How can I damage my phone internally?

Damaging a phone internally can be quite easy to do if you are not careful with how you handle and use your device. However, it is not recommended, as internal damage can degrade performance or render a phone completely unusable. This article will overview some ways that internal phone damage can occur and how to avoid it.

Dropping the Phone

One of the most common ways that phones become damaged internally is being dropped. The impact from a drop, especially on a hard surface like concrete or tile, can shake loose delicate interior components. Here are some key points on how dropping can damage phones:

  • Dropping can detach or warp the motherboard – The motherboard is the main printed circuit board inside the phone that holds the CPU, memory, sensors, charging port, etc. If it gets bent or loosened from impacts, it may no longer make proper electrical connections.
  • Connections can be disrupted – Ribbon cables that connect components like the display, cameras, and buttons can get shaken loose. This leads to erratic device behavior or complete component failure.
  • Solder joints can crack – Phone components are held in place with tiny solder joints. The impact of drops can cause these delicate joints to crack, breaking electrical connections.
  • Internal brackets can snap – Metal brackets support and protect internal components. Drops can cause them to bend or snap, no longer holding parts securely.

To avoid drop damage, always use a protective case and be cautious not to drop your phone, especially on hard surfaces. Some drops, even in cases, may still cause internal damage.

Water Exposure

Exposing a phone’s interior components to moisture, even in small amounts, can cause corrosion and electrical shorts. Here is how water exposure damages phones:

  • Corrosion buildup on circuits – Water causes oxidation on metallic components like solder joints, pins, and circuits. This leads to connectivity issues.
  • Electrical shorts – Water can cause exposed powered components to short circuit. This can permanently damage phone logic boards and integrated circuits.
  • Component degradation – Moisture can degrade or warp adhesive components like gaskets and stickers meant to protect internal parts.
  • Mineral deposits – As water evaporates, it leaves behind mineral deposits that can insulate and corrode parts.

To prevent liquid damage, keep phones away from moisture and never submerge them in water, even if marketed as water resistant. If your phone does get wet, power it off immediately and allow it to dry thoroughly before turning it back on.

Extreme Temperatures

Exposing a smartphone to extreme hot or cold temperatures can damage delicate internal components:

  • Warping/cracks – Extreme cold can make plastic casings and boards brittle. Extreme heat expands and softens them. This leads to warps and cracks.
  • Battery damage – Heat causes lithium-ion batteries to swell and degrade faster. Cold saps charge capacity.
  • Component detachment – Expansion and contraction from temperature shifts can loosen soldered joints and connectors.
  • Display damage – Rapid temperature changes can damage display glass or the LCD beneath.

Avoid leaving phones in very hot or cold environments like cars in summer/winter. Allow phones to come to room temperature before powering up after temperature swings. Operating ranges are typically 32°F to 95°F (0°C to 35°C).

Misuse of Charging Port

The charging port is especially vulnerable to physical damage that can compromise important internal connections:

  • Bent/broken pins – Rough unplugging of chargers can bend the delicate pins inside the port. Damage leads to loose connections.
  • Detached port – Too much strain on the charging cable can completely detach the port from the phone’s mainboard.
  • Debris/moisture – Pocket lint and liquid can get packed into the port, causing corrosion and electrical issues.
  • Internal short circuit – A damaged port is susceptible to pin-to-pin shorts, which can damage regulators and charging ICs.

Always be gentle when plugging and unplugging chargers to avoid port damage. Avoid getting moisture or debris in the port. Do not force a charger if the fit seems tight.

Compromised Internal Screws

Smartphones contain many tiny screws that hold components in place. Damaging these screws through overtightening or stripping can have consequences:

  • Detached brackets – Stripped screw holes can no longer secure internal support brackets, leading to loose connections.
  • Component displacement – Overtightened screws can crack the motherboard or bend components, moving them out of place.
  • Short circuits – Loose screws floating around inside the phone during operation can cause damaging shorts.
  • Torn gaskets/insulators – Screws puncturing gasket material leads to light/moisture leakage into sensitive areas.

Use care when opening up phones for repair, being sure to use the proper screwdriver size. Overtightening or stripping screws will likely damage threads in the phone’s case.

Sand and Debris Ingress

Sand, dirt, and grime can work their way into a phone’s interior over time, especially through openings like the speaker, microphone, and charging port. This can cause the following issues:

  • Physical abrasions – Sand particles rubbing against circuit boards and components gradually erodes traces and connections.
  • Clogged/stuck mechanisms – Dirt and debris can immobilize small moving parts like button switches, vibration motors, and rear camera actuators.
  • Overheating – Buildup of debris in heat sinks, fans, and ventilation gaps reduces cooling efficiency.
  • Corrosion – Sand and salt introduce moisture that corrodes metallic components.

Use phone cases with port covers and gaskets to minimize dirt ingress. Periodically clean accessory ports and openings with compressed air to blow out built-up debris. Avoid exposing phones to excessive sand and saltwater air.

Jammed Physical Buttons

The physical buttons on smartphones can become jammed or broken in ways that damage internal switch components:

  • Stuck switches – Debris and pocket lint can work into button mechanisms, making them stick.
  • Detached button caps – Forcing a button in can pop off the external plastic cap.
  • Bent contact pins – Applying excessive force to a button can bend the delicate internal switch pins.
  • Cracked solder joints – Repeated mechanical stress on buttons can cause the solder attaching switches to the board to crack.

Avoid forcing buttons and use compressed air to clean out any debris around button mechanisms. Replace detached button caps immediately to avoid debris ingress.


Phone durability continues to improve with more rugged designs and damage-resistant materials like Gorilla Glass. However, the delicate nature of miniaturized internal electronics makes them prone to many forms of mechanical and environmental damage. By understanding the vulnerabilities outlined above and avoiding phone misuse, drops, water contact, temperature extremes, debris, and physical stress, you can maximize the lifespan of your device and avoid costly internal repairs.