Saturday, December 27, 2014

How to fix a water damaged iPhone 5S, 5C, 5, 4S or 4

Things to do when your iPhone comes in contact with liquid:

  • Remove the battery immediately if possible.
  • Don’t try to plug-in/charge your water damaged iPhone. Also, don’t try to switch it on. In fact, you should immediately switch off the phone if it’s not already. This will prevent any further damage because of short circuit.
  • Don’t use hair dryer. The heat from hair dryer may damage any component. Also, the air flow might push the liquid far inside making it difficult to clean.
This tutorial comes from my personal experience.

My friend's iphone 4s fell into a cup of coffee .. and was submerged in water/liquid for atleast 20-35mins.

The iPhone 4s had corrosion inside indicating liquid  damage. Anyways, I carefully cleaned everything using a Swap and toothbrush.

Mostly, it’s the logic-board/motherboard that gets damaged due to liquid contact. There are very thin and small circuits on the board. Even very little amount of liquid may cause a short preventing booting of the phone.
There are three ways to recover from liquid damage.
  1. Swab & Toothbrush
  2. Cleaning the complete board with alcohol solution like IsoPropyl Alcohol(70%-90%)
  3. You can try this if the phone still has water or is wet, I didn't quite need it since the phone had already dried up, No liquid. (Moisture absorbing agent)

    Moisture absorbing agent

    When there is a severe water damage, you need a better and proper moisture absorbent than rice. The method is same as earlier. You just place the phone with moisture absorbing agent rather than putting it into rice. A good water rescue kit works within 6-24 hours and 600-700% more effective than rice.

    Kensington EVAP Water Rescue Kit 


    Cleaning the complete board with alcohol solution like IsoPropyl Alcohol

    This is the last method when liquid damage is extremely severe. It’s also useful when you are not able to use above two methods within few hours of liquid damage and liquid has gone deeper inside. I will work with any sort of liquid damage like tea, coffee, beer etc.
    However, you’ll need to open your iPhone for this.

    Required Tools:
  4. iPhone opening/repair kit
  5. IsoPropyl Alcohol solution for cleaning,
  6. A toothbrush and
  7. little bit of courage

Now that you have the required tools, you’ll need to open your iPhone and clean it properly and thoroughly.

Given below pics of the required tools so that you can get one for you.
You can find these on Ebay or Amazon
iPhone opening/repair tool (make sure to search the tool for your iphone)
IsoPropyl Alcohol solution

On youtube you can find tons of videos/guides on how to open different iPhone Models.

Don’t forget to remove the metal covers in the motherboard. You’ll find them when you take out the motherboard from the phone. Many important components like baseband, RAM, Memory, Processing chip etc are covered with a metal sheet to protect them from liquid. However, when the liquid damage is sever, it might reach inside those covers.

Your problem may be hidden behind those covers if you fail to properly clean them.
Clean the complete board gently with the brush. Spray the Isopropyl cleaner all over the board. Be liberal with the usage of cleaning liquid. It won’t harm any of the component of the board.
Once you are sure about cleaning each and every part of the board thoroughly, give it some time to dry. Put every thing back together once dried and try to switch it on.

You should have a working iPhone ..  

*Note: I had to replace the LCD/Digitizer & also the battery since it had been fried. These items can be replaced and bought on Ebay or Amazon. Once you have everything back on .. Turn it on .. Plug it into your Computer. 


If you get the apple logo and just loops ( in a reboot loop,) Then you might need a new battery .. to confirm this .. take battery out and leave it off .. plug in the iphone without battery.. if it does the same thing (reboot loop) .. then yes you need a new battery.

If screen shows signs of water, water marks, bubbles . . you might need another screen (LCD/Digitizer) you can get this on Ebay or Amazon

Hope this guide helps those who want to either DIY project .. or just wanna save money .. $$$ or make it a hobby. Drop some love ... Post pics :)

Your boy,


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