Is it possible to fix an iPhone with water damage?

Water damage is one of the most common issues that can affect iPhones. If your iPhone has been exposed to water, it may seem like all hope is lost. However, with the right approach, it is often possible to fix an iPhone and recover your data, even after water exposure.

What causes water damage in iPhones?

There are a few ways that water can damage an iPhone:

  • Being submerged in water – This is usually the most damaging form of water exposure. If your iPhone was dropped in water, the entire device can be affected.
  • Splashes or spills – Smaller amounts of water can still seep into an iPhone and cause corrosion over time.
  • Condensation – Sometimes condensation can form inside an iPhone if it’s exposed to big temperature changes. This moisture can damage internal components.

No matter how the water damage occurs, the end result is often the same. Water gets inside the iPhone and corrodes electronic components on the logic board and other parts. This corrosion can cause shorts, glitches, battery issues and total device failure if left unchecked.

Signs your iPhone has water damage

How can you tell if your iPhone got wet and is now having issues? Here are some of the most common signs of water damage in iPhones:

  • Blurry camera. The iPhone camera components are very susceptible to moisture. A blurry camera is one of the first signs of water damage.
  • Discolored or flaky LCD. If water seeped under the iPhone display, you may see discolored patches or flaking/peeling in the LCD.
  • Speakers not working. The iPhone speaker grills allow water to enter easily. Damaged speakers often stop working properly after getting wet.
  • Accessory ports not working. The Lightning port and headphone jack are entry points for moisture. Corroded ports may not recognize cables.
  • Issues charging. The charging port can fail if moisture and corrosion build up inside it.
  • Glitchy touchscreen. The screen digitizer can short out if water sneaks beneath the display.
  • Foggy or streaky internal camera. The front-facing camera is very sensitive to moisture. Fogginess or streaks are a tell-tale sign of water exposure.
  • Bricked phone. In severe cases, a soaked iPhone may not power on at all after water damage.

If you notice any issues like these after your iPhone is exposed to moisture, it’s a sign that water got inside and is causing problems. Don’t ignore the symptoms, or the issue is likely to get worse over time.

Is it worth trying to fix an iPhone with water damage?

Once an iPhone has water damage, is it worth trying to fix it? Or is it better to simply replace the device? Here are some factors to consider:

  • How old is the iPhone? If it’s a very old model with minimal storage, a repair may not be cost-effective compared to getting a newer device.
  • What’s the cost of a new iPhone? Brand new iPhones are expensive. Repairing a damaged model could potentially save hundreds of dollars.
  • What iOS version is it running? Older iPhones may not support the latest iOS. Water damage is a chance to upgrade if you want the newest iOS.
  • How severe is the damage? A mildly glitchy camera after water exposure is easier to fix than a shorted logic board.
  • Do you need the data? Repair is worthwhile if you need to recover photos, messages or other irreplaceable data.

In general, minor to moderate iPhone water damage can often be repaired cost effectively. But if the phone is very old, badly damaged, or you were already considering an upgrade, replacement may be a better option than sinking money into a repair.

Do-it-yourself fixes for water damaged iPhones

Is it possible to fix a wet iPhone at home without professional help? Here are some DIY solutions you can try:

1. Dry it out completely

The number one thing to do if your phone gets wet is dry it as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Here are some tips for drying it out:

  • Immediately power off the iPhone and don’t turn it on until completely dry.
  • Remove any case and dry the phone with soft cloth. Don’t rub harshly.
  • Use a can of compressed air to force water out of ports, buttons, speakers etc.
  • Place the iPhone in front of a fan blowing gently for at least 24 hours.
  • Put the iPhone in a bowl/bag of rice to absorb moisture for 1-3 days.
  • Use moisture-absorbing packs (desiccants) instead of rice for a very slow, gentle dry.

Patience is key. Drying an iPhone too quickly with heat can damage internal components. Let it dry thoroughly over 2-3 days to give moisture time to evaporate safely.

2. Clean corrosion from the charging port

The iPhone’s Lightning port is very prone to corrosion after water exposure. Try cleaning it out with a wooden or plastic toothpick, taking care not to damage the port. Rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab can also help remove gunk or debris.

3. Check for loose cable connections

Open the iPhone and inspect connections for any corrosion or loose/damaged cables. Carefully disconnect, clean and reconnect any problem cables. Pay special attention to the display and camera connectors.

4. Replace damaged parts

If certain components like the speaker, microphone or camera stop working after water damage, they may need to be replaced. You can source replacement parts online and install them yourself with the right tools and know-how.

DIY water damage fixes can be hit or miss. The more extensive the damage, the lower your chance of success. But for an older iPhone with minimal issues, there’s a decent chance basic drying and cleaning can get it working again.

Professional iPhone water damage repair options

For more reliable results, consider getting professional iPhone water damage repair:

Apple Store

You can take your water damaged iPhone to the Genius Bar at any Apple store. They offer out-of-warranty repairs for a flat fee based on the model. However, success is not guaranteed and you’ll likely get an entire device replacement, losing your data.

Mail-in repair services

Third-party repair shops like iCracked and uBreakiFix offer mail-in iPhone repair service. You send them the damaged phone, they repair it and send it back. Repair pricing varies based on model and damage extent. This is a convenient option, but takes 1-2 weeks total.

Local repair shops

For the fastest turnaround, find a quality local iPhone repair shop in your area. They can often fix water damaged phones in 1-2 days if they have the parts in stock. The repair work is done in-house instead of mailing the device.

Data recovery pros

If you need data recovered from a water damaged iPhone before any repairs are done, companies like DriveSavers specialize in iPhone data recovery. But their services can be pricey.

Professional repairs produce better results than DIY solutions, especially for advanced damage. But weigh the cost versus simply replacing the phone if it’s very old.

How to prevent iPhone water damage

They say “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Here are some tips to avoid iPhone water damage in the first place:

  • Use a protective waterproof case when boating, at the pool/beach etc.
  • Don’t bathe or swim with your iPhone – even waterproof cases have limits.
  • Keep your iPhone away from sinks.
  • Never leave your iPhone someplace it could get rained on or wet.
  • Avoid big temperature/humidity changes that could cause condensation.
  • If your iPhone does get wet, dry it out immediately as noted above.
  • Consider buying AppleCare+ for cheaper replacements if damage occurs.

While today’s iPhones have improved water resistance, they are not waterproof. Taking simple precautions will go a long way towards preventing costly water damage down the road.

Frequently asked questions

How do you fix water damage on an iPhone?

Turn the iPhone off immediately, dry it thoroughly over 2-3 days, clean any corrosion, inspect connections for damage, replace damaged parts, and consider professional repairs for severe damage. With quick action, minor-moderate water damage can often be fixed with diligence.

Can rice fix a water damaged iPhone?

Yes, rice can potentially help dry out and fix an iPhone with light water damage. Bury the iPhone in a large bowl or bag of dry, uncooked rice for 1-3 days to slowly absorb any moisture. Just don’t expect miracles – heavy water exposure requires professional repair techniques.

Does Apple Care cover water damage?

AppleCare+ warranty for iPhones covers accidental damage from liquid 2x over a 24 month period with a service fee. Standard AppleCare warranty does not cover any water damage. Either way, you’ll need to pay an additional repair or replacement cost if water causes iPhone issues.

Can you fix water damaged phone speakers?

Possibly. Light moisture exposure may cause muffled iPhone speakers that recover after drying. But heavy exposure can permanently corrode the speaker components and wiring. Replacements may be needed if there’s no sound after thorough drying.

Is iPhone liquid damage indicator accurate?

The Liquid Contact Indicator inside iPhones turns red if moisture is detected. However, it isn’t very reliable. A red LCI doesn’t necessarily mean liquid damage occurred. And water damage can occur without tripping the indicator at all. Don’t depend solely on the LCI to assess possible water exposure issues.

The bottom line

When an iPhone comes into contact with water, it’s certainly possible to fix it and reverse the damage – especially if acted on quickly. For light-moderate exposure, thorough drying and cleaning procedures can often get an iPhone working again. Even severely water damaged iPhones can sometimes be salvaged with professional repair techniques. But if the phone is already outdated and sustained heavy water damage, replacement may be the smartest option. Either way, accidents happen – so don’t panic if your iPhone takes an unexpected dip. With patience and persistence, there’s a good chance it can be revived.