It’s a heart-stopping moment.
You helplessly watch as your AirPods tumble into water, the scene unfolding in what feels like slow motion.
Whether they slip from your grasp or spill out of your ear, the sense of panic is nearly overwhelming, your heartbeat seemingly echoing the splash of impact.
It’s crucial to remain calm in this situation, although every second counts.
This guideline is meant to help you swiftly navigate through steps to rescue your submerged AirPods, and provide some best practices to safeguard them from water damage. Let’s dive into the smart solution.
The Clever Fix
If you dropped your AirPods in water, quickly dry them using a lint-free or microfiber cloth. Allow your AirPods to air dry for about 3 to 5 hours before testing if they’re working properly.
Dropped your AirPods in water? Here’s what to do
1. Remove your AirPods from the water
The sight of your AirPods sinking can certainly stun you into a temporary state of disbelief.
Don’t freeze! Time is of the essence – shake off the shock and snatch your AirPods out of the water.
The longer they remain submerged, the greater the risk of irreversible damage.
2. Use a lint-free or microfiber cloth
Once you’ve rescued your AirPods, promptly dry them using a lint-free or microfiber cloth.
Pay special attention to the speaker meshes and the microphone. Resist the urge to stash them back in their case immediately.
If the case happened to take a dip too, dry it with your microfiber cloth, then flip it upside down leaving the lid open.
From my experience, it’s best to allow your AirPods and case to air dry for 3-5 hours before testing. In cases of prolonged water exposure, it might be wise to let them dry overnight.
3. Use desiccant packets
Remember those small DO-NOT-EAT packets tucked in new shoeboxes, vitamin jars, or tech packaging? Those are desiccant packets, or silica gel packets, designed to absorb humidity and maintain dryness.
Assuming you haven’t discarded them, they can come in handy if your AirPods have taken a water tour.
Place your AirPods in a small container, surround them with the silica gel packets, and let them dry for a minimum of 3 hours.
A quick note of caution: using uncooked rice as a desiccant may result in tiny grains infiltrating your AirPods, doing more harm than good.
4. Use sound waves from the Siri Shortcut
You can also leverage a Siri Shortcut named Water Eject to dislodge residual water from your AirPods.
The Water Eject shortcut emits ultra-low, high-frequency sounds that cause your AirPods to vibrate and physically push out the water.
To install Water Eject, you need to allow Private Sharing:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap Shortcuts.
- Switch the Private Sharing toggle on.
You’re now ready to download and install the Water Eject shortcut using this link.
Once you’ve got the shortcut installed, here’s how you roll with it:
- Confirm that your AirPods are paired with your phone.
- Cover the proximity sensors on both AirPods.
- Open the Shortcuts app, then tap Water Eject.
- Keep at it until no more water is escaping from your AirPods.
Once you’ve taken all the water out, resist the urge to check if they’re good right away.
Let them air out for a couple of hours, the exact duration depends on their time spent underwater.
5. Consider using a dehumidifier (if you have one)
If you’re based in a humid region like I am, or if you often wrestle with high humidity at home, you might already have a dehumidifier.
I wouldn’t recommend rushing out to buy one just to rescue your AirPods, but it can prove a lifesaver for damp electronics if you’ve got one handy.
I’ve repeatedly rescued soaked devices with my dehumidifier, and suggest running it on max in a confined space, with your AirPods close to the vent or nearby.
This method provides a gentle and swifter drying process compared to simple air-drying.
Can I use a blow dryer to dry my AirPods quickly?
Nope. A quick heads up, using a blow dryer on your AirPods is a massive no-no.
I get it, you want to speed up the drying process, but trust me, blow-drying is not the way to go.
AirPods and direct heat are a dangerous combo. The hot rush from a blow dryer can potentially melt internal parts of your AirPods.
So instead of breathing new life into them, you could end up completely frying your AirPods with a blow dryer.
Aren’t my AirPods waterproof?
No, AirPods aren’t waterproof. AirPods are water and sweat-resistant only.
This means your AirPods are only built to handle minor splashes or significant sweat. They’re definitely not designed for a full-on dunk in water.
What if my AirPods get permanent water damage?
Did you attempt to use your AirPods after letting them dry? If they’re still not working, sadly, your next step is to replace them.
It’s a bummer, but AirPods are nearly impossible to repair. You can’t just take out the damaged parts and replace them with new ones, you’d need to score a whole new pair.
Buying a new set of AirPods doesn’t come cheap, though. So before you shell out, reach out to Apple Support to understand all your possible options.
Can Apple’s Limited Warranty cover my water-damaged AirPods?
Nope. Apple’s Limited Warranty doesn’t extend to water damage.
It only protects your AirPods against manufacturing defects for the first year.
However, you can tack on AppleCare+ for an additional $29, as long as it’s within 60 days from your AirPods purchase date.
Can AppleCare+ cover my water-damaged AirPods?
Yes, it does! The AppleCare+ warranty shields your AirPods against two instances of “accidental damage” every year.
If you accidentally dropped your AirPods in water, it counts as accidental damage. You’ll have to foot a service fee of $29, though, to have your AirPods repaired or replaced.
While not exactly a bargain, it’s significantly kinder to your wallet than springing for a new pair.
How to protect AirPods from water damage
1. Don’t use your AirPods near any source of water
About to freshen up? Take out your AirPods
Stepping into the restroom? Remove them.
Planning to swim? Keep them at bay.
And remember, don’t wear your AirPods while showering.
AirPods are only designed to be sweat and water-resistant. They can withstand some splashes, but anything more severe could lead to disaster.
2. Keep your AirPods in the case when not in use
Have you ever accidentally left your AirPods in your pocket and then almost thrown your pants in the wash?
If you haven’t, pat yourself on the back!
I’ve personally had a close shave with the washing machine. Luckily, I checked the pockets of my pants just before I tossed them in.
When you aren’t using your AirPods, it’s best to keep them safely in their case. It minimizes the risk of misplacing them and the chances of turning them into laundry.
3. Dry your AirPods after every use
Yes, AirPods can handle a good sweat.
We wear them to the gym, take them along for jogs and runs.
But leaving them sweaty or not drying them after a workout can allow dirt to stick to the sweat, which can then accumulate in the speaker meshes or proximity sensors. Over time, this dirt buildup could cause your AirPods to malfunction.
So, if you’re aiming for a long-term relationship with your AirPods, give them a good wipe down after each use. Always have a lint-free or microfiber cloth handy and make sure they’re dry before tucking them back into their case.
4. Buy a waterproof AirPods case
Another option to consider is purchasing a waterproof case for your AirPods.
Sure, it’s an extra expense, but a waterproof case not only adds a dash of style to your AirPods but also an extra layer of protection.
These cases also cushion your AirPods from falls and bumps.
Keep calm and act quickly.
If your AirPods take a tumble into water, retrieve them ASAP, wipe them off with a microfiber towel, and let them dry for around 5 hours or even overnight before giving them a test run.
Use desiccant packets to aid the drying process if you have them around, or utilize a Siri Shortcut to eject water.
Avoid using a blow dryer to dry your AirPods. The heat could compromise the internal components of your AirPods.
If, despite your best efforts, your AirPods end up water-damaged, contact Apple Support without delay.
Apple’s Limited Warranty does not cover accidental damage, but if you have AppleCare+, you’re covered for two incidents of accidental damage per year.