How to Recover Data from Water Damaged iPhone

Water and electronics don’t mix — but of course, you probably already knew that.

Whether you went swimming forgetting your phone was tucked into your pocket or your toddler is going through a lets-toss-everything-into-the-toilet stage, your iPhone had a mishap with some water and you are (understandably) panicking.

water damaged iphone

While water is certainly bad for your iPhone, there’s still a chance that you can fix it — or at least retrieve some of the data.

Fixing a Water Damaged iPhone

The most important step to repairing a water-damaged iPhone is to avoid the temptation to turn it on. The phone needs to dry out before you can turn it on, or you’ll fry the circuitry inside. After your iPhone gets wet, turn it off and towel dry it.

The simplest way to dry out your iPhone is to put it inside a bag of uncooked rice since the rice helps to draw out moisture.

If you can, take the phone into an Apple store first and ask them to remove the back, battery, and SIM card — this will help speed up the drying process and prevent frying your data — or try disassembling the phone yourself if you have nothing left to lose.

Add a few cotton balls to the rice mixture, and when they are wet, you’ll know the rice has done its job of pulling the moisture out. The process usually takes two days.

How to Recover Data from a Water Damaged iPhone

Couldn’t dry your iPhone out and rescue it? While that’s a bummer, you may still be able to retrieve your data, like photos, text messages, contacts, voice memos, and other files.

First, try to recover data using a backup, if you’ve made one. Most iPhone users take advantage of the automatic iCloud backups — even if you set it up the first day you got your iPhone, you still may be able to recover recent data.

You can retrieve data from using your username and password, or if you get a new iPhone, during the set-up process you can choose the “Restore from an iCloud backup” option.

Log into to restore your iPhone data

A computer backup is another option for recovering your data — if you saved a backup in the first place. A computer backup is just as good as iCloud, but since it’s not automatic, it’s not the simplest way to back up your files.

Plugin your iPhone into the computer and follow the steps from Apple to restore your iPhone from the backup.

No Backup?

You may still be able to recover data, but it’s not going to be free. You can send your iPhone to a data recovery service (which will likely cost a few hundred dollars).

Or, you can try a third-party iPhone data recovery software that will run you less than a hundred dollars (and cost you nothing if it doesn’t work).

While I haven’t used one myself (frankly I’m surprised that with two kids under four the toilet fiasco at the beginning wasn’t from personal experience), many people recommend recovery software.

Final Words

When you do get that new iPhone set up, make sure you back up your iPhone regularly using either iCloud or your computer. A waterproof iPhone case isn’t a bad idea either.

A mishap with some H2O — or any other liquid — is pretty gut-wrenching, but not necessarily fatal. Depending on how long the iPhone spent in the water, you may be able to dry it out without any lasting damage.

If your iPhone did send its last text, you may still be able to recover the data from a backup or with a recovery program.

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  • Linda shadrick

    My iPhone got water damaged, I did not have back up, I need to retrieve my photos. Is it possible??


    my iphone was damaged by water , it did not come back on. i have to resend my iphone back to get it switched , however i have to remove that device from my icloud account i would like to know if i purchase a new iphone will my data come back after i have removed the old phone