Have you dropped your AirPods in water?
This can lead to panic, but stay calm! If there’s any damage, it’s already done. Here’s what you should do ASAP to try and save your AirPods.
Apple says that you should immediately dry your AirPods with a cloth to get rid of all the excess water. A microfiber cloth is recommended. Then leave your AirPods on the cloth, with the protective case if it also got wet, in a cool, dry place that’s well-ventilated. Allow at least two hours to dry.
Though AirPods are small and sensitive electronic devices, there’s a good chance that you could save them if you take immediate action after you drop them in water. Apple put a lot of effort into designing the AirPods, and though standard AirPods are not waterproof, the AirPods Pro are water-resistant. Submersion is never good, but let’s see what you can do to save your AirPods.
How Dangerous Is It To Get My AirPods Wet?
AirPods are designed to handle moisture. Apple made them to withstand sweat and a few drops of rain. This is not a reason for panic at all.
The scenario gets a little bleaker when you’re talking about full submersion. If they drop into the water and are submerged for more than a few seconds, there’s a genuine possibility that they could short circuit or suffer some other form of damage.
What To Do If Your AirPods Dropped In Water
Depending on how long your AirPods were submerged in water and the depth of submersion, there is still a chance that they may be saved if you take the following steps ASAP:
1. Dry Your AirPods With A Cloth
The first step is to dry off your AirPods with a cloth immediately. The fabric should remove all excess water, and you should try to soak it out of all the small corners and hidden areas.
Apple recommends using a microfiber cloth for this. Microfiber is very absorbent, allowing it to soak up any water droplets that touch the fabric quickly. A microfiber cloth is also thin, so it can reach all the areas that other materials might be too thick to reach.
Another reason for using microfiber is that the material won’t lose fibers so quickly, meaning that chances are slim for pieces of lint to get stuck in your AirPods. Significantly though, don’t push the cloth into any holes. Some sensitive electronics could get damaged if you do this.
If you don’t happen to have a microfiber cloth handy, most other fabrics will do in a pinch. Anything to remove the water from the surface of your AirPods before the liquid can find its way inside. A soft, lint-free cloth is ideal, though.
2. Let Your AirPods Dry Out Naturally
You can leave your AirPods open on top of the cloth and place them in a cool, dry, but drafty room. The airflow in the room will allow the moisture to evaporate naturally. As excess water drops come out of your AirPods, the cloth will quickly absorb the moisture and help your AirPods to dry out more quickly.
It’s crucial to leave your AirPods out for at least four hours before testing them to see if they’re still working. Ideally, you should leave them overnight to ensure that they dry out completely.
What If My AirPods’ Protective Case Dropped In Water?
The process for drying out the protective case is similar to that of the AirPods themselves. Simply follow these steps:
1. Remove Your AirPods From The Case
If your AirPods were still inside the case, remove them immediately. They charge when they’re inside the case, which could lead to short circuits and all kinds of damage if they are left inside with water. Remove them from the case and follow the steps above to dry them out completely. They may seem dry, but it’s always best to be safe.
2. Dry Your Case With A Cloth
Use a cloth to dry your case on the inside and outside. As with your AirPods themselves, you should try to soak up as much of the moisture as possible, preferably using a microfibre cloth, but just about any soft, lint-free cloth will do in a pinch.
Remember that you should never push the cloth into any of the tiny holes, and try not to touch any sensitive electronics. These areas should dry out naturally.
3. Let Your Case Dry Out Naturally
The chances are good that some water has already entered the case. This is never a good thing, and you can’t just open the case to dry it out.
You should put the AirPods case, with the lid open, upside-down on a cloth in a cool, dry, well-ventilated room. The airflow in the room will cause the water to dry, and excess water droplets will run down, out of the case, and be absorbed by the cloth.
It is best to leave your AirPods protective case like this for at least six hours, but preferably overnight, to let it dry out properly.
What You Should Never Do
There are a few things that you should never do that could cause even more damage and increases the chances of your AirPods becoming unusable.
1. Don’t Use Your AirPods Until They’re Completely Dry
Water and electronics are not friends. Introducing water to any electrical pathways could cause short circuits. The chemicals in water could also deteriorate the electronic circuits—the likelihood of this damage occurring increases if you actively use the electronics while they’re wet.
Don’t use your AirPods or their case until you are sure that they are completely dry. You may be tempted to test them. It’s been proven that the success rate is much higher if you leave them to dry properly before using or testing them.
2. Don’t Try To Speed Up The Drying Process
We are often tempted to try and speed up the drying process by using an external heat source, like hairdryers or radiators. Don’t do this! Heat is just as much an enemy of electronics as water is. Many of these heating devices also generate static electricity, which is even worse. Even leaving your AirPods to dry in direct sunlight is not a good idea.
Electronics are sensitive to so many things, especially the delicate electronics in small devices like AirPods. Handle them with care and respect.
3. Don’t Put Your AirPods In Rice
This is a well-known and controversial solution. There is a measure of logic to it since dry, uncooked rice grains tend to absorb the moisture around them.
There are two problems with this logic when it comes to AirPods and electronics in general:
- AirPods are sealed quite well. Yes, liquid can get inside, but it’s much harder for fluid to get out than to get in. Because of this, scientists have proven that rice works no better at getting rid of internal moisture than air. Air is, at the very least, just as effective.
- Rice grains can get into small holes and cause further damage. Even if the holes are too small for a whole grain of rice, small particles could make their way inside, leading to friction and other problems.
It’s never a good idea to put your AirPods or their case into rice to get rid of water. The results are no better and could actually be even worse.
4. Don’t Put Your AirPods In A Room That’s Too Hot Or Cold
When you’re leaving your AirPods to dry, it’s crucial that the room should be cool but not cold. Cold water moves and evaporates more slowly, meaning that it will take much longer for your AirPods to dry out.
A hot room is also not a good idea. Heat causes evaporation, which may seem like exactly what you need, but when water evaporates, it often leaves trace chemicals behind on the electronic circuitry. This is also not ideal.
A cool, dry, well-ventilated room will help the water drop out of your AirPods rather than evaporate too quickly, meaning a much higher chance of success.
What If It Was Another Liquid, Not Water?
If you dropped your AirPods into another liquid than water, the results of your attempts would vary. Common liquids include soda, various soaps, and cleaning chemicals.
If your AirPods or their protective case fell into any of these liquids, the first step is to do precisely the same thing as you would if it were water. Dry them off with a microfiber cloth, then leave them to dry. The problem is that all other liquids contain chemicals and substances that could eat through the seals, deteriorate electronic circuits, or cause stickiness inside or outside your AirPods.
Unfortunately, you can’t do much about these trace chemicals and substances once they’re inside your AirPods. On the outside, though, you can use a damp cloth to wipe them off. Note that the fabric should not be wet enough to cause water droplets to get into the devices.
Any electronic connectors can also be cleaned with a cotton bud and some electronics cleaner, a type of alcohol that’s been rated to clean electronics without damaging them. The speaker side of your AirPods can also be cleaned with a cotton bud and a little bit of alcohol, or you can get a special AirPods Cleaning Kit to help with this.
Dropping your AirPods in water does not have to be a death sentence. If you take quick action, there’s a really good chance that you will be able to save them, saving yourself a lot of money in the process. Don’t hesitate, though. Take the necessary steps immediately, and don’t be tempted to take shortcuts. Hopefully, your AirPods will be as good as new once the process is finished.