What just happened? The old tale of putting a phone in a bag of rice if it gets soaked has been around as long as mobiles themselves. But it's long been pointed out that this method isn't actually a good idea. Now, Apple has warned people not to do it, offering a better solution for iPhones showing liquid-detection alerts.

A recent Apple support post has warned users not to revert to the old-fashioned rice method if liquid makes its way into their iPhones.

"Don't put your iPhone in a bag of rice. Doing so could allow small particles of rice to damage your iPhone," the company says in the post, first spotted by Macworld.

The origins of this home remedy are believed to go back as far as 1946, writes The Verge, when it was used as a way of keeping exposed camera film dry. The rice method became popular following the proliferation of mobile phones in the 1990s: this writer remembers trying it with a Nokia late in that decade - it didn't work.

Despite its popularity, tests have shown that using uncooked rice to absorb water from phones isn't particularly effective, with household items like cat litter, couscous, oatmeal, and instant rice proving more absorbent. Air drying is the best option, and it won't cause any damage.

Apple says the best way to dry an iPhone (or any phone) is to gently tap it against your hand with the connector facing down to remove excess liquid. You should then leave the device in a dry area with some airflow. If the liquid detection alert is still present after 30 minutes, keep the phone in the dry area for up to a day.

Apple advises against other traditional phone-drying methods, such as compressed air or external heat sources like hairdryers. The company also warns users not to insert cotton swabs, paper towels, or other foreign objects into the connector.

Modern phones are water-resistant, of course: the iPhone 15 Pro Max has an IP68 water and dust resistance rating and can survive depths of up to 20 feet for 30 minutes. Water ingress can still happen, just remember that rice is better used for eating than absorbing.