Apple's iPhone guidance puts an old internet myth to bed

iPhone 15 Pro Max in front of a blurred image of rice
Credit: Apple

iPhone 15 Pro Max in front of a blurred image of rice
Credit: Apple

The early internet was a great place for socialising, and it wasn't as negatively charged as it is in recent memory. However, rumours spread like wildfire even in the early days of the iPhone, and everyone regardless of their internet accessibility has heard of putting a water-logged iPhone into a bag of uncooked rice.

If you were busy using one of the best phone controllers while playing some iPhone games on the toilet (hey, we've all done it), and you accidentally dropped it into the forsaken depths below, your first thought may be to run to the kitchen and create a rice Lazarus Pit for your beloved phone. However, you may not want to do that after all.

As spotted by Macworld, the latest support guidance from Apple for a liquid detection notification on your iPhone suggests to not use rice to dry your phone. In fact, it states "Don’t put your iPhone in a bag of rice. Doing so could allow small particles of rice to damage your iPhone", meaning it will likely do more damage than good.

Instead, Apple suggests that you don't plug anything into the Lighting or USB-C port until your device is dry, and instead follow these steps below:

  1. Tap your iPhone gently against your hand with the connector facing down to remove excess liquid. Leave your iPhone in a dry area with some airflow.
  1. After at least 30 minutes, try charging with a Lightning or USB-C cable or connecting an accessory.
  2. If you see the alert again, there is still liquid in the connector or under the pins of your cable. Leave your iPhone in a dry area with some airflow for up to a day. You can try again to charge or connect an accessory throughout this period. It might take up to 24 hours to fully dry.
  3. If your phone has dried out but still isn't charging, unplug the cable from the adapter and unplug the adapter from the wall (if possible) and then connect them again.

Whether you're picking up a Samsung S24 or the upcoming and rumoured foldable iPhone, these rules ring true regardless of who created the guidance. Truthfully, researchers and other news sites have shared that rice doesn't help dry out your smartphones, but at least Apple is actively telling you not to do that, please.

Personally, I've been lucky enough to not drop my phone into water (at least, not yet), but I know plenty of people that have, causing them to panic and sprint to shops to grab rice in an attempt to save their electronics. While some people report that it works, it's more than likely the fact that turning it off and leaving it to dry on its own has saved it, and not the rice itself.

Aside from using uncooked rice, Apple also recommends you don't use an external heat source or compressed air to dry your device, and you shouldn't insert objects like cotton swabs into your iPhone either. Your best bet? Follow Apple's guidance above, and power it off as soon as possible, and leave it for a few hours. Use the drying time as an excuse to finally go outside for a nice walk, maybe.

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