iPhone Water Damage Repair

Have you gotten your iPhone wet and it no longer turns on? Send it in to Wires Computing- we fix liquid damaged phones every day.

water iphone 6

Here's how the repair process works:

  • First we take it apart and look at it. We examine scope and severity of damage by looking on the board for corrosion, burnt components, and your garden variety schmutz. 
  • Next we see what it "pulls" when plugged into an ammeter, and confirm that its dry. The board cannot still be wet when plugged into anything, and so if it is it must be left to dry until it's safe to plug in.
  • Now we watch it carefully to see that nothing is physically burning on the motherboard while we observe the current being drawn. This will vary drastically from one repair to the next, but this an important part of diagnosing the scope of damage. Readings can be very low, to zero, to a full amp or half amp. This tells us where the problem is and determines whether or not the phone has a power issue. If it does- then we start from there.
  • If the phone doesn't turn on, that's the first thing that we have to fix.
    • Make sure battery line isn't grounded. Inspect the battery and charging port area for damage. Check for shorts on any of those lines using a digital multimeter and utilize the schematics for the board as a guide to what components are part of which lines.
    • Pull off all capacitors that are shorted until the line is either un-shorted or there aren't any capacitors left (although they are important for normal function, capacitors are nonessential- and the phone will turn on without them).
    • Once the phone's power issues have been triaged we can turn it back on (typically we would plug it into iTunes to see that it is recognized and not in DFU mode). From here, further board-level issues should be apparent according to functionality issues.Use them as a guide with the help of the board schematics to pinpoint new areas of damage to tackle. 
iphone liquid damage
  • The issue with liquid damage is that every case is entirely unique- and so there is no play-by-play for fixing it. Some phones come in and they don't look that bad, yet the damage is much deeper than surface level- while other boards might have heavy corrosion that all happens to be surface level, and can be resurrected relatively easily.
  • The board behavior and how well we can assess the issue are the only tools that really exist from this point. Using schematics we can identify lines that are shorted or have blown filters, and go from component to component looking for damage with a DMM in diode mode. Shorted spots can be pulled off the board and the line retested- or if there is no short, a blown filter may be suspect. Filters can be pulled off the board and replaced with functional ones (typically from donor boards).
  • Ultrasonic: Ideally we want the phone to be fixed before ultrasonicing the board. We will want to get rid of anything that can be seen and deal with before resorting to ultrasonicing unless there's too much corrosion to be able to work on an area. In that case we might use it as a means of cleaning up the board for further repair. However, it's imperative that we take good pictures of the board prior, because the second that the board is scrubbed, all of the clues for what's broken/where problem areas are on the board are gone. Don't underestimate how helpful areas of corrosion can be in the repair process.
  • Most times a screen replacement will also be needed since the backlight might've gotten wet as well. This will be part of the repair cost, which typically ranges from $100-250 total depending on the extent of the damage.
                                                      Using rice to "dry" a phone is a myth and does nothing to repair or fix the phone.

                                                      Using rice to "dry" a phone is a myth and does nothing to repair or fix the phone.

 

Tips for people that are scared that their phone has gotten wet:

  • Rice does nothing- this is a myth. Rice is for dinner.
  • Shut it off, and if possible open it up and unplug the battery.
  • Or, take it to your local phone repair shop to open it up and unplug the battery for you.
  • If you are able to get to a shop and open your phone up- leave it open and off for a couple days to dry out. 
  • From here, it just depends on your luck. If you're lucky, your phone will turn on and behave normally for the rest of your time with it. If you don't happen to be so lucky, your phone might be exhibiting an number of issues.
  • From this point, all you can really do is send it in for repair.