Will an iPhone recover from water damage?

Water damage is one of the most common ways that iPhones get damaged. If your iPhone has been exposed to water, you may be wondering if it’s possible for it to recover and function normally again. The good news is that yes, it is often possible for an iPhone to recover from water damage, especially if you act quickly and properly to dry it out and restore function. However, the extent of the water exposure and damage will impact the chances and process of recovery. Let’s take a closer look at what to do if your iPhone gets wet, your chances of recovery, and tips for preventing water damage in the future.

What to do if your iPhone gets wet

If your iPhone has been exposed to water, it’s important to act quickly in order to give it the best chance of recovery. Here are the steps you should take right away:

  • Immediately power off the iPhone – Hold down the side or top button until the power off slider appears. Powering off the device helps prevent electrical shorts as water is present.
  • Do not charge the iPhone – Charging can cause damage if there is water still present inside.
  • Dry the exterior of the iPhone with a soft, lint-free cloth. Gently shake out any excess water from ports, buttons, and openings.
  • Do not use things like a hairdryer or vacuum to dry the iPhone.
  • Place the iPhone in an area with good air circulation. Position it upright if possible so remaining water can evaporate.
  • Do not place the wet iPhone near heat sources.
  • If possible, use a fan or dehumidifier to speed up drying time.
  • After several hours, once fully dried, try turning the iPhone back on. If it won’t turn on, you may need to let it dry longer.

The key is to be patient during the drying process. Quick drying methods like hairdryers can force water deeper into the iPhone, causing further damage. Letting the iPhone air dry slowly gives water a chance to safely evaporate.

Chances of recovery from water damage

The chances of your iPhone recovering from water damage depends on several factors:

  • Amount of water exposure – Brief, light splashes have a better prognosis than being fully submerged in water.
  • Water type – Clean freshwater has a higher chance of recovery than saltwater or liquids like soda which can leave residue.
  • Depth and duration – The deeper the water exposure and the longer the iPhone stays wet impact chances of recovery.
  • Drying process – Quickly drying the iPhone properly improves recovery odds versus letting it air dry too slowly or attempting to dry with heat.
  • iPhone model – Newer models like the iPhone 12 offer better water resistance than older models.
  • Liquid indicators – iPhones have liquid contact indicators that change color if exposed to water. The more that are triggered, the lower the recovery chances.

If the iPhone was only exposed to small splashes or light sprays of water, and was dried properly, there is an excellent chance it will fully recover with no issues. Even brief submersion in clean water can often be recovered from if addressed quickly.

However, the odds decrease the more extensive the water exposure. A phone left drying for days or dried improperly has lower chances. Full submersion in water for an extended period of time leads to lower recovery rates. But there is still hope – even some extreme cases of water damage can be fixed with proper cleaning and replacement of any damaged parts.

Tips for recovering from water damage

If your iPhone has gotten wet, here are some useful tips to boost your chances of getting it working again:

  • Immediately power off the iPhone and stop charging it to prevent electrical shorts.
  • Resist the urge to quickly dry with heat – air drying is safest.
  • Use a fan or dehumidifier to speed up air circulation and drying time.
  • Place the iPhone upright to allow water to drain out of openings and ports.
  • Once fully dried, reconnect power and try turning the iPhone back on.
  • If it doesn’t turn on right away, let it dry longer, then try again after a few more hours.
  • Don’t attempt to charge the iPhone until you know it powers back on.
  • Avoid using the iPhone until it’s fully dried internally over 24-48 hours.
  • Contact Apple Support if the phone still won’t turn on after thoroughly drying.

Being patient is important, as it can take time for residual moisture to fully evaporate. Giving your iPhone at least 24 hours to air dry can help ensure any internal moisture has time to dissipate before reconnecting power.

Signs your iPhone may not recover

In severe cases of water damage, there are certain signs that may indicate your iPhone is too damaged to recover:

  • Liquid contact indicators are triggered – The small liquid detectors in the iPhone changing color signal water entered internally.
  • Won’t power on at all, even after thorough drying – A phone that won’t power back on no matter how long you dry it may have critical damage.
  • Corrosion visible on internal components – If you open up the iPhone and see corrosion on parts like the logic board, connectors and battery terminals, that’s a bad sign.
  • Shorting out, flickering display, or flashing lights when powered on – Electrical malfunctions signal internal shorts or damaged circuits from water.
  • Burning smell or smoke coming from iPhone – Water can cause electrical shorts resulting in overheated components and permanent damage.
  • Won’t hold a charge or keeps draining battery quickly – Water may have damaged power circuits or shorted out the battery itself.

In cases with these types of major malfunctions or visible internal water damage, it’s unlikely your iPhone can be recovered. For the best chance of salvaging it, you’ll need to contact a professional service for possible repairs or replacement parts.

Professional repair options for water damaged iPhones

For iPhones with extensive water damage that won’t recover on their own, seeking professional help from a repair service is your next step. A few options include:

  • Apple Support – Make a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store. They can diagnose the issue and suggest suitable repair options.
  • Authorized Apple Service Providers – These third party repair shops are authorized by Apple to fix iPhones.
  • Third party iPhone repair shops – Check local repair shops experienced with water damage and microsoldering repairs.
  • Mail-in iPhone repair services – Companies like iCracked and uBreakiFix provide mail-in iPhone repairs.

Professional iPhone repair services have specialized tools and techniques for addressing water damage, like ultrasonic cleaning, component reconditioning, board-level microsoldering and replacement of any corroded parts. In some cases they can successfully salvage an iPhone even with significant water exposure for a fraction of the cost of replacing the entire phone.

Cost of water damage repairs

The cost to repair an iPhone with water damage can range from $0 if AppleCare Plus coverage applies, up to $749 for a full device replacement if the damage is beyond repair. Here are some approximate iPhone water damage repair costs:

Repair Type Estimated Cost
Basic cleaning/drying service $0 – $50
Component-level repair (charging port, speaker, etc) $50 – $150
Logic board repair $150 – $350
Full device replacement $749+ (without AppleCare+)

The right repair option for you depends on the severity and type of water damage to your iPhone. It’s best to get a professional assessment to determine if component-level repairs can fix the issue, or if a full replacement is needed.

Using AppleCare+ for water damage

If you have AppleCare+ coverage on your iPhone, you get up to two low-cost repairs or replacements at $99 each for accidental damage, including water exposure. To get AppleCare+ water damage coverage:

  • File a claim online or call Apple Support within 60 days of the water damage occurring.
  • There is a service fee per incident – $99 for iPhone screen damage, $99 for other damage like water exposure.
  • Apple will assess the phone and repair or replace it as needed.
  • AppleCare+ extends your iPhone warranty and covers 2 total incidents of accidental damage.

Using AppleCare+ for a water damaged iPhone can save you hundreds compared to an uninsured repair or replacement. Just be sure to act quickly within the 60 day reporting period or you may lose eligibility for the reduced fee coverage.

Waterproof case options for iPhones

To avoid water damage in the first place, consider using a waterproof case to protect your iPhone, especially if you tend to use it near water. Here are some good waterproof case options:

Waterproof Case Key Features
LifeProof FRĒ Withstands submersion up to 2 meters deep. Built-in screen protector.
Otterbox Defender Series Heavy-duty protection against drops plus water resistance up to 6.6 feet depth.
JOTO Universal Waterproof Case Affordable option that fits most iPhone models and is waterproof up to 100 feet.
Ghostek Nautical Waterproof Case Underwater protection up to 2 meters along with included waterproof headphones.
Catalyst Waterproof Case Designed for extreme activities like watersports. Waterproof up to 33 feet.

A good waterproof iPhone case creates a protective barrier so you don’t have to worry as much about getting your phone wet. Just make sure to test and maintain the case seal properly.

Tips for preventing iPhone water damage

Here are some useful tips to help prevent water damage to your iPhone in the first place:

  • Use a waterproof or water-resistant case when around water.
  • Avoid setting the iPhone on the edge of sinks or tubs where it can be knocked into water.
  • Don’t use the iPhone outdoors in the rain unless protected.
  • Keep the iPhone away from areas where it may get splashed, like washing dishes.
  • Never go swimming or take a bath with the unprotected iPhone.
  • Keep drinks and other liquids away from your iPhone when using it.
  • Dry your hands before handling your iPhone, especially after washing hands or leaving a humid bathroom.
  • Never intentionally submerge or spray the iPhone, even if it states some water resistance.

Being cautious and avoiding direct water exposure will reduce the chances of accidental water damage. But accidents still happen – so have a plan for quickly addressing water exposure just in case.


Water damage is a common hazard for iPhones, but there are steps you can take to recover your device and ways to prevent water exposure in the first place. If your iPhone gets wet, quickly power it off, dry it with care, and let it air out for at least 24 hours. Chances of recovery depend on the extent of the water exposure and if drying was done properly. For phones with severe damage, professional repair services can often salvage an iPhone or replace damaged parts at a lower cost than a full replacement. Using a waterproof case provides the best protection if you’ll be around water. With proper precautions, there’s a good chance of recovering from or avoiding iPhone water damage.