your iPhone in there on a piece of foil on a cookie sheet and let it sit there, with the oven off and the door closed, for a day or two just to completely dry out the internals. I’d also choose to have the display “never turn off” while you’re charging because the heat from the display will also help dry out the insides in the layers that make up your screen components.

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        1. Luckily Rosh Hashana is coming up and that will give me 49 straight hours of being away from the oven — and the iPhone!:) Great advice! Thank you.

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          1. Just don’t forget it’s in the oven! I always make a “foil snake” and hook it on the oven handle from the outside as a signal flag that something is in there drying out and to not turn on the oven! GRIN!

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          2. How often do you find yourself drying electronics in the oven? Smile!:)

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          3. More often than I would like! Splashes happen. Sometimes we have to clean hearing aids or get them out of the humidity. I just dropped a cup of hot tea on an extension strip… that is now sitting in a dry oven…

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  2. Lillian Boyington September 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    There’s a reason to keep Sabbath. Without that 25 hour rest, you may have gotten antsy to ‘see if it worked’. :) Now you know it will, and so do I. Thank you for the tip!

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    1. Quite right. I completely put the phone out of my mind as I always do every Shabbos. The phone means nothing to me during Shabbos.

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  3. I hear you, David. Maybe you should have a warning magnet made that has “WARNING : ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT DRYING” in it with a drawing of an iPhone in the oven!:)

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    1. Lillian Boyington September 11, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      I have electronic ignition on my oven, so I’ll have to stick with the rice method.

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