Technique: Repairing iPhone Liquid Damage

Member-Contributed Guide

Member-Contributed Guide

An awesome member of our community made this guide. It is not managed by iFixit staff.

This guide will help assess damage done to an iPhone that has been submerged or splashed with a liquid, while suggesting techniques to prevent further internal damage and corrosion.

  • Author: pollytintop
  • Time required: one or two hours
  • Difficulty: Difficult

Refer to the iPhone repair guides for instructions on disassembling your iPhone. You may need a soft brush, isopropyl alcohol, and a container that is large enough to submerge your iPhones' logic board in alcohol. The cleaning steps may require several repetitions to achieve a good result. These cleaning suggestions may not restore your phone to working order, but once you have eliminated any liquid and cleaned away any corrosion or debris you may be able to determine if any parts need to be replaced. For more information consult the Electronics Water Damage page.

Image #1

Edit Step 1 Assessing visible external damage  ¶ 

  • Look for liquid or residue between the touchscreen and LCD. This phone shows water build-up between the touchscreen and LCD, and most likely contains more liquid inside.

  • In this case, there is no obvious damage or corrosion in the external dock connector.

  • There is no obvious damage or corrosion in the headphone jack.

Image #1

Edit Step 2 Disassembly  ¶ 

  • Liquid damage inside the phone may complicate disassembly. Beware of cables and connectors that may be adhered to other components in unexpected ways.

  • Lifting the front panel of this phone, the flex for the dock connector has stuck to the back of the midframe.

Image #1

Edit Step 3 Assessing visible internal damage  ¶ 

  • The water damage sticker is now pink, indicating that the inside of this phone was flooded with liquid.

  • Residue and corrosion discoloration can clearly be seen on the connectors for the LCD, Digitizer, and proximity sensor, as well as the camera and SIM card slot.

Image #1

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • The dock connector water sensor sticker has turned pink too, indicating liquid flooding of this end of the phone.

  • The top of this dock connector looks fairly clean, with only a few green corrosive changes near connector 4.

Image #1

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • The rear of the display assembly shows more green corrosion and debris on the LCD and digitizer connectors.

  • Removing the LCD and the back cover of the ear speaker and proximity sensor assembly reveals liquid damage to the speaker.

  • The proximity sensor is only lightly damaged.

Image #1

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Closer inspection of proximity sensor/earpiece flex reveals more corrosion damage.

Image #1

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • After removing the logic board, more liquid damage is visible.

  • The vibration motor has some rust.

  • The battery pins have corroded.

Image #1

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Headphone jack connector 5, the vibration motor, and the volume switch show some light corrosion.

Image #1

Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Rear of motherboard showing some signs of corrosion to battery contacts.

Image #1

Edit Step 10 Removing the logic board shield cover  ¶ 

  • Depending on the nature of the liquid damage, removing this shield may not be necessary, and doing so risks damaging the small components mounted on the logic board. If you decide to remove the shield, proceed cautiously and use a plastic tool such as a spudger, or a plastic opening tool to lever off the shield.

  • Look for the dimpled tabs on the shield that reach down over the tabs attached to the mother board.

  • Using your plastic tool, catch the edge of a dimpled tab near a corner of the shield, and pry it up away from the logic board.

  • Being careful of all the tiny surface mounted components, work your way around the available edges until the shield comes free.

Image #1

Edit Step 11 Cleaning the logic board  ¶ 

  • Submerge the logic board in isopropyl alcohol, and allow it to soak long enough to loosen hardened residue, and to displace any remaining water or other liquid. Use a soft brush to remove visible corrosion and residue.

  • Residue from motherboard left in isopropyl alcohol container.

  • Clean all flex ends, battery contacts, connectors, chips, and fuses on motherboard with a soft brush.

  • Repeat cleaning if necessary, or if traces of residue are still visible.

  • Allow the logic board or other parts to dry completely before reassembly.

Image #1

Edit Step 12 Cleaning the LCD  ¶ 

  • Wipe LCD with cloth moistened with isopropyl alcohol. Immersion isn't advised, as liquid may leave a mark behind the LCD.

  • This is the screen after cleaning. Water mark is no longer visible.

To reassemble your device refer to the iPhone repair guides for your particular phone.

After repeated cleaning, this example phone needed connectors 1, 2, and 3 replaced on the logic board, a new LCD, and digitizer. Corrosion on the cable ends and connectors could not be adequately removed. All other functions worked and this iPhone is now back in working order. Good luck. Hopefully this guide demonstrates that liquid damage to your iPhone isn't always obvious or visible and that disassembly and cleaning may benefit some phones exposed to liquid.

For more information, check out the iPhone device page.

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Plastic Opening Tools

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Comments Comments are onturn off

Thanks!

I fixed my iPhone 3GS that got lots of water in!!!

thanks for a great guide!

Shai, · Reply

you're welcome shai, hope all the other repairs go so well

pollytintop,

Good stuff :D

martin, · Reply

Thank you so much! I fixed my iPhone 3G, 4 months after I put it in the washer!!

Ivan,

Hi, I have a quick question. Is 70% Isopropyl alcohol good enough to clean the logic board or does it HAVE to be either 90% or 99%? Thank you so much for your help.

Andrew Novotny, · Reply

70% will work, but the higher the concentration the better.

Chandler Skinner,

Man this is amazing. I did it and my iphone 4 is working now even after 2 years of lying down on my desk like a toy. I droped it down to a lake :( And becouse of this guide its back to working.

Sugriwa, · Reply

Hi, does this work for a blackberry z10?

Manuela, · Reply

Hi does this work for a blackberry z10?

Manuela, · Reply

Hi I have water damage on my iPhone 5 and I would like to fix it.

I didn't understand if you can/have to clean all the parts where there's some corrosion visible or just the logic board and LCD? Will it help if I clean everything with a cloth moistened in isopropyl alcohol?

Noel, · Reply

We use an ultrasonic cleaner with a fluid designed for cleaning logic boards. It seems to do a much better job than when we cleaned them with alcohol in the past.

dlash, · Reply

Was it worth replacing all those parts vs buying a used one? plus you never know if something else is wrong when you fix the one spot you think could be the cause. I dropped my xperia x10. It's still working great nowin the shallows and turned it off right away and straight to a hair dryer for2 hrs with a quick blow of cold air through it, gradually warming it up to as hot as i dared. it was in a really soft tight case and i am sure thats what saved it (90%) the rest i attribute to the original plastic wrap that came with it brand new!! yah i get more anal about keeping things brand new the more xpensive they get.. Thanks for the article tho, you brought up a lot of great points.

Jose Qadir, · Reply

followed the guide, in my case my son had spilled Pepsi all over his phone. Got it cleaned up and running pretty much ok. thanks - but -

I have full functionality back, with the exception of the phone will turn itself off and on again quite frequently. It works ok apart from this.

Is it worth further cleaning? Could this be one specific component that is still faulty?

Dave, · Reply

halo sir my iphone 3gs 32gb has dead. charging time adapter is burn and phone is dead how i solve problem?

vijay, · Reply

I cleaned these Battery contacts, and then one of the contacts lost its GOLD color, and got some black signs :/

Is this ok?

Please see the pic:

http://img42.imageshack.us/img42/5630/im...

Shai, · Reply

it should be ok.

pollytintop,

Hi,

you didn't show what and how to clecn the LCD.. Just put it inside the isopropyl alcohol container that we had used for the Motherboard?

Shai, · Reply

"wipe" means with a cloth moistened in alcohol.

pollytintop,

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