What to do if your iPhone 7 gets wet

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are water resistant, but what should you do if your new iPhone accidentally goes for a swim?

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops, desktops, all-in-one PCs, streaming devices, streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
3 min read
iPhone 7 in a pool
James Martin/CNET
Watch this: Did the iPhone 7 survive our water test?

With Apple trumpeting its new iPhones as being "splash and water resistant," you'll understandably be tempted to take your new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus on more adventures, from rainy-day hikes and long walks on the beach to fishing trips and whitewater rafting. Having your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus on your person during such activities will create great photo opps (while upping your selfie game), but it also increases the odds that your new iPhone will come into contact with water.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus both received an IP67 rating, which means the phones can survive being dropped in water up to 1 meter in depth for 30 minutes. It also means they are completely dust resistant to survive Burning Man and other dry, dusty environments.

Despite the IP67 rating for both new models, Apple makes clear that "liquid damage is not covered under warranty" and lists a number of forbidden pursuits for you and your new iPhone 7 or 7 Plus.

Activities to avoid

Apple does not recommend you swim or bathe with the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus or otherwise intentionally submerge it. Other activities Apple suggests you avoid with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are:

  • Showering
  • Water skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Surfing
  • Jet skiing

The above activities expose your iPhone to pressurized water or soapy, salty or chlorinated water. Dropping your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus into fresh water is one thing; exposing it to detergents, salt and chemicals is another.

Apple didn't add water resistance to the new iPhone so that you can swim laps with it or use it to start an underwater photography business. The added water resistance is meant to help the iPhone survive an accidental drop in shallow water. (Or it's just something Apple added to soothe angry customers bemoaning the missing headphone jack. Because who doesn't want a toilet-proof iPhone, even if it means we now need to buy a pair of Bluetooth speakers or use a damn dongle?)

James Martin/CNET

How to dry a wet iPhone

Since liquid damage isn't covered by the warranty, it's important to know what to do if you drop your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus in the toilet or another body of water.

Step 1: Remove your iPhone from the water, unplug any cables or dongles, and wipe it off with a cloth. Apple suggests a soft, lint-free cloth. But if the thing is dust resistant, it has to be lint resistant so I suggest grabbing the nearest towel if your collection of soft, lint-free clothes isn't handy.

Step 2: Remove water from the Lightning connector by tapping the phone gently against your hand with the Lightning connector facing down.

Step 3: Let it air dry. Place the iPhone in a dry spot with some airflow -- near an open window, perhaps. Better yet, put it in front of a fan so that cool air is blowing directly into the Lightning connector. A fan is okay to aid the drying process but do not use a can of compressed air or an external heat source. Apple also recommends against using a cotton swab or paper towel or inserting any foreign object into the Lightning connector.

Step 4: Wait at least 5 hours before attempting to charge it. Apple says to wait at least 5 hours before plugging anything into the Lightning connector. Apple also suggests waiting until the phone is completely dry before opening the SIM tray.

For more, read our full reviews of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. And get everything you need to know about iOS 10.