8 Steps to Fix Your Water Damaged iPhone

by Ricardo Gonzalez May 26, 2017

8 Steps to Fix Your Water Damaged iPhone

Dropped your iPhone in the water?
Now what?

Don't stick your phone in a bag of rice. The rice only removes about 14% of the water and leaves the water inside the phone untouched. 

Three steps to do immediately after your cell phone makes contact with any liquid or water (H20):

1st step

Shut off your iPhone

This will help prevent a short circuit and reduce further damage to the device. 

2nd Step

Don't plug in your charger

Water and electricity don't get along. Just imagine liking an exposed electric wire. Our body will probably not appreciate the electric current.  

3rd Step

Open the iPhone and clean

Opening the device and removing the excess water is crucial to its survival. If you have tools then open phone and remove the liquid yourself. You can also take it to a electronic and phone repair store

These three steps are a simplified version on what you should do if you accidentally got your iPhone liquid (water) damage. You should do these steps even if your device shows no signs of damage. Who knows, maybe your lucky and have no liquid damage or maybe your device will have a delayed reaction. My point here is to not wait. 

Rice or No Rice for a Water Damaged iPhone

First we need to address the elephant in the room. We've all heard the myth. Put your iPhone in a bag of rice for a couple of days and MAGIC! Your phone is working normally. I'm here to advice differently and debunked the myth. Don't get me wrong, studies have shown that rice absorbs about 14% of the water present outside the iPhone. Were this method fails is absorbing water inside the iPhone. The water inside the cell phone is what you should be concerned about, not the water in the exterior of the device.

About 80% of our customer that come in for water damage repair claim to have had no success after placing their cell phone in a bag of rice. After opening the phone, it is common to see water and corrosion still present inside these liquid damaged phones. Corrosion is the reason why we highly recommend turning off the phone and not plugging in your charger. Corrosion and short circuit is the leading cause of cell phone/iPhone malfunction. Even the slight amount of liquid inside the cell phone can cause a short circuit. Therefore it's important to avoid any interaction with electricity until the liquid is addressed.     

Now the biggest question we need to answer, what about the those individuals that had success with putting a cell phone in a bag of rice? The answer is simple, the device was spared from any internal damage. Smartphones nowadays all have some sort of water resistance. The most common iPhone 7/7 plus can resist a few seconds underwater before it starts becoming an issue and the new iPhone X series have an excellent IP67 rating, meaning the iPhone has water resistance up too one meter of water. 

Down below we listed two different list. The first one three steps you should immediately do after your iPhone or cell phone was exposed to liquid. The second are eight steps to clean of the liquid/water out of your cellphone.     

Leave a comment down below if you have any questions. Our staff is more than happy to assist you.

Eight steps that will increase the survival of your water damage iPhone or cell phone

Step 1: Take your device out of the liquid

Remove the cell phone from the liquid as soon as possible. This may take a few seconds to a few minutes. Depending on how sanitary the situation is and accessibility of getting the device out the liquid. The devices survival decreases the longer the device remains in the liquid.

Step 2: Turn Off Your Device

Immediately turn off your device and remove the battery if possible. Water and electricity just don't get along. Therefore cutting any electricity flow will increase the cell phones chances of surviving.  

Step 3: Don't plug in your charger

Just don't expose the device to any type of electricity. What we want to avoid in steps 2 and 3 is to prevent any type of short circuit and corrosion (which can be very expensive to repair).

Step 4: Rinse the device with fresh water (may not be applicable if the device was already dropped in fresh water)

Rinse the device with fresh water if the device is dropped in liquid including the following; sea water, salt water, lake water, any acidic liquids, urine, soda, water mixed with soap, beer and so forth.

Step 5: Open the device (this may be the last step)

You need to remove and properly clean any liquid inside the device.  If you want to attempt cleaning the device yourself then iFixit has step-by-step tutorial guides on opening devices. You can also purchase a startup opening kits from iFixit. I would advice against this method unless you already have the parts, equipment, and prior experience on opening electronic devices. Furthermore, different cell phones devices have different levels of difficulties and can be damaged even further if not careful. Continue with steps 6-8 if your considering opening your device. 

Instead, take it to a cell phone repair store.They have the proper tools necessary to open and sanitized the device properly. Furthermore, most repair stores have a "no fix, no charge" policy. Essentially risk free.

Google "cell phone repair store near me". That Google search should give you a list stores near your city. There is a lot of shady companies out there so read reviews about the company. A handful of great reviews means they can be trusted with your device. Call the business to ask what policies and warranties they have for water damage devices. Cell phone repair stores charge any where from $50-100 dollars to properly clean and remove liquid damage. This price usually doesn't include parts that need to be replaced. 

Step 6: Clean off the excess liquid with a paper towel. 

Once the device is opened remove all the liquid present inside the device. A fully dissembled cell phone may be required. Use a dry paper towel to clean off any visible liquid.  Disconnect any ribbons connected to the motherboard and check for corrosion. Dissemble the device if you encounter corrosion and begin the thorough cleaning. You may not be required to dissemble the cell phone if you encounter very minimal liquid damage.

Step 7: Do a thorough clean

Things you need include:
  1. Clean Toothbrush
  2. 99% Alcohol 
Remove any plates blocking portions of the motherboard. Some plates may be soldered onto the motherboard so it may be impossible to remove all of them. Do the best on the portion of the motherboard that is accessible. Put some alcohol in a small cup and occasionally dip the tooth brush. With the toothbrush gently scrub the portions of the motherboard that have visible corrosion or sticky liquid. Let it sit for five minutes and gently scrub the motherboard again. Rinse and repeat this process three more times. 

Step 8: Let it sit for a few hours

Once your done cleaning the device let it sit there for an hour. Reassemble the device and hopefully this worked for you. But don't panic just yet if your device isn't turning on. It could be possible that a part isn't functioning properly and needs to be replaced. This would be a great time to take your device to cell phone repair store. Ordering the parts online may take a few days and its hard to diagnose which part is malfunctioning. 
Again, leave a comment down below if you have any questions or concerns. 
Thank you for reading and I hope this content was useful. 

Ricardo Gonzalez
Ricardo Gonzalez