Dropped your iPhone in water? Spilt a hot mug of tea over your phone? Don’t despair this is more common than you think and happens to most of us at least once in our lifetime. The key thing to do is act calmly and quickly. Dropping your iPhone in water and other liquids is almost as common as a broken iPhone screen. Don’t worry there is action you can take, so read on to find out the next immediate steps in dealing with an iPhone that has been exposed to water, drinks or other liquids.
Most common water and liquid damaged iPhone scenarios
At iFixed we repair as many water damaged iPhones as smashed screens and have heard every scenario or incident that leads to water or liquid damage. Amusing examples range from kid’s dropping your iPhone in their potty or paddling pool to your iPhone’s tragic immersion in the swimming pool after too many cocktails on holiday. There are however, many “day to day” ways that we all damage our phones through liquid ingression and here are just a few of them.
Dropping your iPhone in the toilet
This may sound humorous but it is more common that you think. You could have a tendency to put your phone in your back pocket and when visiting the little boys and girls room, the unavoidable “splash” can occur as the phone lands in the bottom of the loo! Good luck in fishing it out! Remember to put your phone elsewhere when visiting the loo!
Dropping your iPhone in the bath or in water
You could be surprised that a large number of us take our iPhones into the bath to read our favourite blog or book. Bad idea as there is loads of incidents of dropping your iPhone in the bath. Also commonly reported; your darling child thinks it is hilarious to drop your iPhone in water of some description. It’s simple, keep your iPhone out of the bathroom and away from sinks and bathtubs, or the inevitable is bound to happen.
Spilling drinks or water over your iPhone
At iFixed we estimate that nearly 50% of water and liquid damaged iPhones are the result of immersion in your favourite Starbucks Cafe Latte or Costa Cappuccino or a “small” Gin and Tonic knocked all over your poor iPhone on a night out. Hot mugs of coffee to glasses of wine are common scenarios witnessed by our team and the remnants of the drink are often still very evident inside your iPhone when we take a look inside. No secrets!
Dropping your iPhone
This may sound strange, but believe it or not, if you have smashed your screen or dropped your iPhone, there is a far higher chance of subsequent water ingression or damage after this occurs. It’s not rocket science but a crack of any description on your iPhone can lead to liquid seeping in to the phone and thus it is worthwhile getting it repaired straight away before water gets into your phone. Put it this way if you smashed your car windscreen or window at home; you would know that you wouldn’t be fully prepared for the inclement weather conditions; it’s the same with our trusty phones. It’s important therefore that you get the screen repaired if it is cracked.
Leaving iPhones in the bathroom whilst showering
Guilty pleasure time! We all love to sing to our favourite tunes in the shower, but this can be hazardous to our iPhones. The steam from the shower condenses against the cold interior of the iPhone and the moisture / water then seeps into the buttons, headphone jacks, power ports and glass edges. So try and keep your iPhone out of the shower or bathroom or you will be a victim of moisture damage. You’ll just have to memorise your favourite track!
Immediate steps if your iPhone has been exposed to water / steam / moisture?
These are some immediate steps that you can take if your iPhone has come into contact with water. These are quick steps that you should take yourself whilst you book your iPhone in for repair with a specialist mobile phone repair technician. The key thing is to get your iPhone across to a company like iFixed who deal with iPhone water damage repair quickly. We will be able to open the iPhone up to dry every component inside the iPhone.
- It may sound obvious but immediately remove the iPhone from any water it has been immersed in.
- DO NOT TURN ON & DO NOT CHARGE. This is critical. Any attempt to switch your iPhone on before it is completely dried out can increase the damage or worse completely short circuit the phone so it is beyond repair. If your iPhone is already plugged in, turn the charger off at the wall immediately and remove the charger very carefully.
- If you are using a protective case on your phone remove this.
- Dry your iPhone with a towel thoroughly to prevent any further water ingression.
- Silica gel is a drying agent that you can often find in the boxes of new products. If you have any boxes lying around look for the Silica gel packs inside. If you have any of these little sachets then place your iPhone in a box with the sachets and the Silica will help to absorb some of the moisture from the iPhone
- The most important thing to do is immediately get in touch with a mobile phone repair technician that specialises in the field of water damage. Make sure you do not turn your phone on or use it. Send it off for repair as soon as possible. Our team at iFixed can help you with this and fix water damaged iPhones, you can book a repair at iFixed
Steps that shouldn’t be taken if your iPhone has come in contact with water
- As stated, make sure you do not turn the phone or charge it. Any attempt to switch your iPhone on before it is completely dried out can increase the damage. Under no circumstances turn the phone on or plug the phone into charge. Turning the iPhone on can create an electrical surge throughout the iPhone and cause it to short circuit and potentially render your iPhone useless.
- Do not dry with any electrical items such as hair dryers. Drying tools, electric ovens or hot air guns are also a no no!
- Do not attempt to dry your phone in a microwave – it’s not a ready meal!
- Do not trust everything you read on the internet. There are many myths available for drying out phones that can cause further damage and even break the phone beyond repair.
Placing your iPhone in rice to dry it out is an Urban Myth!
Believe it or not it is widely believed that placing your iPhone in rice can help to dry the iPhone out. I’m sorry to tell you that Uncle Benn can’t help you here! This is a common urban myth. We advise that you do NOT put your iPhone in rice to dry it!
Placing the iPhone in loose rice can cause small particles of the rice to get into the small gaps of the iPhone. The rice will soak up the water and expand to almost 4 x the size. This will distort the inner workings of your phone and could potentially cause more damage. A build up of starch from the rice wherever the moisture is within the iPhone can occur causing more corrosive damage to the main iPhone board.
With any water damaged iPhone, it is key that you act quickly and get it to a trustworthy mobile phone repair technician as soon as possible, so they can look to dry it out professionally.
How can I tell if my iPhone is water damaged?
Any iPhone model built after 2006 have built-in Liquid Contact Indicators. These indicators will show if the device has been exposed to water or another liquid. On some models, you can tell if the LCI has activated by looking down the headphone socket, sim card reader and power docks where there are moisture triggers and the sensors will turn to red if they have been activated by water.
The normal colour of the iPhone indicator is white or silver, but when your iPhone comes into contact with water or a liquid it turns red. Those boys at Apple have certainly been clever with this as the indicator will not be triggered by a sudden change in temperature.
The table provided by Apple is a simple way of working out if your LCI has been indicated. Don’t worry if you are struggling to see this you can put the iPhone near to light and it will usually show up.
Take a look at Apple’s table, which shows where the LCI is on your phone.
What problems can occur if my iPhone is water damaged?
With iPhones being so technologically advanced these days, when water gets into these little guys there are so many different components that can be damaged. The problems caused can be extensive:
- LCD (Screen) fault. This can lead to watermarking on your screen which can cause distortion. You can also get faulty imagery such as distorted colouring and blurring of your screen and images.
- Digitiser failure. This can mean that the iPhone may not even recognise the touch of your finger at all or only certain parts of the screen will work. You may find that pressing one thing will start another function.
- Home button failure. Your button may fail to work completely making you unable to use this button to close your apps or get back to your home screen.
- Power button failure. You may not be able to turn you iPhone on or off.
- Volume button failure. Your volume buttons may cease to work, or they may malfunction and cause volume variation to occur without touch.
- Mute button failure. This is where you will not be able to put your phone into silent mode.
- Power dock corrosion and damaged pins. When water gets into your charger dock, it can corrode some of the components and stop your iPhone from being able to charge.
- Short Circuit. This can cause a complete failure of your iPhone.
- Battery Failure. The iPhone battery has its own processor at the bottom which can be damaged permanently from the water which will cause the battery to be unable to hold charge or even take charge.
- IC power flow. These components manage the flow of power from within the phone.
- Main board component damage. These components are essentially the working brain of your iPhone. If the main board components corrode or parts fall off then this renders your iPhone useless
- Camera damage. Water can penetrate the camera and cause blurring, or it can corrode components and cause faults with focus or cause the camera to cease working completely.
- Wifi chip damage. Damage to this means your phone will lose capability of finding wifi and connecting to it.
Ultimately water damage can affect more than one of your iPhones components which if left unattended to for too long can cause the phone to be rendered totally nonoperational.
What repair options are available?
The most important thing to understand with liquid ingression is that the iPhone needs to be opened by a specialist mobile phone repair technician to dry each and every area out thoroughly and check that there isn’t any part left with corrosion.
If there is one small component in the iPhone that is left with evidence of water damage the phone parts can potentially expand and continue to corrode over time.
There are some off the shelf solutions that can be purchased to aid the drying out process after your iPhone has been exposed to liquid, but these often only work if you immediately have them to hand to use on your iPhone. More often than not you will have to purchase these on line, wait for them to arrive and then treat your iPhone. The days of delay and resulting corrosion and damage can lead to permanent failure. Our recommendation always is the get your phone immediately to a specialist repair technician, but to be factual it is important to run through the options with you as below:
- Liquid based repair kit solution
One “off the shelf” option available is to buy a solution based repair kit that can be purchased online. These kits work by placing your iPhone into the bag provided and pouring in the solution, following the instructions. After the solution has got to work on the inside of the phone, then you leave the phone to dry in the drying tray for 24 hours. It is important to be clear that companies that offer these repair kits suggest that the solution will not be guaranteed to work across all phones; and they also offer a postal repair solution, which would indicate that there are circumstances when the solutions are not the correct approach for repairing all cases of water damage.
The liquid solution you place your iPhone in is said to react with minerals and deposits within the phone thus potentially preventing any further corrosion that may be evident in the phone. The corrosion occurs because the minerals and pollutants within the spillage stick to and build up around the phone components.
This is not an option that iFixed would recommend for modern smartphones such as iPhones. Exposure to the liquid solution could create further damage and it is not going to be as good as properly taking the phone apart and conducting thorough internal cleaning to ensure all evidence of corrosion is removed. Also waiting for the kit to arrive and taking the chance that it will work is potentially risky and can cause further delayed damage to your iPhone.
- Silica based drying kit
Another over the counter option for water damage in your iPhone is Silica based drying kits. The kits offer no guarantee of success. They work by removing moisture from the phone. They ask the consumer to open the device and take out the battery and Sim card. This might be possible for older models of phones but is not an option for the consumer with a newer model phone such as an iPhone.
The user is then encouraged to put the phone in a bag with the drying agent to evacuate the moisture, making sure the bag is completely sealed. These kits claim then to draw out the moisture in the device. As the humidity in the bag increases it causes the moisture indicator to change colour. When the indicator turns blue it should be safe to replace your battery. The company offer another disclaimer that if damage has already been done this cannot be simply fixed via this approach.
iFixed agree with this word of warning. These kits are only potentially effective if you have them lying around ready to use; and let’s face it none of us would and we do not suggest that you attempt to remove the battery and sim yourself in an iPhone, especially when it is wet. These kits may work on older models of phone, where you can take out your battery and sim, but are not really an option for modern smartphones such as iPhones.
In essence, as stated above, whilst you are waiting for your water damaged iPhone to be repaired by a mobile phone repair technician, you can pack your phone with Silica packs and this might help but generally this is not enough in itself to completely fix your phone as it cannot remove all the moisture from inside the phone or cure the corrosion. The only real way to effectively fix your water damaged iPhone is for a professional repair technician to take the device apart and properly dry it out and clean it up to address the corrosion.
- Contact a professional mobile phone repair technician
When your iPhone is water damaged the inside of the phone can expand and components can swell and touch each other. The only really successful way of ensuring that all water is removed and that all corrosion is cleaned away is to open up the phone and test all components.
The most reliable option is to send your phone away to a professional mobile phone repair technician to be cleaned, analysed and tested. Here, your iPhone will be opened up, professionally dried with the correct equipment and all corrosion and harmful minerals will be cleaned from the board as best as physically possible by a special chemical clean process from all the inner components of the phone.
Your iPhone will also be tested to see how responsive the different components of your iPhone are and to see how successful the chemical cleaning process has been. This testing allows us to see what parts of the iPhone needs to be replaced/repaired.
iFixed can repair water damaged iPhones. The company have fully trained and certificated technicians that will thoroughly go through your iPhone to dry it completely as well as only using top quality parts when completing a repair.
Life expectancy of your iPhone after Water Damage
The life expectancy of your iPhone after suffering water / liquid damage, depends on two key critical factors:
a.) The type liquid it has been submerged in;
b.) The length of time the iPhone was submerged in the liquid.
As you can expect the prognosis of your iPhone after a night out submerged in a beer or two for a prolonged period of time is not great, just like your head! Acting quickly and smartly is key.
Until an assessment has been completed by iFixed life expectancy cannot be given. Water damage can cause corrosion even after it has been thoroughly dried and repaired. No water damage repair will come with a guarantee of life expectancy.
With iFixed they would advise that 8/10 phones can be repaired after water immersion has occurred.
What would a repair technician usually advise if my phone cannot be repaired?
Sadly 20% of iPhones that have come into contact with liquid will fail, however this doesn’t mean that everything is lost!
If iFixed determines that your iPhone is not recoverable you have the option of trading in your mobile phone. One such site that will buy non-functioning iPhones is SellMyMobile.com. This company is the UK’s largest mobile phone comparison site for trading in working and non working mobile phones; and guarantees that the user will always get the best price for their old mobile.
If you have a Water Damaged iPhone and would like to see how much you would gain from trading in your mobile please visit the SellMyMobile website – www.SellMyMobile.com
Water Damaged iPhones need to be quickly and professionally dealt with. The sooner you identify a mobile phone repair technician that has specialism in treating water, coffee, wine and beer damaged iPhones the better
iFixed the UK’s largest, nationwide service for mobile phone repairs, operate a mail-in service where you can securely mail your phone in and our specialist technicians will review the iPhone, dry it out and do our very best to restore your iPhone to working order.