What is the Moisture Indicator on iPhone 12?
The moisture indicator on the iPhone 12 is a small white sticker located inside the SIM card tray. It is designed to detect exposure to water or other liquids. According to Apple Support, “The indicator’s color is normally white or silver, but when it contacts water or a liquid containing water, it will turn fully red.” (1) The purpose of the moisture indicator is to alert Apple technicians during service that the iPhone has been exposed to liquid at some point, which could indicate potential water damage.
This moisture indicator sticker is also sometimes referred to as a Liquid Contact Indicator (LCI) or Liquid Damage Indicator (LDI). It provides a simple visual way to check if water or other liquids have gotten inside the iPhone. A white/silver moisture indicator means no liquid exposure, while a red moisture indicator means the iPhone has had contact with water or moisture. The moisture indicator is meant to change color permanently once wet, so even dried water exposure in the past can be detected.
How the Moisture Indicator Works
The moisture indicator on iPhone 12 consists of small paper-like strips located inside the SIM card slot, speaker, and charging port. These strips are made of calcium chloride, which is a hygroscopic salt that absorbs moisture.
When water or liquid hits the strips, the calcium chloride quickly absorbs it and changes color. The strips normally appear white or silver when dry. But when wet, they turn red or pink. This color change is irreversible, providing a clear visual indicator that liquid contact has occurred.
The moisture-sensing strips are very sensitive. Even a small amount of humidity or vapor can trigger the color change. According to Apple, it only takes about 1% of iPhone’s internal water contact indicator paper getting wet to activate the strips. Once red, they cannot revert to their original color.
When the Moisture Indicator is Activated
The moisture indicator on the iPhone 12 is activated when it is exposed to liquids containing water. This includes direct contact with water or sweat, but it can also be triggered by high humidity environments or condensation buildup inside the device (source).
According to Apple Support, the moisture indicator is designed to be triggered when it contacts any liquid containing water. This means that exposure to rain, sweat, or condensation from high humidity can all cause the indicator to turn red or pink (source).
Even small amounts of moisture like humidity or condensation can activate the indicator. It does not require fully submerging the iPhone or a major spill. The moisture sensors are very sensitive by design to detect even minor liquid exposure that could damage internal components.
Effects of Moisture Indicator Activation
If the moisture indicator inside your iPhone 12 has been activated, indicating water or liquid contact, it can have some unfortunate effects:
First and foremost, an activated moisture indicator voids your iPhone’s warranty. Apple will refuse warranty service on devices with tripped water indicators, as stated in the iPhone warranty terms.
Apple Authorized Service Providers will also refuse service for repairs if the liquid contact indicator has been activated. Without warranty coverage or the ability to get service from Apple or official repair shops, you will likely need to resort to third party or DIY repairs.
Most critically, exposure to moisture can make your iPhone 12 stop functioning properly. Liquid damage can cause corrosion, electrical shorts, and other issues that lead to malfunctions and permanent hardware damage. At minimum, you may experience glitches, but it could progress to complete failure of components like the logic board or display.
In summary, a tripped moisture indicator means your iPhone warranty is void, Apple will not service it, and your device may eventually sustain functional damage or fail entirely after water exposure.
Checking the Moisture Indicator
The moisture indicator on the iPhone 12 is located in the SIM card slot. To check it, you’ll need to remove the SIM card tray to get a clear view.
Use a flashlight or other light source to illuminate the moisture indicator. Look for a small white or silver sticker inside the SIM card slot. This sticker will change colors if it detects moisture.
A white or silver colored sticker means no liquid damage has been detected. If the sticker has turned red or pink, it means liquid has gotten into that area and triggered the indicator. The color change is permanent and can’t be reversed.
Checking the moisture indicator requires removing a small component, so take care when examining it. Refer to Apple’s support guides for the proper way to eject the SIM card tray. Shine the light at an angle to get the best view of the sticker inside the slot. A magnifying glass may also help to discern the color.
See Apple’s support page for images of where the moisture indicator is located and how to check it.
Resetting the Moisture Indicator
Unfortunately, there is no way for consumers to reset the moisture indicator on an iPhone 12. The indicator is designed to be a one-time trigger that permanently changes colors when it comes into contact with liquid, to alert Apple technicians that water damage may have occurred.
According to Apple’s support page1, the moisture indicator color change cannot be reversed. Once it has turned red, it will stay red. This is to prevent tampering with the indicator to hide potential water damage issues.
In some cases, an Apple Genius Bar technician may be able to reset the moisture indicator as part of a phone repair or replacement service. However, there is no guarantee they can or will do this. The indicator is intended to be permanent to protect consumers from buying used iPhones that have been exposed to moisture.
So in summary, while the Genius Bar can possibly reset it, there is no DIY method for consumers to reset the moisture indicator themselves. It is designed to permanently change color when wet to record that water exposure occurred.
Preventing Moisture Damage
There are a few ways you can prevent moisture damage to your iPhone 12:
Use a waterproof case – Putting your iPhone in a waterproof case is the best way to prevent water damage. A waterproof case seals the phone and prevents water from getting in even if you drop it in liquid. Look for a case specifically designed to be waterproof and submersible.
Avoid exposing phone to liquids/humidity – Be very careful around sinks, baths, pools, rain, or other sources of moisture. Try not to use your phone in situations where it could get wet. High humidity can also damage the iPhone over time, so keep it away from steam rooms.
Don’t use phone in steamy rooms like bathrooms – Avoid using your iPhone in hot, humid places like the bathroom during a shower. The steam can damage the phone even if no liquid gets on it directly.
Drying Out a Wet iPhone
One of the most important steps when your iPhone gets wet is to turn it off and stop charging it immediately. As Apple notes, “Using accessories or charging when wet may damage your device” (source). Continuing to operate or charge a wet iPhone can cause short circuits and permanent damage.
After powering off your iPhone, use a soft, lint-free cloth to gently soak up excess moisture on the surface and openings. Do not try to shake out water or use a vacuum, which could push more liquid into delicate components.
Next, place the iPhone in a sealed bag or container of uncooked rice. Rice will act as a desiccant, gradually absorbing moisture from the air space. Let it sit for at least 24 hours before removing and checking if fully dry. The rice should help evaporate any remaining liquid inside the phone (source).
Getting Repairs after Moisture Damage
If the moisture indicator has been activated on your iPhone 12, you may need to get repairs done if the phone is no longer functioning properly. Unfortunately, liquid damage is not covered under Apple’s standard warranty, so you will likely need to pay out of pocket for these repairs.
One option is to contact Apple support and see if they will replace the entire device for a fee. According to Apple’s support page, an out of warranty replacement for an iPhone 12 starts at $399. This will get you a refurbished device to replace your damaged one .
Another option is to find a third party repair shop that is able to service iPhones with liquid damage. These independent repair technicians may be able to fix specific issues like replacing corroded components without needing to swap out the entire phone. The cost can be more affordable than Apple’s replacement fee, with water damage repairs starting around $60-90 at some repair shops . However, there is some risk with third party repairs and they may not fix all functionality.
In either case, it’s important to act quickly when seeking repairs for a water damaged iPhone. The longer moisture sits inside the device, the more components may corrode and stop functioning properly. Seeking help as soon as possible gives you the best chance of salvaging your iPhone.
The Bottom Line
The moisture indicator on iPhone 12 is designed to detect potential water damage. When exposed to liquid, the indicator strip inside the SIM card slot will turn red. This doesn’t necessarily mean your phone is broken, but Apple may refuse warranty coverage if the indicator has been triggered.
You can avoid activating the moisture indicator by keeping your iPhone away from moisture. Don’t use it in the rain, drop it in water, or spill liquids on it. If the indicator does turn red, immediately power off your phone and dry it thoroughly with absorbent material. Don’t try to charge or turn on a wet iPhone.
If the moisture indicator has been activated but your phone still works, you can continue using it, but certain repairs may be declined by Apple. You can try resetting the indicator strip with a hair dryer on low heat. Ultimately, moisture damage can be expensive to repair, so it’s best to keep your iPhone away from liquids.