If your iPhone falls into water and the screen goes black, don’t panic. The most important steps are to:
- Get the phone out of the water as quickly as possible.
- Turn the phone off and don’t try to turn it back on.
- Dry the phone thoroughly with a cloth or paper towels.
- Do not use rice or a hairdryer to dry the phone.
- Bring the phone to an Apple store or authorized service provider as soon as possible.
Following these steps can help minimize water damage and give you the best chance of saving your iPhone. Keep reading for more detailed information on what to do if your iPhone gets wet.
What causes the screen to go black when an iPhone gets wet?
When an iPhone is exposed to water, a few things can happen to make the screen go black:
- Water can short circuit the touchscreen connector pins.
- Moisture in the phone can trigger the water damage indicators, which disables the screen.
- Corrosion from water exposure can damage screen components.
- Water can get under the screen and interfere with digitizer functionality.
In any of these cases, water is affecting the sensitive electronics that control the iPhone’s display. The screen goes black as a protective measure when the phone detects water.
Water damage indicators
All iPhones have built-in water damage indicators that are triggered when they come into contact with moisture. The indicators are small paper-like stickers that turn red when wet. They are located both on the outside of the iPhone and on internal components.
When the water damage indicators are triggered, even temporarily, iOS disables the screen as a safety precaution. This causes the black screen. Even after the phone dries out, the indicators will remain tripped and the screen stays black.
Short circuits from water exposure
Exposing an iPhone to water can short circuit various connections within the device, including the touchscreen controller flex cables. These cables connect the display glass to the phone’s logic board.
When water gets on the cables or connection points, it can disrupt the electrical contacts and pathways. This interference causes the screen to malfunction and turn black.
Corrosion of screen components
If water seeps deep inside the iPhone casing, it can cause corrosion of electronic components related to the display. For example, the screen’s digitizer chipset may become corroded. This renders the digitizer unable to properly sense touch input on the glass.
Corrosion buildup can spread quickly on electronics when powered on, so turning the phone off right away helps limit damage. But corrosion from water exposure is often irreversible and will progressively degrade screen functionality.
Step-by-step guide on what to do
Follow these steps if your iPhone gets wet and the screen goes black:
1. Retrieve the phone from water quickly
If your iPhone takes an unexpected dip, get it out of the water as fast as possible. Immediately retrieve it rather than leaving it submerged. The less water exposure, the better chance your phone has of surviving.
Be sure to safely retrieve the phone without risking further damage. Don’t try charging or powering it on while wet.
2. Dry off excess liquid
After fishing the iPhone out of the water, make sure to dry it off immediately with an absorbent material. Gently wipe off all excess moisture from the phone’s exterior using a clean lint-free cloth or paper towels.
Try to soak up as much water as you can. Pay special attention to openings like the charging port, headphone jack, speakers, etc where moisture can collect.
3. Turn off the iPhone
If your iPhone is still powered on after getting wet, turn it off right away by pressing and holding the side/top button until the power off slider appears.
Powering off the phone helps prevent short circuits and stops electricity flowing through wet components. This minimizes further water damage and corrosion to the internal electronics.
4. Do NOT try turning it back on
After turning off a wet iPhone, do not attempt to turn it back on to check if it works. Powering on an iPhone that’s been exposed to moisture can cause permanent damage.
Attempting to boot up a water-damaged device often shorts out components that would otherwise remain intact once dried out. Let the phone remain off until completely dry.
5. Dry the iPhone thoroughly
With the phone powered off, the next step is to thoroughly dry it out. Use a soft lint-free cloth or paper towels to wipe down the entire surface and openings.
Gently shake out any lingering moisture trapped in button crevices, ports, speakers, etc. Then let the phone sit for 72 hours minimum to allow any internal moisture to evaporate.
|Avoid rice. It is not effective and grains can get stuck inside the phone.
|Do not use a hair dryer. The concentrated heat can damage iPhone components.
|Gently wipe down the phone and let air dry for at least 72 hours.
Pro tip: Use moisture-absorbing packs made for electronics instead of rice. Or try a desiccant like silica gel.
6. Check for liquid in the speakers, ports, etc
After thoroughly drying the outside, inspect the iPhone’s openings for any trapped moisture. Tilt the phone at different angles, lightly shake, and use compressed air to remove lingering liquid in the:
- Charging port
- Headphone jack
- Microphone and speaker grilles
- Side buttons
Water trapped internally can take longer to evaporate and cause issues. Be diligent about clearing it fully out.
7. Do not plug in or charge the iPhone
Until completely dry, do not attempt to charge or connect accessories to the iPhone’s charging port. This includes cables, headphones, and any other connectors.
Plugging accessories into a damp charging port can short circuit the contacts and potentially damage components. Let the phone dry out for at least 72 hours before using the charging port.
8. Check if iOS is operable once fully dry
Only after letting the iPhone dry for several days, try turning it on to see if it powers up normally. If it turns on, inspect the phone fully.
Check for any functionality issues like unresponsive touchscreen, flickering display, or glitchy performance which may indicate lingering water damage.
9. Take it to Apple Support or a repair shop
If the iPhone remains unresponsive after drying, take it to Apple Support or an Apple Authorized Service Provider. They have specialized tools and methods for assessing water damage on iPhones.
Be upfront that the phone was exposed to liquid when seeking help to get an accurate diagnosis and repair recommendation. Water damage is often repairable with professional servicing.
Do not attempt DIY repairs
It’s not advisable to attempt fixing water-damaged iPhones without proper experience and tools. Take it to the experts instead.
Some common DIY mistakes that can exacerbate iPhone water damage include:
- Disassembling the phone while components are still wet.
- Incomplete drying leading to corrosion.
- Using flammable cleaning solutions.
- Mishandling delicate components.
- Permanently tripping water damage indicators.
Apple technicians have specialized training and equipment for iPhone water damage repair. Let the professionals handle it correctly.
Understanding Liquid Contact Indicators
All iPhones have built-in liquid contact indicators that activate when the device is exposed to moisture. Here’s what you need to know about them:
What are Liquid Contact Indicators?
LCI stickers (liquid contact indicators) are tiny paper-like stickers inside the iPhone that change color when exposed to moisture. They have printed patterns that turn red when wet.
Where are the LCI stickers located?
The indicators can be found both externally and internally:
- Externally near the SIM card slot.
- Internally near battery connectors, logic board, etc.
What happens when LCIs are triggered?
Once activated by moisture, the LCIs stay tripped even after the phone dries out. iOS detects this and disables certain features as a precaution. Most commonly, the screen stops working when wet LCIs are detected.
Can LCIs be reset?
No, liquid contact indicators are one-time use only. Once tripped, the markers stay permanently red. The only way to “reset” LCIs is to replace them entirely with new stickers. Apple Geniuses are specially trained to do this.
Preventing false LCI triggers
In very humid conditions, LCIs can sometimes trigger falsely without actual water exposure. To prevent this, avoid keeping iPhones long-term in extremely steamy or damp environments which may cause a false positive.
Does iPhone water damage warranty cover this issue?
Apple’s limited 1-year warranty does not cover any kind of accidental damage to your iPhone, including water exposure.
However, you may have additional coverage options:
Adding AppleCare+ extends Apple’s warranty and provides up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage, each subject to a service fee. Water damage is eligible for AppleCare+ claims.
Home or renter’s insurance may cover accidental water damage to your iPhone, depending on your specific policy. Check with your insurance provider.
Third-party insurance plans
There are various third-party iPhone insurance programs available that provide protection plans against water damage incidents. Compare plans to find one that fits your needs.
How to dry a wet iPhone with rice
We do not recommend using rice to dry a wet iPhone. Here’s why:
- Rice is not significantly more effective at moisture absorption than air drying.
- Rice particles can get stuck in phone openings causing damage.
- Rice dust creates mess inside and outside the phone.
Instead, follow these steps:
- Power off the iPhone if still on.
- Remove any case and wipe away exterior water.
- Do not immerse the phone fully in rice. Gently place in a sealed bag or container of rice.
- Check after 24 hours, carefully removing rice particles.
- Let air dry for 72+ hours minimum before use.
If the iPhone is still not working after thorough drying, take it to a repair shop. Be sure to mention the water exposure. Water damage is often repairable by pros.
If your iPhone gets wet and the screen goes black, stay calm and act quickly. Retrieving it fast, powering off, drying thoroughly, and taking it for professional service can often save water-damaged iPhones. Avoid DIY repairs or turning it on before completely dry. With careful handling, there is a good chance of reviving an iPhone after water exposure.