Can water damage cause bootloop?

What is bootloop?

Bootloop refers to when an Android phone gets caught in a continuous reboot cycle, restarting over and over without successfully booting up the operating system. When a phone is bootlooping, the screen will usually show the manufacturer logo or boot animation, before restarting again. This renders the phone unusable, as the user cannot access the home screen or any apps.

The main symptoms of a bootloop issue are:

  • The phone reboots repeatedly in a loop
  • The operating system fails to load
  • The boot animation or logo shows, but restarts before reaching the home screen
  • It is impossible to use any apps or features since the OS cannot start up

A bootloop makes the phone unusable until the underlying issue is fixed. It is often caused by a software defect or hardware failure. Troubleshooting is required to determine the cause and solution for a bootloop.

Common Causes of Bootloop

There are several potential causes for bootloop issues that can occur on smartphones and other mobile devices like tablets. Some of the most common causes of bootloop include:

Software bugs – Issues with the software, operating system or certain apps can sometimes cause bootloop. Software bugs may occur after an operating system update or installing a problematic app. They can cause conflicts that lead to an endless reboot loop.

Hardware failure – Problems with the physical components inside a device like the RAM, processor or motherboard can result in bootloop. For example, issues with the processor overheating could force the device to continuously restart.

Corrupted system files – Important system files storing data crucial for the device’s operation can become corrupted. This often occurs after a failed software update. It prevents the device from fully booting up into the operating system.

Failed OS updates – Failure during an operating system update is a common trigger for bootloop issues. If the update gets interrupted or doesn’t fully install, it can corrupt key system files causing repeated reboots.

Water Damage and Electronics

Water can cause severe damage to electronics in a couple key ways. First, water can cause short circuits in electronics. This is because water is conductive, so if water bridges connections between electronic components that are not meant to be connected, it can create shorts and damage components (Source 1). Short circuits from water damage can lead to malfunctions, sparks, fires, or complete failure of electronic devices.

Second, water can lead to corrosion of metal components and connections in electronics. Corrosion occurs when water reacts with metal leading to rust formation and degradation over time. Corroded connections and components will degrade performance and can ultimately cause complete failure (Source 2). Water-induced corrosion is difficult to reverse once started.

In summary, water’s ability to cause shorts and corrosion means that water damage can quickly destroy sensitive electronic devices. Even small amounts of water in the wrong place can render devices like phones and computers unusable.

Can Water Damage Cause Bootloop?

Water can indeed cause a phone to get stuck in a bootloop. When water, especially freshwater, gets inside a phone, it can cause short circuits and corrosion that damage electronic components and prevent the phone from powering on properly.

According to experts at XDA Developers forum, water damage can cause the power control IC cable inside a phone to malfunction. This cable is responsible for telling the phone when to power on or off. If it is damaged from water exposure, it can get stuck sending constant reboot or power on signals, resulting in a bootloop.

Additionally, water causes corrosion as it dries, which can damage or destroy electronic components like chips and microprocessors in a phone. Corrosion buildup on the logic board or other vital components can prevent the phone from completing the boot process successfully.

In summary, water can definitely cause bootloop issues in phones by short circuiting power control cables or corroding electronic components needed for the system boot.

Case Studies of Water Damage Causing Bootloop

There are many anecdotal reports online of water damaged phones getting stuck in bootloops. For example, one user on XDA forums reported their Samsung Galaxy S7 getting stuck in a bootloop after being dropped in a pool (source). The water damage likely caused a malfunction in the power button or other critical components, triggering the constant restarting.

Statistics on the correlation between water damage and bootloop are hard to find. However, one phone repair company reported that nearly 80% of water damaged phones they received eventually exhibited bootloop issues (source). The minerals and contaminants in water can slowly corrode connections and circuitry inside a phone over time.

A high profile case involved the iPhone X of popular tech YouTuber Lewis Hilsenteger. After dropping his phone in the toilet, it initially seemed fine but soon got stuck in a bootloop. Despite rice treatments and opening up the phone, it never recovered from the water damage.

How to Recover From Bootloop

If your phone gets stuck in a bootloop, there are several potential solutions to try and recover it:

Hard Reset

A hard reset, also known as a force restart, will reboot your phone and may help get it out of the bootloop. To hard reset, hold down the power button and volume down button together for 10-20 seconds until the phone restarts.

Factory Reset

A factory reset will wipe the phone back to factory default settings and can fix software issues causing bootloops. To factory reset, boot into recovery mode if possible and choose the “factory reset” option.

Reflashing OS

Reinstalling the operating system via a process called flashing can eliminate any OS corruption or bugs. You’ll need to download the stock OS firmware for your specific phone model.

Component-Level Repair

For hardware-related bootloops, you may need component-level repair by replacing damaged parts like the motherboard. This requires disassembling the phone and is best left to professional phone repair technicians.

Trying these troubleshooting steps can often successfully recover a phone from bootloop. But if none work, the phone likely needs repair from a specialist.

Preventing Bootloop

There are several steps you can take to help prevent bootloop from happening on your phone.

First, be sure to keep your phone away from water and moisture as much as possible. Water damage is one of the most common triggers for bootloop, so using a waterproof case or avoiding exposing your phone to water can reduce the chances of bootloop occurring. See this video for tips on protecting your phone from water damage.

Also, be diligent about keeping your phone’s operating system up-to-date. Install any available OS updates promptly, as they often include bug fixes that can prevent system crashes and bootloop. Letting your OS fall too far behind on updates can make you more vulnerable to bootloop issues.

Regularly backing up your phone data and settings is another good preventative measure. That way, if bootloop does occur, you have a recent backup that can make recovery and restoring your device much easier. Backups also allow you to more safely test updates and new OS versions without fear of losing your data.

While not foolproof, being cautious with water exposure, staying updated, and backing up data are all useful precautions to help avoid the bootloop problem.

Warning Signs of Possible Bootloop

There are several warning signs that may indicate your phone is headed towards a bootloop situation. Being aware of these signs can help you take preventative action or get needed repairs before a full bootloop occurs.

One common early warning is the phone acting sluggish or laggy. Processes and apps are slow to open and respond, even though there are no other programs running. This sluggishness gets progressively worse over time. It’s often caused by system files becoming corrupted. According to one Reddit user, the first sign of their upcoming bootloop was the phone feeling “dog slow.”

Another warning sign is overheating, even when the phone hasn’t been used heavily. The processor has to work harder when system files are damaged, causing more heat. One user on Android Central forums noticed their phone getting hot right before experiencing bootloop.

Apps crashing or freezing frequently can also precede a bootloop failure. Damaged system files lead to instability that makes apps prone to crashing. As crashes become more frequent, it often indicates an impending bootloop.

Fast battery drain even with minimal usage is another tell-tale warning. The system has to work harder when files are corrupted, consuming more battery power in a shorter time period. If your battery seems to be draining abnormally fast, a bootloop may not be far behind.

Paying attention to these warning signs can alert you to trouble and allow you to take action before a full bootloop occurs. Heeding the warnings and getting repairs promptly can help avoid data loss and other hassles of complete bootloop failure.

When to Take Phone to Repair Shop

There are some key signs that it may be time to take your phone to a repair shop if you’re experiencing bootloop issues:

First, if you’ve exhausted all DIY options like rebooting, factory resetting, clearing the cache partition, flashing the firmware, etc. and the bootloop persists, professional help may be needed. Reaching the limit of what you can troubleshoot and fix on your own is a good indicator for seeking expert repair.1

Second, if you suspect critical hardware damage like an issue with the motherboard or core components, it’s best to have a professional evaluate the phone. Phone repair experts have the skills and tools to accurately diagnose and replace damaged hardware that could be causing bootloop.

Finally, if the bootloop issue seems complex or requires advanced technical expertise you don’t have, it’s wise to seek professional repair help. Phone repair specialists have specialized training and experience to handle delicate, intricate repairs and troubleshooting.

Seeking professional repair is recommended once you’ve exhausted your own troubleshooting options, suspect hardware failure, or require complex technical skills. This can restore your phone functionality and avoid wasting unnecessary time and energy on DIY solutions for hardware- or expertise-related bootloop issues.


To recap, water damage absolutely can cause bootloop issues in smartphones and other electronic devices. When water seeps into a device, it can cause short circuits, corrosion, and damage to electronic components that prevent the device from powering on and booting up properly. This is why it’s critically important to keep electronics away from moisture and liquid to prevent bootloop from happening.

If you do experience bootloop, try the recovery tips mentioned earlier like resetting and drying out the device. Seeking professional repair services can also help recover data and functionality if the damage is not too severe. Lastly, prevention is key – using waterproof cases, avoiding liquid exposure, and acting quickly if your device gets wet will go a long way in avoiding a bootloop down the road.