Released September 16, 2016. Model 1660, 1778 Available as GSM or CDMA / 32, 128 or 256 GB / Rose gold, gold, silver, black, and jet black.

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Water damage, no taptic function- but does this mean bad Touch ID too?

So I accidentally took my iPhone 7 underwater in my swim trunks for about 5 minutes, and it was probably 3 feet or so under.

Phone still works, however it claims "Unable to activate touch ID on this Iphone" when I reboot it, and I get no vibration from the taptics functionality. I know that taptics engine is likely shot and needs replaced, but sine it's saying "Unable to Activate touch ID", is it just saying that because the engine is shot, or is that indicating that the touch ID function of the button is shot as well?

In other words, is it possible that JUST the taptics engine is shorted out, and if I replace that, the touch ID functionality will return? Anyone have any stories of seeing this message when JUST the taptic engine was burned out?

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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I have the same problem just wondering what did you end up doing? How did you fix it?


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Thanks for the answers guys. However both the touch ID and the home button seems to be malfunctioning. Neither of them work. Right now I'm using the software version of the home button.

What I'm wondering is if I replace the Taptic Engine only, well that return functionality back to the home button as well as the touch ID functionality? I don't want to buy both parts if I can avoid it. I'm just curious if someone has had the same experience and just replaced the taptic engine and was successful in getting both the home button and the touch ID working again by just replacing back.

Or is it likely I'm screwed and have to replace both pieces?

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On the iPhone 7 the home button is not mechanical, it uses the haptic engine just like the screen does so if your home button is responding then the haptic engine is functioning. If only you Touch ID is being affected you may try cleaning off the home button to remove any dirt or deposits from the water. If that does not work since the phone is rated as water resistant I would take it to the Apple Store and see if they may swap it out under warranty.

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The OP could certainly try but Apple Support specifically states:

This Warranty does not apply: ...(d) to damage caused by accident, abuse, misuse, fire, liquid contact, earthquake or other external cause; ...

On their Technical Specs page, they also say the following:

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are splash, water, and dust resistant and were tested under controlled laboratory conditions with a rating of IP67 under IEC standard 60529. Splash, water, and dust resistance are not permanent conditions and resistance might decrease as a result of normal wear. Do not attempt to charge a wet iPhone; refer to the user guide for cleaning and drying instructions. Liquid damage not covered under warranty.

That is the Canadian version but I'm sure it applies worldwide.

I would certainly can't hurt.


I figured it couldn't hurt, I actually edited the answer when I noticed it should still be under warranty. To add onto my answer Ted until you go to the Apple Store do like Minho said and do not charge the phone or even turn it on as any electricity can cause more damage if moisture has gotten inside the phone. If the warranty try does not work take it to a repair shop that offers water damage treatment. If you take it to a shop ensure you ask how they perform the process. To give you some pointers they should do the following:

-Remove the screen and battery

-Remove the logic board

-Perform a thorough inspection (Under a Microscope) to look for corrosion

-The logic board should be run through an ultrasonic cleaner (Not a jewelry cleaner) with proper cleaner.

-The logic board should be hand cleaned with IPA and dried thoroughly before re-assembly.


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The root cause is dead home button, or contaminated connector/ board, not taptic engine.

On iPhone 7, the home button is entirely solid state instead of a mechanical switch. It has a capacitive touch sensor, a fingerprint sensor and a force sensor. Data for at least fingerprint and touch run on an encrypted SPI link.

In order for the system to register a home button press, touch sensor and force sensor must send valid data at the same time. the phone simulates the pressing and releasing of the button with taptic engine vibrations. The taptic engine is just an iron weight driven by magnetic coils, it is unlikely for it to actually break.

My suggestion is to take it to Apple if you want the phone to be repaired at all. It is possible that Apple missed water damage signs and just replaces the phone for free, if they do notice however, the price will be $319.

If you decide to repair it yourself, please note that there is at least 70% percent chance that you can't do any improvements. Since iPhone 7 home button is all digital and requires both touch and press to activate, the replacement button not only destroys fingerprint, but also as a button itself. In other words the replacement button is ABSOLUTELY USELESS. If you find out that the root cause is indeed fried home button or board, unless you can somehow restore the original parts to working order, you can't repair it in any sense.

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