IPhones, swimming pools, and couscous do not mix.

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Depending on how long you’ve been reading my blog, you might already know that I’m a bit accident prone. For instance, there was The Great Bleach Bubble Disaster of 2007. And The Great Feather/Vacuum Cleaner Disaster of ’06. And the time I sprained two fingers folding laundry. And the time I stepped in gum, and managed to get it all over both pedals in my car.

Then there was the time I almost didn’t make it home from BEA, which wasn’t really my fault, but definitely qualifies as a disaster.

But yesterday, I topped all of those. Yesterday, I went swimming with my iPhone. Because I am an idiot.

How did this happen? I had my phone tucked into the waistband of my board shorts because:

  1. I’m rarely more than a room away from my phone.
  2. My swimsuit has no pockets.
  3. I don’t carry a purse.
  4. I am stupid.

I stepped into the pool intending to float for a while to try to relax and was already sternum deep before I remembered I still had my phone on me. I got out immediately, but it was too late. My eight-month-old iPhone4 had been completely submerged. It was dead.

I took my phone home and began an internet search for iPhone first aid, and the most common solution seemed to be burying the phone in a bowl of uncooked rice. Which my sister did when her son dropped his phone in the toilet. (Yuck!) Unfortunately, No. 1 had made stir-fry the night before, and we were all out of rice. So I used couscous.

Here is a picture of my phone, entombed in a Ziplock bag of uncooked couscous.

My poor phone. I’ve taken it out several times to check, but there’s still water behind the camera flash lens, and now there’s couscous in all my phone’s orifices. That must be the electronic equivalent of getting sand beneath your bikini, don’t you think?

As of this morning, my phone is still dead. The notes I took in bed two nights ago (about how to finish this new YA) are inaccessible. I hope that neither the pool water nor the couscous has ruined my sim card, because all my contacts and notes are…well, they’re important to me.

And before anyone asks, no, I’ve never backed up my phone, though I do have most of the pictures (because I tend to email them to myself) and all of the music, on iTunes. And no, I didn’t buy the Apple Care. Because I thought I would never be dumb enough to go swimming with my phone. Obviously, I underestimated my own capacity for stupidity.



  1. Katy

    August 10, 2012

    Well my cousin also dropped her Iphone in water once, but 1 week later it still work !!! Hoping it’ll be the same for your phone (^_^;)

  2. Renae

    August 10, 2012

    I had droppted my old iPhone into the toilet and was unable to turn it in for the model 4. And last night my husband and I were at the local bar when he gracefully spilt his drink on me and my iPhone 4S. His drink was a sticky Windsor and 7. The 7 making me sticky from the chest to the knees. I quickly took the cover off and kept pushing the button so nothing would stick and it is good this morning; so crisis averted. I vehemently told him if he damaged my iPhone I would have to kill him. I live, sleep and breathe my iPhone. I am obsessed.

  3. Aileen

    August 10, 2012

    It takes a few days when using the rice, if I remember right. But I sped things up by using my blow dryer on low for short spurts, to keep from overheating. Does couscous have a shell? I imagine white rice works because there’s no barrier to keep the rice from absorbing. It’s worth a jaunt to the grocery store to try, before replacing the phone!

  4. Marissa

    August 11, 2012

    OMG That sucks! My daughter dropped my last cell into a big cup of soda. That stickiness there is no coming back from. lol But, hopefully yours will at least dry out enough that you can retrieve your important info.
    However, if your SIM card is still okay, but the phone isn’t, I have heard you should be able to bring it into whoever your provider is and can transfer your contacts and whatever is stored on your current SIM card to a new SIM card for you.
    Fingers crossed for a dry recovery! :)

  5. Tiffany

    August 11, 2012

    That sucks !! I can’t live without my phone, it’s a sad thing to say but it’s true. I was in a rush one day and put my boyfriends phone through the washing machine (I still say it’s mostly his fault for not checking his pockets). Once i figured out what I had done I tried rice and it did not work but I read on the internet that putting the phone in the freezer will get rid of the water so I tried it and it actually worked, the phone worked like normal after it thawed :). If the couscous does not work it’s worth a try.
    Good luck!!!

  6. Rh3a

    August 11, 2012

    I washed my 9-year-old son’s old Nokia in the laundry machine but it started working once it dried up.
    You shouldn’t have left your phone with the battery in. Remove the back cover and the battery and let it dry completely (it’s easier than with the 1st Gen iPhones).
    You usually sync with iTunes, right? Doesn’t it automatically back up all the data?
    Good luck.

  7. Kat

    August 11, 2012

    I will now know To keep my IPhone away from water, although it wonders me how people get their phone wet? I’ve had problems with my blackberry not able to use email because it wouldn’t send or receive and I write a million of notes at night so I was frustrated so I ended up messaging me on FB. It was hard to keep that up! So I learn iPhone were very reliable and I got my first iPhone but a few months later . . . I wished I had gotten the suri iPhone :/
    Rachel, I hope for the best of your iPhone maybe ask your carrier to see if you can get everything backup.

  8. Jess (The Cozy Reader)

    August 11, 2012

    I saw your Facebook post last night and cringed for you. I had the original iPhone and remember how hooked I was to it. I don’t use it any more and haven’t upgraded to the new version yet. I’m just using a cheap Android smartphone on the AT&T GoPhone plan.

    Wishing you the best. Nothing more fun than waiting.

  9. Matching Socks (LeNore)

    August 11, 2012

    Sorry! It does take days for the rice to work. Also, Evernote. Most amazing app on the planet. Free. Make an account on your computer first then download the app. I’m not an author but I have like 100 different notes saved in 10 different notebooks in evernote (where I can also take and store pictures to specific notebooks, and audio recordings, and webisite links), which I can access from any computer, anywhere there is internet. Losing the notes really is a tragedy. If we could remember those things we wouldn’t make notes, would we. May the sim card live!!!

  10. trish

    August 11, 2012

    My 2 yr old grandson threw my I lune into the tub full of water last night. Its been sitting in a bowl of dried rice overnight. I feel your pain! I’m planning on buying a refurbished 4 s- hopefully you will get s new one soon!

  11. Jo

    August 11, 2012

    Oh Rachel! Sounds a lot like something I would do. I was an idiot once and was texting while eating my dinner (I know, really bad, but I wasn’t eating with anyone)… and I dropped my phone into my mash. My charger socket got full of mashed potatoes. Luckily, I managed to get it all out and it still charged, but I was worried, lol.

    Hope your sim card is fine!

  12. Viki S.

    August 11, 2012

    Rice has been the only saving grace for my youngest son 3 times now. I swear the kid should just buy the water proof case.

  13. Amira

    August 11, 2012

    Ahhh its always a tragedy when a phone breaks especially when you use it 24/7……..one i had my new nokia touchscreen and put it in my back pocket….worst thing to do hahaha i dropping down the toilet and tries to save it but my foolish dad told me to leave it and it died……i only had it for 3/4 weeks *sob* (.>_____<.) T_T and the moral of course is never to put anything of value in you're back pocket XD but good luck hopefully it will survive its battle wounds :P

  14. Meag

    August 11, 2012

    Rice only works about half the time, I’d know my cousin’s phone has ended up in: the tub, sink, toilet, creek, pool, and it went through the washer. That was one boy within the course of about…a year, and that’s not including non-water related incidents.

  15. Nyx

    August 11, 2012

    It’s been a while since I’ve gotten a new iOS device, but I THINK backing up to iCloud is automatic when the device has been plugged in and iTunes turned on at the same time. There might even be a good chance that it’s been backing up in the background all this time and you didn’t know it. I’d suggest trying to reach someone at Apple to see if there’s a way to see if there are backups of your phone on your account (assuming you have one).

  16. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    August 12, 2012

    That really sucks. I hope that you are able to get it working to retrieve your important things. Or at the very least hope that your SIM card is okay. (That’s assuming the important stuff is saved to it.) I am clumsy too. I dropped my phone in a lake once and it never worked after even soaked in rice for a week. :(

  17. Mag @ Geek Chic

    August 12, 2012

    My brother got accidentally pushed into a pool with his iPhone once. When he took it apart (out of its otterbox, at least) and let it air out, it ended up okay. Hope yours does, or if not, you get your files!!

  18. Jen @ Midnight Book Thief

    August 12, 2012

    Ouch. I think its the notes you lost that sucks the most…. Hopefully you recover them! And your poor iPhone… Maybe next time. you should avoid swimming at all costs. And backup your iPhone every single day! :P

  19. abi

    August 12, 2012

    Please don’t get me wrong… but reading your complete post it made me laugh non-stop!!! :D you sounded like a just-above-18yrs-old-teen…. (some1 lyk me ;) )…. to tell you the truth I have never done something like what you did…. but i used to (and still am…) keep alarms in my phone and when it rings, I throw it somewhere… just for it to shut its mouth… ppl here used to make so much fun of me… :P but you know….. i can’t help it, I thow it coz…. well am toooo sleepy when am asleep…. ;) but I hope your i-phone gets better….!!! :)

  20. abi

    August 12, 2012

    btw, did I tell you that your website is so good and more nice than wordpress…. coz you know, I should always sign-in to post any of my comment there…. i know its improper to comment this in your totally different post…just you know…couldn’t help it…:/ but just a small request…. can you make the time to be displayed while I comment???? because that is the only way through which I am able to calculate (or more like remember) our time difference…. :)

  21. Tasnim

    August 13, 2012

    Oh no! Well here in the UK, Apple provide really good customer service! All you have to do is take your phone in to an Apple store and they replace it for you if they can’t fix it on the spot. Butttt as yours is accidental damage, there might be a small charge =/ Hope this helps!

  22. Jennifer Messerschmidt @ Some Like It Paranormal

    August 13, 2012

    That happens to everyone. Don’t feel bad. I keep my phone in my bra and I got in the hot tub and ruined it. Then I had the phone in the pocket of my jean skirt, threw it into the washer machine without realizing it! Also my friend jumped into the pool with her phone in her pocket too. I tried drying it out and putting it in cat litter and all those internet tricks but it was dead.

  23. Nic

    August 13, 2012

    !st of all… That sucks about your phone!
    2nd of all… You have rice with stir-fry? I have noodles myself :P

  24. Isabel

    August 13, 2012

    Aw, poor you. I once dumped water all over my IPhone and brand-spanking-new laptop… My laptop hasn’t worked since. My phone works though! :D

  25. LIf

    August 15, 2012

    i think your notes might be synced to your email account. i lost my ipod before and i was seriously seriously over the moon when i found out my notes were synced to my gmail account

  26. Jocelynn Drake

    August 17, 2012

    *shakes head* Sorry to hear about your poor phone. The story only reminds me how much I miss hanging out with you.

  27. Henrik

    August 19, 2012

    If you get a new iphone signup for icloud and let everything backup to it.You dont need to connect the phone to the computer for it to work it does it automaticly… so you wont loose everything if you go swiming with the phone again ;)

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Rachel Vincent
I am a writer and a fantasy/ horror fan. I am married to my No 1. fan, mother to two brilliant teens/tweens (code names: Melody & Maestro), and slave to two spoiled cats (Nyx & Cleo). Welcome to my blog!Rachel Vincent



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