Water Damage Rescue: How To Fix Water-Damaged iPhone and iPad

Water Damage Rescue: How To Fix Water-Damaged iPhone and iPad

Whether due to a drop in the sink, a slip into the swimming pool, or an unexpected downpour, iPhones and iPads can go from indispensable devices to damaged goods in moments. Despite technological advances, including increased water resistance in recent iPhones and iPads, these devices remain susceptible to damage when exposed to liquids. The experts at Secure Data Recovery outline the essential steps for fixing your water-damaged iPhone and iPad.

Determine the Device’s Water Resistance

Apple has developed numerous water-resistant devices over the past decade. However, not all iPhones and iPads are created equal. Below are the ratings of various iOS devices.

Water-Resistant iPhones

Water resistance started with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. All subsequent models have featured some degree of water and dust resistance. The level of resistance has improved throughout the generations. A device’s water resistance is measured in terms of the depth it can withstand over a period of time.

Device Depth Duration
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus 1 meter 30 minutes
iPhone 8 and 8 Plus 1 meter 30 minutes
iPhone X and XR 1 meter 30 minutes
iPhone SE 2 and SE 3 1 meter 30 minutes
iPhone XS and XS Max 2 meters 30 minutes
iPhone 11 2 meters 30 minutes
iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max 4 meters 30 minutes
iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max 6 meters 30 minutes
iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max 6 meters 30 minutes
iPhone 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro, and 14 Pro Max 6 meters 30 minutes

Water damage is not the biggest concern as long as one of the above models does not exceed its listed depth for longer than 30 minutes. Still, it is important to remember that a water-resistant iPhone is not waterproof.

Even with high ingress protection (IP) ratings, water damage is often not covered under Apple warranties. In addition, water resistances are determined in controlled environments. Real-world scenarios can differ. It is also vital to consider that seals degrade over time and certain repairs, like a screen replacement, can eliminate an iPhone’s water resistance.

iPad Water Resistance

iPads do not have an official water resistance rating. Avoid exposing iPads to splashing or submersion. Exposure to water could harm the internal components of an iPad and should be addressed as soon as possible.

4 Essential Steps When Facing Water Damage

There are several steps to take once an iPhone or iPad comes into contact with water. Oftentimes, the following steps can be the difference between restoring the device to a working condition and needing a new smartphone or tablet:

  1. Power down and wipe off. The first thing to do when an iPhone or iPad gets wet is to power the iPhone and iPad down and wipe it off with a clean, dry, lint-free cloth. Do not plug a cable into the charging port and connect the device to a power source. Avoid pressing buttons and violently shaking the iPhone or iPad. All these actions could cause additional damage or push water further into the device.
  2. Remove accessories and SIM card. If applicable, remove the device’s case, SIM card, and other accessories. This practice helps eject water lodged in problematic areas and prevent additional damage to the SIM card.
  3. Be patient. Allow the wet iPhone or iPad time to air dry. For best results, place the device in an upright position in a dry location with sufficient airflow. An upright position makes it easier for water to drain from the iPhone or iPad’s connector. Do not apply an external heat source like a hairdryer to the device. The sustained heat could damage its internal components.
  4. Use silica gel packets. Silica gel packets, which come with dozens of electronics and household goods, are excellent at absorbing moisture. If available, insert the iPhone or iPad in a storage bag with silica gel packets and let it sit for 24 to 48 hours. Uncooked rice is a popular alternative, but it is not an ideal desiccant, as other particulates could enter the device.

The goal is to minimize potential damage by removing as much moisture as possible from the iPhone or iPad. After drying, continue to monitor the device for any signs of lingering moisture or permanent damage.

While these techniques can mitigate the effects of water damage, they do not guarantee that an iPhone or iPad will survive. Professional repair services might be necessary in cases of severe water damage.

Use an App To Eject Water From Speaker

Power on the device after it has dried. If it starts, use an Apple Shortcuts to eject the remaining water from an iPhone or iPad speaker.

Apple Shortcuts is an iOS application that automates various tasks. The application comes with a selection of pre-made shortcuts that can help set morning alarms, calculate tips at restaurants, or provide directions to a destination.

Although there is not a pre-made shortcut to eject water from iPhones or iPads, users created one based on an Apple Watch feature. The shortcut uses specific frequencies to force water from the speaker openings. To eject water from iPhone or iPad speakers:

  1. Search for the Water Eject shortcut.
  2. Download Water Eject. This might require allowing untrusted shortcuts. To permit untrusted shortcuts, go to Settings → Shortcuts → Allow Untrusted Shortcuts.
  3. Open the Water Eject shortcut in the Apple Shortcuts application.
  4. Point the speakers down as Water Eject begins to play the series of sounds. It will facilitate the natural flow of water.

This shortcut will not dry the iPhone or iPad, but it can reduce the amount of water in the device’s speakers.

Contact Apple Support or visit an Apple Store if the smartphone or tablet was submerged for an extended period.

When To Seek Professional Help

Here are several indications that professional help might be needed for water-damaged iPhones or iPads:

  1. The device does not start. An iPhone or iPad that does not power on could indicate a severe problem. A professional could diagnose and repair it.
  2. There is visible water damage. If there is moisture inside the screen, or other signs of water damage, seek assistance as soon as possible.
  3. There are functional issues. An unresponsive touchscreen, distorted audio, or defective battery could warrant further evaluation.
  4. The liquid contact indicator (LCI) is active. All iPhones have a strip that changes color when it comes into contact with liquid. Upon contact, the LCI will turn red, and could signal the need for professional services.

Apple understands how to fix water-damaged iPhones and iPads. However, it is important to note that water damage is not covered under Apple’s standard warranty, meaning out-of-pocket costs might be incurred. AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss covers water damage, but a deductible will apply.

Third-party repairs are also an option, but ensure these services are reputable.

A professional opinion can help even if the device appears functional after exposure to water. It could prevent issues from arising at a later date.

iPhone Data Recovery After Water Damage

Don’t panic if your iPhone or iPad seems inaccessible following water damage.

Since 2007, the experts at Secure Data Recovery have recovered data from countless devices that suffered catastrophic failure, including iPhones with water damage. Our iPhone data recovery services include salvaging photos, videos, and other information from devices that will not start. It doesn’t matter if you dropped your iOS device in the sink, left it outside during a storm, or spilled liquid on it. We can help reunite you with your digital memories.

Our 96% success rate is a testament to our experience and expertise. As part of our service options, we offer a free diagnostic and a “No Data, No Recovery Fee” guarantee. We recover your lost data, or you pay nothing.

Call 800-388-1266 to speak with a data recovery adviser and start a case.

Category: How to Guides
T.J. Burlee, Tech Enthusiast
Article by

T.J. Burlee is a content writer for Secure Data Recovery Services. He specializes in various topics in the data industry, including data recovery technology, storage devices, and digital forensics. Throughout his career, he has covered complex concepts and provided accessible solutions for users. Before joining Secure Data, he worked as a freelance technical writer.

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