Plop! Went the iPhone

iPhone's Caution Message
iPhone's Caution Message

iPhone owners listen up. You may think it won’t happen to you but it will. Trust me. I’m very careful but when I tucked my dear iPhone into my skirt’s shallow pocket, I didn’t realize what would happen until I heard a “plop” before sitting on the porcelain thrown.

Yes. My iPhone fell in the toilet.

My iPhone3 was one of my most important pieces of travel gear. It captured photos, I could live Tweet during events, I could navigate along city streets (most of the time successfully), find restaurants and book dining reservations through OpenTable, find AAA discounts, and, well, you get the idea. Oh, and I texted and made phone calls, too.
My Four Mistakes Once I Fished My iPhone Out of the Toilet

What I did next is something you should NEVER do if heaven forbid, your iPhone (or any phone) falls in the drink: NEVER turn it on and use it. (Okay, I suppose the ultimate mistakes were letting it fall and fishing it out…)

I pulled it out quickly and dried it with paper towels. I was heading out to lunch so I ran home while calling my mom and asking her to call me to see if the phone worked. (Mistake #1!) I could call her however, when she called me my iPhone rang but I couldn’t hear her on the other end.

Dashing home, I tried to power up my computer to get in a backup while leaving my hairdryer on high heat to dry it out. Okay, that was probably mistake #2 – the high heat. From what I later read after conducting a Google search, use low heat.

I tried to backup everything but then a caution message popped on, stating, “iPhone needs to cool down before you can use it.” (See image above.)

Then it flashed something about it’s still able to make emergency calls – apparently the device forgot I speak English because several languages flashed intermittently.

Hmm. Too hot. I thought perhaps it was because of the hot air from the hairdryer so I did what every good cook does, I put the iPhone in the refrigerator. Perhaps that was mistake #3 because after it was in there for about 3 minutes, I realized it was probably building up with condensation.

Back out and I tried to back it up without success, my PC is slooooow and once it made the connection for the sync, the caution message popped up again. I needed to head back to work. I kept the phone plugged in while in the office and kept turning it on and off. (Mistake #4?)

Drying Tools - Knee-High Stocking, Dry Rice, Plastic Bag (Not the Salt)
Drying Tools - Knee-High Stocking, Dry Rice, Plastic Bag (Not the Salt)

Stopping off at Walmart, I picked up a bag of rice and pair of knee-high stockings. Once home, I turned it off and slipped the iPhone in a stocking, tied it up and placed it in a plastic bag with dry rice to wait it out. [Note: The rice is suppose to dry it out, recommended to stay in the bag between 2 and 7 days; or those silicon packets with your new shoes or purses should work. There was Facebook discussion as to whether the battery should have been removed before plunging into the rice. From what I researched, it takes surgeon-like hands (and really tiny tools) to get the iPhone battery out so I didn’t even attempt it.]

It eventually buzzed back on. It had been off but a text message came through, triggering it on. Excited, I thought all was well and tried to back it up again but the caution message came on.


Eventually, I was able to perform a backup before the battery died. Although it was plugged in and the charge message was there, it wasn’t charging. I now believe the interior was frying – which is probably what caused the caution message about it needing to cool down. (I haven’t been able to confirm that anywhere.)

I’m not sure why but maybe it was out of habit but when I went to bed, I placed my bag-o-rice and iPhone next to my bed. I patted it goodnight, hoping all would be well in the morning.

It wasn’t.

After 2.5 years, my poor little iPhone3 had died.


What’s a Girl to Do? Flush it Down the Toilet?
Upgrade to the iPhone4! Can ya say, sweet??? I’ve had it for little more than a day so I’m still in the “getting to know you” stage but can tell the video function is pretty slick and can’t wait to test it out. Maybe this weekend will provide interesting opportunities.

R.I.P. My iPhone3
R.I.P. My iPhone3

What to do if Your iPhone Falls in the Toilet
So again, if your iPhone gets wet, do NOT turn it on and use it. Turn it off, dry it on low heat with your hairdryer, slip it in a knee-high stocking then plunge into a bag of dry rice, and say a little prayer to St. Isidore of Seville (Patron Saint of the Internet, computer technicians, computer users, and computers – I’m sure iPhones fall under his powers. Oh, wait. Are we suppose to pray to Steve Jobs?).

Most important advice: keep your iPhone backed up.

Oh, and if you try this, don’t hold me accountable if it doesn’t work, I’m just sharing what I learned from my experience. Consult with a professional.



Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

4 thoughts on “Plop! Went the iPhone

  1. I dropped my digital SLR into Big Cypress Swamp earlier this year. I grabbed it and pulled it out immediately, but I knew damage was done.

    Fortunately I was with a group of professional photographers and they said “to the oven!” We put camera and lens in the oven on the lowest heat setting possible.

    I pulled the camera out after 20 min, and left the lens for 6 hours. The lens never recovered, but the camera – also fully dunked – was saved. Thank goodness. So drying in an oven, slowly, might work better than a hair dryer.

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