Posted on July 6, 2012
In our experience here at RepairLabs, there are a few things that you can do to save your water damaged iPhone. Yes, there are a TON of people out there on the internets who claim they know the right way to save a water damaged iPhone.
Plonk. That awful sound when you realize your phone is in the toilet.
Facepalm. That awful moment when you know you’re going to have to fish it out. Fast.
But now what? Now that you know your phone has water damage, what do you do? You get on the Internet and figure out how to save it. You read five or ten articles and they tell you the same things over and over. Put it in rice. Remove the SIM card. Take out the battery. Big help. Only an expert with a specialized jewelry flathead screwdriver can get the battery out of an iPhone. And the rice trick is dubious at best. We know that everybody on the internet swears by it. This is the guide that will tell you what really works and what doesn’t. It’ll probably say some unpopular things, going against common Net wisdom, so we’ll get all the Heresy out of the way right at the beginning.
The Myths of How to Save a Water Damaged iPhone.
So, should you really put it in a bag of rice, or is that just a myth? It sure makes ya feel better. Almost like you have some control over the situation. Yes, rice is a desiccant, just like those silica gel packs you find in beef jerky bags. They keep things from getting…chewy. If you want to leave it in rice while you wait your 48 hours, be our guest. It can’t really hurt anything. To try the rice trick, simply seal your phone in a Ziploc full of rice, making sure to get all the extra air out of it. Leave your water damaged iPhone off for at least 48 hours in the rice. But we’ve fixed hundreds of wet, water damaged iPhones here, and you wouldn’t believe how many of those actually arrive here in that bag of rice. It just doesn’t help. It doesn’t do anything but waste rice.
Other people recommend silica gel packs or desiccant, but we rarely have those on hand, and time is of the essence in taking out the moisture. Rust and corrosion can begin to develop in one day.
- DON’T: Shake your iPhone to get out any extra water that was in it. It seems like a really great idea, but it’s not. You want to prevent the water from moving across any circuitry. This is when you can actually do extra damage causing shorts and corrosion that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
- DON’T: Worry about taking out the SIM card. You can’t remove the iPhone’s battery, and we don’t recommend trying, given all the delicate innards of the device.
- DON’T: try sucking out the extra moisture with a vacuum cleaner hose and nozzle. This is just is another opportunity for water to move across more circuitry.
- DON’T put it in the oven. This can melt tiny pieces of logic board. We’ve actually fixed a phone that someone put in the oven to dry out. Never put a water damaged iPhone in the microwave. This will destroy both the phone and the microwave, and then burn your entire house down.
So what SHOULD you do?
Water Damaged iPhone Triage. What to do:
Okay, so your phone has gone swimming.
Your warranty is now void. Don’t worry about voiding it. iPhone warranties don’t cover water damage, and remember, you can’t trick the guys at Apple. They have liquid sensors all over those little phones. Check out what they look like here. You’ll see white strips, some with red stripes, inside your phone (in the headphone jack, for instance) that will turn pink or bleed if the phone’s been exposed to water damage. We’ve repaired hundreds of cell phones and these are the things that we know from experience that work:
- Get that phone out of the water ASAP.
- THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART: Power it off immediately. If it hasn’t already powered off, turn it off. If it won’t stop “Pinwheeling” or you can’t “slide to power off,” do a hard shutdown (press the home button and the screen button and hold for 10 seconds until the device powers off). This is critical; it’s your best chance to save your device.
- Remove all peripherals and covers attached to the phone.
- If it’s been totally submerged in salt water or chlorinated water, go ahead and rinse it in tap water. This will prevent the chlorinated and salt water from crystalizing in your device, again causing shorts. If your iPhone was just splashed or sprinkled, it doesn’t count. Only do this if your device was submerged and soaked.
- Gently blow dry with a hairdryer on the lowest setting. Many articles say to never do this. They believe you are stupid and will melt your own logic boards. We think you’re smart enough to work a hair dryer. Keep the dryer moving at all times and don’t let the phone get hot. 15 minutes should be plenty. The idea is to evaporate the moisture without moving it across any more circuitry, exposing it to more possible short outs. The important part is to get a warm steady stream of dry air, so in theory you could even leave it in front of the heater vent overnight with the same effect.
- Leave it alone for at least 48 hours before you even THINK of turning it back on. If it’s going to come back to life, this is your chance. 48 hours at a miniumum, 72 is better. Utilize this time to unplug, and reconnect with your family. (Hear 1950s informational film voice.) If the device was in the water for more than a minute, at least 6-7 days.
- If you are stout of heart, and can stand submerging the device again you can try an alcohol bath, as FiscalGeek explains in this great article. Alcohol won’t harm your phone (any more than it’s already been harmed by the water damage), and will dry out any extra moisture in it. You’ll need denatured alcohol. (Available at Walmart and hardware stores, usually around the paint sections.)A 95% alcohol solution is best (rubbing alcohol is around 75%), and not suitable for human consumption. Please do not submerge your phone in Cake Vodka. Or any vodka.
- Get a container slightly larger than the phone, and fill with alcohol.
- Remove any plugs or covers on the phone, so that the liquid can get it.
- Submerge your phone in the liquid. You may need to weight it down.
- Gently jiggle the container around to make certain the alcohol can flush out all of the water.
- Soak it for at least 5 minutes. You can repeat this step if you aren’t successful the first time.
- Take your iphone out of the liquid and let it dry. The alcohol evaporates very quickly but you want to be certain no water remains that can cause short-outs.
The overarching theme of all the research I’ve done on this leads to one point. You don’t turn that phone back on. No matter how worried you are or how upset or how much you just really really neeeed to see if you got any text messages. This is the time that short circuits can occur. You must give it time for all that water to dry out and prevent further damage.
If after 72 hours or an alcohol bath it won’t power back on, it’s time to send it in to us. Sometimes, even if it does come back to life, it’s sustained some corrosion damage from the moisture. (What we’re aiming to prevent with the alcohol bath.) It may power on but behave erratically with different functionalities of the phone working and not. Water damage does some weird stuff to an iPhone, like making it vibrate at the wrong times, or making the WiFi not work.
The good news is that it’s fixable. Even if Apple won’t, we fix ‘em all the time, and it’s almost always cheaper to fix a water damaged iPhone than to replace it. (We can do it for as little as forty bucks.) You can see some of our water damage fix options here.
Under: Water Damaged iPhone.
by Curtis Taylor, Tech Expert, Freelance Writer.
Posted on January 25, 2012
We know you hate it when your phone slips out of your fingers and into that puddle of water. Or when you forget it in your pocket and it goes through the washer. There is nothing worse for your device than water. Our water damage repair specialists have an excellent reputation of restoring soaked devices, but not every device can be saved. A lot of it comes down to what you do right after the device gets wet.
Should you accidentally drench your favorite device, there are a few steps that will help minimize the damage.
- Don't attempt to turn the device on. If it's miraculously still on, turn it off. Continuing to use your iPhone or iPad after it's had water damage will cause more problems than a few days' use is worth.
- If you can, remove the battery. Don't pry open your iPhone or iPad unless you're experienced, but removing the battery will prevent a lot of corrosion.
- If you dropped your device in chlorinated or salt water, try putting it in an alcohol bath. (Rubbing alcohol, scotch won't help you here) This will help draw out the worst of those particles that can cause a lot of problems.
- Send it to an iPhone repair specialist right away. Waiting to send off your device will only give that water more time to seep into the vital parts of your iDevice, giving it time to corrode valuable connections. One tip our top water damage specialist gives is putting your device in front of a fan before you package it up. It won't dry it out or solve your problems, but it can help minimize the damage.
Following these easy steps will help cut down on your device's damage and might end up saving your favorite toy.
Posted on November 22, 2010
Your iPhone and/or iPad probably have a very important role in your life. You take it with you wherever you go and rely on it for staying in touch, staying productive and staying current on things that matter to you. But then the day comes when you make that fatal mistake - your iPhone and/or iPad gets exposed to liquid and stops working.
Now you start to panic. Your dear little Apple gadget that was a source of happiness and pride just moments ago is now a waterlogged brick of nothing. Immediately you consult your Apple warranty for help. Unfortunately, this will get you nowhere.
Your iPhone or iPad comes equipped with liquid sensors inside that will tell any technician whether or not the device has come in contact with liquid. If this is the case, you are out of luck with Apple. They will not cover water-damaged devices with their warranty. But you don't want to spend another few hundred bucks on a replacement. What do you do next?
Naturally you do what the rest of the tech-savvy world does at this point – consult the Internet!
There are many articles and videos on the Web that attempt to give you helpful advice on curing your water damage problem. Some will tell you to immerse it in a bag of rice to dry it out for a couple days. Or you could put it into a plastic bag with silica packets and see if that does the trick. Some will say you can put it into a hearing aid dryer for a few hours.
So now you’ve done as the Internet has advised to try and dry out your device, but it is still giving you problems. You turn it on and it works for a while, but when the battery life gets to a certain point it gives you problems again. Now what? You still don’t want to spend the hundreds of dollars on a replacement. Meanwhile you are losing time.
The conclusion that everyone in this situation comes to is eventually the same – get a new device or have it repaired by professionals. That’s where Repair Labs comes in.
Repair Labs has fixed water-damaged iPhones and iPads for our customers nationwide. People who thought that they would never get another second of use out of their devices have trusted us with their water damage repair and we have delivered. If you have what seems like a hopeless water damaged iPhone or iPad, check out our repair services here.
by Curtis Taylor, Tech Expert, Freelance Writer.