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Myth busted: What experts say about using rice for wet devices

Apple's latest support document cautions against using rice to salvage waterlogged phones.
By

Published onFebruary 20, 2024

Phone with micro fiber 2
TL;DR
  • An Apple support page has surfaced, advising against putting your wet phone in rice.
  • Rice can trap moisture and damage your phone’s internals.
  • There are better methods to salvage electronics from water damage.

We’ve all been there: a beloved phone takes an unexpected dip in the pool, the sink, or even the dreaded toilet. In a moment of panic, we turn to the age-old “phone-in-rice” trick because that’s the best water damage prevention technique, right? Well, brace yourself for a splash of reality because that trusty method might be doing more harm than good.

Macworld has unearthed a 2024 support document from Apple that explicitly advises against the rice-drying method, cautioning that it could potentially worsen the damage to iPhones. The official support page states that “doing so could allow small particles of rice to damage your iPhone.” In fact, this revelation reinforces findings from previous research, which have debunked the efficacy of rice in drying out water-damaged phones.

Is rice good for your phone?

Surprisingly, there’s enough evidence available advising against the rice method, pointing out that it can trap moisture inside the phone and even introduce starch and dust particles that could further harm the device. Craig Beinecke, co-founder of TekDry, a company specializing in electronics drying, confirms this, stating in a study that “rice was slower to work than just leaving the phone out on the counter. And neither worked fast enough.” Beinecke’s research revealed that after 48 hours in rice, only 13% of the water was extracted from the phone. This contradicts the widespread belief that rice absorbs moisture, rescuing your phone’s delicate internals.

How to save a wet phone?

Even though the best phones come with an IP68 rating for dust and water protection, they’re still not waterproof. The most crucial thing to remember when your phone takes an unexpected dip is that electricity and water don’t mix, and even if your phone seems functional, it’s advisable to unplug and turn it off immediately. Let it air dry, or consider silica gel packets for quicker moisture absorption.

Investing in a waterproof phone pouch can be your first line of defense against water disasters. If the damage seems severe, professional drying services offered by companies like TekDry can potentially help. Just remember, rice isn’t your friend, a piece of advice I wish I’d taken when I was trying to lose weight.

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