Sixth iteration of Apple iPhone, announced on September 12, 2012. Repair of this device is similar to the previous models, requiring screwdrivers and prying tools. Available as GSM or CDMA / 16, 32, or 64 GB / Black or White.

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Stuck in reboot loop and recovery mode after water damage

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I accidentally left my iPhone 5 in my pocket and the phone went through a wash cycle in the washing machine. As soon as I found it, I left the phone in rice for 3 days. After which, the phone was suck in a connect to itunes screen where the itunes logo was red - not the usual blue. The phone would also not power on under its own power but would only show signs of life when plugged in. This lead me to think the problem was a faulty battery, so I ordered a new one.

After some online reading, I bought some isopropyl alcohol and cleaned the logic board with an old toothbrush. There was no change.

I borrowed a friends iPhone 5 and swapped out the battery but still no change. I eventually swapped out the logic board and the phone comes on fine so I know the problem is with the logic board and nothing else.

I also tried to do a restore of the phone but gave me the error 21. I know this error could be caused by the hosts file, but I have restored the other iPhone on the same pc so it is not that. After more reading, I think the problem must be in the battery connector.

I have inspected and further cleaned the battery connector, but to no avail. The battery connector looks fine, no obvious damage. There was initially a very small amount of corrosion in a small area near the connector - but not on it, which I cleaned with the alcohol.

I have since downloaded tinyumbrella to see if it could kick my phone out of recovery. However, this has only left the phone in an endless reboot loop and cannot be recognised by itunes. The phone still only powers up when charging.

Is there anything I can do to try and fix this issue? If I find a fix I will keep this updated as I have seen many people experience the same issue.


Edit: I have attached photos to try and show the connector. Sorry for the poor quality as they were taken from another iPhone. You can see there are two gold circles which have faded. Components behind the far left pin of the connector have also faded. I hope this helps.


I have done some more digging and have noticed, with help of a magnifying glass, that the chip C9 is not present on the board. There isnt a lot of material online ragarding this cpaicitor but I think this may be my issue. You can sort of see it in the top picture directly behind the second pin from the left, it is not present.

Answer this question I have this problem too

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Any updates on this? I have exactly the same problem: water damage, iPhone 5 only works when connected to external power, boot loop or recovery mode without the ability to restore.


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You definitely need to get a hold of someone who knows micro-soldering with a good microscope. On the iFixit youtube channel they just had a whole week of videos on this subject. once that small component is replaced your phone should work.

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