Can water damage cause overheating iPhone?

Water damage is a common problem that can affect iPhones and lead to a variety of issues, including overheating. When liquid comes into contact with the internal components of an iPhone, it can cause corrosion, short circuits, and other types of damage that disrupt normal function.

What causes iPhones to overheat?

There are several potential causes of iPhone overheating:

  • Using resource-intensive apps or features like navigation, gaming, or video streaming
  • Direct sunlight or hot environments
  • Charging with non-Apple chargers or cables
  • Outdated software needing an update
  • Too many background apps running
  • Hardware problems like a faulty battery
  • Water or liquid damage

Overheating can occur when the iPhone’s processor is working hard for an extended period of time without adequate cooling. The battery may also generate excess heat if it is degrading or short-circuited. Water exposure can contribute to both processor and battery overheating in iPhones.

How does water damage cause overheating?

When water gets inside an iPhone, it can damage electronic components and connections. Here are some specific ways this liquid exposure can lead to overheating:

  • Short circuit – Water can bridge connections and create shorts, allowing excess current to flow and generate heat.
  • Corrosion – Corrosion from water contact increases resistance in circuits, leading to more heat dissipation.
  • Insulation damage – Liquid exposure can degrade insulation around components, leading to shorts.
  • Battery failure – Water can get inside the battery, corrode connections, or short circuit it, leading it to get abnormally hot.
  • Processor load – A water-damaged processor may need to work harder due to degradation, creating more heat.

The interior components of smartphones are designed to operate at cool temperatures. When water damages the phone, it upsets the careful thermal engineering, and causes components to heat up in an uncontrolled manner.

How to tell if water caused overheating?

It can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint water exposure as the definite cause of iPhone overheating. Here are some signs that can indicate liquid damage led to overheating:

  • It started overheating right after getting wet or being submerged.
  • There are visible corrosion signs like oxidized copper traces and connectors.
  • There is evidence of liquid ingress like water droplets or stains inside phone.
  • It heats up quickly after a short period of use.
  • It feels hot in specific areas like the battery or logic board.
  • It won’t turn on properly or boot loop constantly.

Severe overheating that happens immediately or soon after water exposure strongly suggests the two are related. Small amounts of liquid can sometimes cause delayed problems later on as corrosion progresses, so the timing is not always a definite indicator.

How does water get inside an iPhone?

For water to cause damage, there must be a point of ingress into the iPhone’s tight internal compartments. Some common ways water can enter and affect an iPhone include:

  • Through microphone/speaker ports – These ports provide openings for liquid to enter the housing.
  • Under display glass – Sealants can wear away, allowing moisture ingress.
  • Via SIM card tray – This removable tray provides an access point for liquids.
  • Through charging port – Although it has a gasket, the Lightning port can let water in.
  • From a degraded housing seam – Gaps in the phone’s enclosure can form over time.
  • Due to case and gasket failure – Some waterproof cases can leak.

Even splashes, condensation, and very humid air can be enough liquid to damage an iPhone over time. Capillary action can draw water deeper into tiny spaces inside the tightly packed device.

Typical water damage symptoms

Beyond overheating, there are other common symptoms that indicate the presence of liquid damage inside an iPhone:

  • Corrosion visible on connectors, ports, SIM tray
  • Hazy/foggy display with condensation
  • Speakers and microphone work intermittently
  • Charging issues or no longer holds charge
  • Functions like touchscreen and buttons are glitchy
  • Doesn’t power on, boot loops, or has software glitches
  • Beeping noises from inside device

Severe condensation on the screen and fogginess within the camera are very strong indications of water ingress. Even slower charging or softly muted speakers can be signs of mild liquid exposure.

How to dry out and fix an iPhone with water damage

If your iPhone has gotten wet, it’s important to take action quickly to dry it out and minimize any permanent damage:

  • Immediately power off the device – This stops electrical current flow through any wet areas.
  • Remove SIM card and do not charge – This prevents further exposure of these areas.
  • Dry with absorbent cloth – Gently blot up any excess moisture.
  • Place in front of fan – Use airflow to evaporate any drops or wetness.
  • Seal in bag with desiccant – Absorbs remaining moisture.
  • Wait 1-2 days before powering back on – Ensures it is fully dry internally.

Even if your phone initially seemed to recover after drying out, water damage can continue to create ongoing problems. It’s a good idea to backup your data and have a repair shop inspect the phone if you suspect liquid exposure. They may need to clean out corrosion, repair damaged components, or replace parts of the phone entirely.

Does water damage cause permanent problems?

Water exposure doesn’t necessarily spell the end of your iPhone permanently. However, it often leads to ongoing glitches even after it initially dries out. Here are some potential long-term consequences of liquid damage:

  • Corroded connections leading to intermittent cutouts and charging issues.
  • Gradual battery performance decrease as water damage progresses.
  • Shortened lifespan for internal components like logic board and camera.
  • Recurring overheating that gets worse over time.
  • Oxidation and buildup on logic board causing permanent glitches.
  • Reactive minerals in tap water leaving residue and deposits internally.

While the phone may seem to operate fine at first, corrosion can progressively get worse leading to premature failure. Heat damage from water-induced overheating can also accelerate other component problems.

Does iPhone water damage indicator work accurately?

Many iPhone models have built-in water damage indicators – small paper tabs that change color when moisture is present. However, these liquid contact indicators have some limitations:

  • Small, localized patches may not register if damage is elsewhere.
  • They are slow to change color and may never indicate minor exposure.
  • False positives are possible such as from humidity.
  • Tiny amounts of water may impact function before triggering indicator.
  • Indicator may stay unchanged even if there is extensive internal damage present.

Due to these reliability issues, a non-triggered iPhone water damage indicator does not guarantee your phone is free from liquid exposure problems. The best way to assess water damage is checking for physical signs and testing full functionality.

Does water damage eventually go away on its own?

Unfortunately, water damage does not simply go away over time. Here’s why it tends to persist and worsen inside an iPhone:

  • Corrosion from liquid continues degrading connections until repaired.
  • Minerals in water deposit and build up on logic board.
  • Heat damage from leakage current is permanent.
  • Oxidation from corrosion spreads incrementally.
  • Shorts, though initially intermittent, tend to become constant.
  • Battery capacity decreasing gradually.

Leaving water damage unchecked almost always allows the problems to become more severe and widespread. While symptoms may seem to temporarily disappear as corrosion dries out, it will return in the future unless properly cleaned and repaired.

Preventing iPhone water damage

To keep your iPhone safe from liquid exposure

  • Use a sturdy waterproof case when using your phone near water.
  • Never charge your phone in a bathroom or other damp location.
  • Quickly dry any spills or splashes on its exterior.
  • Keep drinks and other liquids far away from your phone.
  • Never swim or shower with your phone, even if rated water resistant.
  • Avoid placing phone in bathrooms with showers that may create humidity.
  • Have seals and any water-resistance gaskets replaced if worn out.

Carefully following these precautions makes it very unlikely your iPhone will suffer any significant liquid damage or resulting issues like overheating.

Does iPhone warranty cover water damage?

Apple’s standard iPhone warranty and AppleCare+ plans do not cover any damage caused by liquids. The limited warranties are void if there are signs of water or moisture damage. You will need to pay Apple’s out-of-warranty fee for any water damage repairs. Only select third party warranty plans will cover unintentional water damage to your iPhone.


Water exposure is a very real threat to the proper operation of iPhones and other smartphones. Even small amounts of moisture can work its way into tiny openings and gradually corrode electronic components. This liquid damage often contributes to overheating by creating shorts, increasing resistance, and degrading the battery. Carefully drying a wet iPhone immediately and having it properly repaired are essential to avoid ongoing issues or premature failure. With proper precautions and prompt response, minor water damage incidents do not have to permanently destroy your iPhone.