How to Fix a Water Damaged iPhone

Oh no! You’ve just dropped your phone in a puddle of water—what do you do now? Even on the latest iPhones which claim to be highly water resistant, moisture can seriously damage your phone. Unfortunately, fixing serious water damage is not something you’ll likely be able to do on your own. However, don’t give up hope just yet. We’ve put together some essential strategies that can help you quickly learn how to fix water damaged iPhone in no time at all!

SOS: I Just Dropped My iPhone in Water, What Do I Do?

Before You Do Anything:

If your phone is still on, shut it down immediately. You may also need to do a forced shutdown if the screen has become water damaged.

Step 1: Remove Liquid from Your Phone’s Exterior

Wet iPhone 7

First, remove your iPhone from its case (if it’s in one) ensuring your keep horizontal with the screen pointed downward. To be safe you want to assume, there’s liquid inside the phone and you want to make sure it doesn’t move and damage other internal components.

From here, use a soft cloth preferable microfiber to gently remove water on the outside of the phone. Don’t use anything like paper towel or tissue which may fall apart and leave debris inside or on your phone.

Step 2: Remove Your SIM Card


iPhone Remove Sim Card

SIM Cards are pretty resilient and should be able to survive water damage unless they’ve been exposed for a long time. Remove your SIM card. If you have a fan (don’t use a hairdryer—it can damage your phone) blow cool air directly into the SIM card slot or lightning part. Leave enough space for air to blow, you don’t need to set the fan on a high setting. A light breeze is enough to assist the evaporation process.

Step 3: Place Your iPhone Gently on a Dry Surface

Find a low humidity, flat spot around your house. Do not put your iPhone inside containers as they make evaporation more difficult. Likewise, do not tilt your phone make sure it remains flat. Despite what you read on the internet, you don’t want to drop it in a bag of rice. This will definitely cause the water to move to other internal parts.

Step 4: Place Desiccants On Top of Your Phone


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Desiccants are something we see all the time, but probably don’t know the word for. These products help dry out objects around them. They are the little packets you find inside packages of vitamins, food, clothing, and even electronics. Next time you receive a package, keep a few in a handy location for just this reason. However, do not use rice! Rice will only cause more problems.

Why Can’t I Use Rice?

This is one of the most common myths on not just how to fix water damaged iPhones, but most electronics. More and more research is showing the putting electronics isn’t any more effective than just leaving them out in the open. What’s more, putting them in rice may actually damage the phone even more. As mentioned, you don’t want to tilt the phone in any way as that can cause additional damage. Moreover, rice grains can get wedged in places like your lightning port or headphone jack and it can be nearly impossible to remove them or they can expand with water, damaging sensitive internal components.

iPhone in Rice


Step 5: You Need to Patient

After you’ve followed these emergency steps, it’s time to walk away from your phone and wait. You need to move your phone as little as possible during this time. By leaving the phone in an open, dry place as well as emptying the sim card slot, you’re creating more opportunities for water to evaporate.

Although Apple says you can wait a minimum of 5 hours, it’s best to wait at least 24 hours before attempting to power your phone back on. The more time you can wait, the better as it will give the water more time to evaporate and prevent any further damage.

Step 6: Time to Power Back On

After waiting 24 hours at least, it’s time to attempt to power back in your phone. Be sure to keep your iPhone on the flat surface trying to move it as little as possible. First, try the power button. If that doesn’t work, your phone battery might be dead. In that case, plug in and see if your phone turns on after charging for a few minutes.

Step 7: Backup Your Phone Via iTunes/iCloud

iCloud Backup

If you do manage to turn your phone back on, you should go back immediately to iCloud or iTunes. In some cases, water damage can spread even after waiting for a few days so you want to use this opportunity to save any data while you can.

How to Check for Water Damage

LCI Damage 

Although the signs of water damage can sometimes be invisible, apple actually makes it quite easy to tell if your phone has suffered water damage. Other than obvious signs of moisture or damage to parts of your phone, you can quickly check for water damage by looking at the liquid contact indicators (LCI).

For all iPhones starting from the iPhone 5 to the most current, you can find this in the same place as the sim card slot. For older models, you may find it on the headphone jack or charging port.

Checking the LCI on a Newer iPhone

Use a paperclip or SIM card removal tool to remove the sim tray. Be sure the exterior of your phone is completely dry before you do this. Use a flashlight and check the LCI. If it has turned red, that means your phone has suffered water damage. Note, this also means it’s not covered by Applecare and you’ll have to pay for any repairs necessary to get your phone working again.

Checking the LCI on an Older iPhone

Check at the bottom of the charging port and see if the LCI has turned red. Likewise, if it has turned red then it will not be covered though these phones have long been out of Applecare coverage anyway.

Less Obvious Signs of Water Damage

Some of the less obvious warning signs of water damage include:

  1. Phone feels very hot
  2. Speakers making a buzzing sounds
  3. Phone is unable to recognize sim card
  4. Screen only shows the Apple logo but doesn’t boot
  5. Your camera isn’t working
  6. Your flashlight is stuck on
  7. Your phone thinks headphones are currently plugged in when they aren’t

What Should I Do If These Steps Don’t Help Me?

Check your Applecare warranty. If you’re still under warranty, you may be able to get service at a discounted price. You can also take your phone to a repair shop who may be able to help you. In some cases, it may simply not be worth the cost to fix a water damaged iPhone. If that happens to you, Buyback Boss will buy your phone even if it has been water damaged. Check here to see how much money you can get for your phone.

For more essential iPhone tips, tricks, and Apple news then head over to our blog to learn even more!