What if my iPhone 12 has water damage?

If your iPhone 12 has been exposed to water, it’s important to act quickly to try to save your device and data. Water can cause serious damage to electronic components and corrosion over time. With some quick action, you may be able to recover your iPhone and get it working again.

What are the signs of water damage on an iPhone 12?

Some signs that your iPhone 12 has water damage include:

  • It was exposed to water or moisture directly
  • The screen flickers, is distorted, or doesn’t respond to touch
  • Speakers sound muffled or distorted
  • Microphone has static or distorts audio
  • Charging port seems loose or won’t charge the phone
  • Headphone jack doesn’t recognize headphones
  • Camera has trouble focusing or is distorted
  • Buttons stick and don’t click nicely
  • Internal components like the logic board appear corroded or rusted

What should I do if my iPhone 12 gets wet?

If your iPhone has been exposed to moisture, follow these steps immediately:

  1. Dry it off – Gently wipe away any external moisture with a soft, lint-free cloth. Make sure to pat it dry and avoid rubbing it.
  2. Don’t charge it – Do not try to power on your phone or plug it in to charge until it’s completely dry. Electricity + water = bad news.
  3. Turn it off – If your phone still works, shut it down to avoid short circuiting. If it’s already off, leave it off.
  4. Remove case and accessories – Take off any protective case, cover or plugs so the phone can air dry thoroughly.
  5. Dry out the ports – Carefully clean and dry out the charging port and headphone jack with a dry cotton swab.
  6. Absorb moisture – Place the iPhone in a sealed bag or container with silica gel, rice, cat litter or similar desiccant packet to help absorb moisture.
  7. Let it sit – Leave your phone in the drying container for at least 24-48 hours.

The quicker you can remove moisture from the iPhone and allow it to dry out, the better chance you’ll have at saving it. Avoid heat, direct sunlight or any chargers during the drying period.

How does rice help dry out an iPhone?

Rice is a popular DIY desiccant used to try to dry out wet electronics like phones. Here’s how it works:

  • Rice absorbs ambient moisture – The rice grains pull in moisture from the air and environment.
  • More surface area = more absorption – When spread out, rice has lots of surface area for moisture molecules to cling to.
  • The container traps moisture – Placing the iPhone and rice in an airtight container prevents that moisture from escaping.
  • Time allows moisture to be absorbed – The longer the phone sits in the rice, the more moisture will be gradually wicked away.

Almost any type of uncooked rice can be used, though white rice is common. Simply fill a sealable Ziploc bag or airtight container with rice, burrow your iPhone down into it, seal it up and let it sit for a couple days.

Does putting my iPhone in rice really work?

Here are the pros and cons of using the rice trick:


  • Rice is inexpensive and easy to find
  • It helps absorb ambient moisture
  • It allows air circulation to dry internal parts
  • It’s less risky than heat drying methods


  • Rice only dries the surface, not interior water
  • It has limited moisture absorption capacity
  • Any trapped moisture can still corrode electronics
  • It takes a long time (1-3 days)

So while rice can help, it has limitations. It works best for minor external moisture exposure. For immersion or major internal water damage, disassembling and cleaning individual components is more effective. Rice drying also needs time – one study found that it only absorbed around 5% phone weight in water over 3 days.

What are some better methods to dry an iPhone?

Besides rice, some alternative drying methods include:

Use desiccant packs: These moisture-absorbing packs (e.g. silica gel packs) work faster and absorb more moisture than rice. Place them in a sealed container with your iPhone.

Use a drying agent: Devices like the Dry-All Smart Dryer use heat and airflow to actively dry out electronics and can dry internally.

Use alcohol: Wipe down the iPhone’s logic board with 90% or higher isopropyl alcohol using cotton swabs and toothpicks. This displaces water on contact.

Heat dry: Blow dry your iPhone on low heat setting for 10 mins to evaporate water on the surface after wiping it down. Be careful of overheating.

Vacuum dry: Use a vacuum cleaner on a low setting to suck up lingering water droplets in cracks and ports.

Water displacement: Submerge the iPhone in 99% isopropyl alcohol to displace moisture, then let air dry completely.

Avoid other heat sources like hairdryers, microwaves, ovens or open flames that can overheat and damage iPhone components. Disassembling the phone to clean individual parts can also help, but should be done carefully by a repair technician if possible.

How long does it take for a wet iPhone to dry out?

Here are some estimates for how long it can take to fully dry an iPhone out after water exposure or submersion:

  • Air drying: 72-96 hours if phone is off and in a dry environment
  • Rice method: 48-72 hours sealed in rice
  • Desiccant pack: 24-48 hours sealed with desiccant
  • Drying agent: 4-12 hours with an electronic drying device
  • Vacuum dry: 1-2 hours with an external vacuum
  • Alcohol displacement: 1 hour submerged then air dried

Drying time depends on:

  • Amount of water exposure – More moisture means longer drying
  • Temperature/humidity – Warmer and drier air speeds up evaporation
  • Air circulation – Stagnant air retards drying
  • Type of drying method – Active works faster than passive
  • Location of moisture – External dries quicker than internal

Be patient and allow sufficient time for moisture to fully evaporate before using your iPhone again. Rushing the process risks short circuiting still-wet components.

What water damage will disable an iPhone?

Here are iPhone components that can be disabled or damaged by water exposure:

Display – Water seeping under the screen can short-circuit digitizer components, causing unresponsive, flickering or distorted touchscreen.

Speakers – Moisture in the speaker grille disables sound and can muffle audio.

Microphone – Water exposure leads to static and distortion in microphone sound.

Cameras – Water droplets can fog up camera lenses and damage autofocus and optical stabilization.

Logic board – Corrosion buildup on the logic board from moisture can disable core functions.

Battery – Water reaching the battery can corrode connections and disable charging ability.

Ports – Buildup in charging, headphone or data ports blocks their ability to recognize accessories.

Most water damage disables the iPhone by interfering with power, data transmission and key components talking to each other. Internal moisture corrodes metal contacts and fries electronics over time.

Can water damage be fixed?

Water damaged iPhones can often be fixed, but the cost depends on a few factors:

  • Level of damage – Minor vs major components affected
  • Corrosion buildup – More corrosion means more cleaning needed
  • Parts replacement – Swapping damaged ports or parts
  • Data recovery – Restoring data from water damaged phones
  • Type of phone – Newer models cost more to repair

Here are estimated repair costs:

Repair Type Estimated Cost
Level 1 – Power cleaning $0-50
Level 2 – Basic component swap $50-150
Level 3 – Logic board / data recovery $150-350
Level 4 – Major motherboard repair $300-600+

Liquid damage remediation can involve cleaning corrosion, swapping damaged ports and parts, soldering new components, and data recovery procedures. More extensive repairs may not make financial sense vs. replacing the device.

Should I try to fix water damaged iPhone myself?

It’s generally not advisable for most iPhone owners to try DIY repairs on a water damaged device. Here’s why you may want to get professional help:

  • Technical expertise – Precise disassembly and repair requires experience and skills.
  • Microsoldering – Some logic board fixes require microsoldering tools.
  • ESD prevention – You’ll need an anti-static mat and ESD-safe tools.
  • Part sourcing – Access to genuine Apple replacement parts.
  • Risk of damage – Further component damage is likely for amateurs.
  • Voiding warranty – Unauthorized repairs can void any remaining water damage coverage.
  • Wasting money – Damaging parts beyond repair means more $ down the drain.

Unless you have microelectronics repair training, you’re better off taking your iPhone to experienced professionals or Apple themselves to diagnose and fix any water-induced issues. They have the proper tools and techniques.

Will Apple replace a water damaged iPhone?

Apple’s Limited Warranty and AppleCare+ plans specifically do not cover any water damage to iPhone devices. Out of warranty repairs for liquid contact will involve flat rate charges:

  • iPhone SE – $229 + tax
  • iPhone 8 – $299 + tax
  • iPhone 12 Mini – $399 + tax
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max – $549 + tax

These fees may be reduced if you have AppleCare+ coverage on your iPhone. Apple may also deny service for older model iPhones with extensive corrosion damage. In that case, you’ll have to rely on authorized third-party iPhone repair services for any potential fixes.

Should I just replace my water damaged iPhone?

Replacement may be the best option if your iPhone has extensive water damage beyond economical repair. Here are reasons to consider replacing your iPhone rather than fixing:

  • Cost more than 50-60% of replacement value
  • Corrosion is widespread – especially on logic board
  • Multiple components affected – display, battery, board, etc
  • Phone has additional damage aside from water
  • Phone is very old model with limited usefulness
  • Data has been backed up so nothing is lost

You can purchase a replacement iPhone directly from Apple, carriers, or third-party sellers refurbished/used phones. Be sure to transfer over any data and wipe the damaged iPhone before recycling it. Weigh the repair costs vs. getting a new-to-you iPhone model that will last you awhile longer without issues.

How can I prevent water damage on my iPhone?

Here are some tips to keep your iPhone safe from moisture exposure and accidental water damage:

  • Use a waterproof case – Cases create a barrier against wetness.
  • Attach a screen protector – This seals the screen perimeter.
  • Keep away from water – Avoid pools, sinks, tubs when using it.
  • Turn off before wet activities – Power down if going near water.
  • Dry hands before handling – Excess moisture on hands can seep in.
  • Keep in low humidity – Don’t leave phone in damp environments.
  • Inspect gaskets and seals – Replace aging seals if needed.
  • Never charge wet phone – Only use charger once 100% dry.
  • Consider water-resistant model – Newer models like iPhone XR boast improved water resistance.
  • Get AppleCare+ – This covers lower-cost water damage incidents.

Being vigilant to keep your iPhone away from moisture, splashes and humidity will go a long way towards preventing any need for water damage repair down the road.


If your iPhone 12 does suffer from inadvertent water exposure, act quickly to dry it thoroughly and avoid using it until it’s 100% dry. While moisture can disable headphones, speakers, charging and other components, water damaged iPhones can often be revived with professional cleaning and repair services. For extensive corrosion that makes fix costs impractical, replacing your iPhone may be the smartest option to avoid throwing more money at an obsolete model. But with some TLC for minor-moderate exposure, your iPhone 12 may survive its liquid mishap just fine. Just be sure to take preventative measures like waterproof cases in the future!