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How to get water out of AirPods without damaging them

If you work quickly, you might be able to save your AirPods.
By
February 12, 2024

Apple’s AirPods Pro and basic AirPods (3rd generation) are water-resistant. An IPX4 rating ensures they can withstand sweat and light sprays, but the catch here is that it doesn’t guarantee protection from submersion. Dropping your AirPods in a sink or a pool can trap water in them — but this doesn’t have to mean the end. Here’s how to save your favorite earbuds from water damage.

QUICK ANSWER

  • First, dry the outside of the buds with a soft, clean cloth.
  • Gently shake the buds to remove water.
  • Optionally, install the Water Eject Siri Shortcut on an iOS device to get more water out. Using this is risky, however, since your AirPods need to turn on.
  • Finally, cover your AirPods in a desiccant (water-absorbing substance) like silica gel packs for at least 24 hours.

JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

Step 1: Dry the outside of your AirPods

AirPods Pro 2nd generation water removal cloth hand drying
Lily Katz / Android Authority

If your AirPods end up soaked, dry the outside of them off as immediately and thoroughly as you can. The longer you wait, the higher the chance of damage.

Ideally, you’ll want to use an absorbent microfiber cloth. After you’ve gotten rid of surface water, turn the earbuds upside down and gently shake them to dislodge anything trapped in housing. If more water comes out, you’ll need to re-dry the outside of the AirPods.

Step 2: Get the water out of your AirPods’ interior

If you’re worried that shaking your AirPods won’t be enough, Apple’s Shortcuts app can be used to play a tone that may eject more water. This is risky, because it requires you to turn your AirPods on — if they’re still too damp inside, you may damage circuitry. Be sure you’ve shaken as much water out of the buds as possible before continuing. If you don’t want to take a risk, skip to step 3.

Once you’re ready, connect your AirPods to your iPhone or iPad and follow these steps to install the Water Eject Siri Shortcut:

  1. On your iOS device, open a web browser to the Shortcuts Gallery page for Water Eject.
  2. Tap Get Shortcut.
  3. Select Add Shortcut on the next page.
  4. In the iOS/iPadOS Shortcuts app, select Water Eject > Start and choose the preferred intensity.
  5. Repeat the eject process until water stops emerging from your AirPods.

When you’re done, disconnect your AirPods from your phone so they turn back off. Then, move on to the next step.

Step 3: Use silica gel packets to dry your AirPods

AirPods Pro 2nd generation water removal silica gel towel
Lily Katz / Android Authority

Back in the day when I dropped my LG Env3 in the sink, my brother immediately told me to dry it with rice. Well, there’s some truth to that: rice is a desiccant, something that readily absorbs water. While I was lucky then, I don’t recommend using rice anymore, since the starch can introduce new problems. Instead, use silica gel packets to absorb the remaining moisture in your AirPods. If necessary you might buy these packets, but you might also have some laying around from product packaging. Heck, my last pair of shoes came with gel packets in the box.

Use gel packets after completing steps 1 and 2. They aren’t meant to absorb the bulk of the water, just the remaining bits. Place your AirPods in a little container with a few gel packets completely surrounding the buds. Leave them alone for 24 hours. Cross your fingers. With a bit of luck and good timing, your AirPods should survive.


FAQs

While no model of AirPods can survive immersion or hard sprays, the AirPods Pro and basic AirPods (3rd gen) have IPX4 ratings, which means they can withstand sweat and light sprays. Their MagSafe cases are also water-resistant.

No, and please don’t. The heat from a hair dryer can damage both plastic and wiring. Similarly, don’t attempt to place your AirPods in an oven, toaster, or microwave to dry them out, or even on a radiator or heat vent.

After you’ve wiped them with cloth and shaken them, let them dry for 24 hours, preferably using silica gel packs.

Water damage isn’t covered an under their default one-year warranty. An AppleCare Plus subscription reduces the service fee for fixing water damage, but you’ll still have to pay something.

Yes, Apple sells replacement buds. Keep in mind that you’ll be subject to availability — while it might be easy to buy replacements for the AirPods Pro you got last month, sooner or later, it’s going to run out of 1st gen AirPods.