Can Apple fix water damage on iPhone?

Owning an iPhone comes with the risk of accidentally exposing it to water. Water damage is one of the most common issues iPhone users face. Getting your iPhone wet can cause serious problems, from physical damage to complete system failure. However, with Apple’s advancing water resistance technology and proper repair procedures, the impacts of water damage are less catastrophic than in the past.

Water damage to iPhones has become a less frequent occurrence over the years, based on data showing a decline in people searching for help with “iPhone water damage.”1 While accidental water exposure still happens, Apple’s innovations have made iPhones more water resistant. This means iPhones today are less prone to serious damage from minor splashes and spills.

When water damage does occur, there are steps you can take to fix an iPhone, either through Apple or third parties. With the right procedures, it is often possible to repair a water-damaged iPhone and recover soaked components. This guide covers everything you need to know, from the causes and effects of water damage to Apple’s repair policies and prevention tips.

Common Causes of Water Damage

There are several common ways an iPhone can suffer water damage. Some of the most frequent causes include:

  • Dropping the phone in the sink or toilet – This is one of the most common causes of water damage. With phones being used in bathrooms, it’s easy to accidentally drop them into water.
  • Using the phone in the rain – Using an iPhone in the rain, whether occasionally checking it or actually trying to use it, can allow moisture to seep into the device.
  • Spillages – Accidentally spilling a drink onto an iPhone is another frequent cause of water damage. Beverages like coffee, soda, and juice can quickly seep into the interior.

The iPhone is not fully waterproof, so exposure to any liquids can potentially allow moisture to get inside the phone. Just a small amount of water is enough to damage internal components and circuitry.

Physical Effects of Water Damage

Water can cause extensive physical damage to iPhones. When water seeps into an iPhone, it can cause corrosion of internal components like the logic board and connectors (1). This corrosion occurs due to minerals and contaminants in the water interacting with the metal components and can eventually lead to complete failure of affected parts.

Short circuits are another common physical effect of water damage. Water is conductive and can create shorts between components that are not meant to connect, resulting in malfunctions or sudden power loss. These shorts often initially manifest as glitchy behavior before eventually causing complete shutdown.

Water damage can also physically degrade screens and speakers. The liquid can seep into gaps and corrode connections to the screens and speakers. This can cause discoloration, flickering, dead spots, and permanent image retention on screens. For speakers, water damage can reduce sound quality, volume, or make them stop working entirely (2). These effects often start small but degrade further over time as corrosion advances.

Software Effects of Water Damage

Water damage can have a significant impact on the software and performance of an iPhone. When water seeps into the phone, it can short circuit electronic components and corrode connections on the logic board.

One of the most common software issues caused by water damage is glitchy performance and crashing apps. The sensitive electronic components in the iPhone can malfunction when exposed to moisture. This leads to lagging, freezing, random reboots, and apps force closing unexpectedly 1. The phone’s RAM and processors rely on smooth electrical connections, which are disrupted by corrosion and short circuits from water.

Water may also damage the phone’s operating system files and settings. Important software configurations can become corrupted. This leads to various performance issues and instability. The phone may struggle with basic functions like making calls, sending texts, and using the camera.

In severe cases, water damage can cause the operating system to crash entirely, putting the phone into a non-functioning state. Recovering crashed system software often requires advanced repair techniques.

Unfortunately, software issues due to water exposure may worsen over time without proper repair. As corrosion advances, more Performance instability and app crashing will occur. Acting quickly is important to mitigate permanent software malfunctions.

Apple’s Water Resistance Ratings

Apple uses the IP rating system to indicate water resistance capabilities for its iPhone and Apple Watch devices. The IP rating consists of two numbers – the first refers to protection against solid objects like dust, the second refers to water resistance.

Most recent iPhone models have an IP67 rating, meaning they are dust tight and can withstand immersion in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes [1]. This includes the iPhone XR, iPhone XS/XS Max, iPhone 11 series, iPhone 12 series, and iPhone 13 series.

Some higher-end iPhone models like the iPhone 14 Pro have an IP68 rating, indicating they can withstand immersion in up to 6 meters of water for 30 minutes [2]. However, Apple recommends not intentionally submerging any iPhone.

For Apple Watch, most models are rated for 50 meters of water resistance, meaning they can be used for shallow water activities like swimming. However, the Apple Watch Ultra has a 100 meter water resistance rating and can be used for scuba diving [1].

Apple’s Policy on Water Damage

According to Apple’s support page, water and liquid damage to iPhones and iPods is not covered under the one-year limited warranty or AppleCare+ (source). This means that if an iPhone or iPod experiences water or liquid damage, even if it is still within the warranty period, Apple will not repair or replace it for free.

For iPhones and iPods that are no longer under warranty, Apple charges out-of-warranty fees to repair liquid damage. The fees vary based on the model of iPhone or iPod. For an iPhone 11 Pro Max with water damage, Apple estimates the out-of-warranty repair fee to be $549 (source). For an iPhone 12 mini, the estimated repair cost is $399 (source). The fees cover the labor and parts to repair an iPhone or iPod affected by liquid.

In some cases of minor liquid damage, Apple may be able to successfully dry out and revive an iPhone or iPod without needing to replace any parts. However, if corrosion has occurred or components have been affected, parts will likely need to be swapped out. Apple’s out-of-warranty fees assume that component replacement will be needed.

Overall, Apple’s policy is clear that any water or liquid damage repair for iPhones and iPods out of warranty will come at a cost to the customer. AppleCare+ can help reduce repair costs, but does not cover liquid damage either.

Apple Repair Process

If your iPhone has water damage, you have a few options for getting it repaired through Apple. The most common is to schedule a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store. A Genius will examine your iPhone and run diagnostic tests to confirm if there is liquid damage. According to Apple’s policy, any water damage repairs are not covered by warranty and come with an out-of-warranty fee.

The cost for Apple to repair an iPhone with water damage starts at $299 for screen damage only, or $599 for extensive damage, according to Apple’s iPhone repair pricing. Turnaround time is generally 1-2 days if you go to the Genius Bar, but can take up to a week if you mail your iPhone directly to an Apple Repair Center. Appointments are required for the Genius Bar, so factor that into your timeline as well.

Keep in mind that Apple may determine your iPhone has sustained liquid damage that is beyond economical repair. In this case, they will offer you the option to recycle the device and purchase a replacement iPhone at full cost. You also have the option to decline their repair and have your damaged iPhone returned unrepaired.

Third Party Repair Options

In addition to Apple, there are many third party repair shops that can fix water damage on iPhones. Local repair shops are often a good option for iPhone water damage repairs.

According to Cell Phone Repair, third party repair technicians can often bring water damaged devices back to life by rescuing data and replacing any parts that are damaged. The parts used are often high quality replacements and the repairs typically come with warranties.

Repair costs at third party shops are usually cheaper than going through Apple. According to uBreakiFix, water damage repairs for iPhones start at $99. Local repair shops often charge comparable prices. This can be significantly less expensive than Apple’s out of warranty fees.

When choosing a third party repair shop, it’s a good idea to read online reviews and make sure the business has a solid reputation for quality work. Taking your iPhone to a reputable local repair technician can often save money compared to Apple repairs.

Preventing Water Damage

Water damage can be avoided by taking some preventative steps:

Use a waterproof case – Investing in a waterproof case from brands like Otterbox or Lifeproof can protect your iPhone from water damage in most situations.

Get insurance – Mobile phone insurance from your carrier or third party providers like SquareTrade can cover water damage repairs or replacement costs. Just make sure to read the fine print on coverage.

Keep away from water – Avoid taking your iPhone near sinks, baths, pools, beaches, boats etc. Accidental drops into water are a common cause of damage.

Use water resistant models – Opt for an iPhone model with strong water resistance like the iPhone 13 series which is IP68 rated.

Immediately dry if wet – If your iPhone gets splashed or wet, immediately dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth to absorb any moisture.


If your iPhone experiences water damage, unfortunately Apple and authorized service providers won’t fix it for free. However, there are a few repair options available from Apple and third parties. The best way to avoid expensive water damage is to prevent it in the first place. Be mindful of moisture around your iPhone, invest in a waterproof case if you’ll be around water, and avoid purposefully submerging your device in liquids.

To sum up, water damage is a common issue for iPhones that can cause both physical and software problems. While Apple’s newer iPhones have some water resistance, liquid exposure can still permanently damage an iPhone. Apple and Apple Authorized Service Providers do not cover water damage repairs under warranty. However, Apple and third parties can replace damaged parts or whole devices for a fee. To avoid headaches and costs down the line, protect your iPhone from moisture and accidental water exposure whenever possible.

The bottom line – be vigilant about keeping water away from your iPhone. But if water damage does occur, know there are repair options available to try and revive your device, even though they come with costs. With proper precautions, you can hopefully avoid water damage altogether and keep your iPhone working smoothly for years to come.