Released on September 19, 2014, this 4.7" screen iPhone is the smaller version of the iPhone 6 Plus.

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Slight water damage, where to start?

Good morning all,

Working on my wife's iPhone 6. She was running back in April of this year and got caught out in a pretty good rainstorm. The phone itself was secure in the front pocket of a rain jacket but she had her earbuds in. It seems as the water tracked down the cord from the earbuds and got into the phone.

When she got home, the screen was acting funny and not responding well. We let the phone dry out for several hours and tried a hair dryer several times. Later that evening it started working properly so we decided to back it up to iTunes on our PC. That was were the fatal error occurred. About half way though the back up , the phone died. Phone went black and won't power up. It also felt warm to the touch. I took the phone apart and the water indicator next to the sim card was only slightly pink around the lower edge but there were signs of moisture in the phone. She went and bought a 7 and the 6 has been receiving the silica treatment since.

I'm still operating on an iPhone 5 and would like to revive this 6. I've made several iPhone and iPad repairs (screens, batteries, start buttons, etc) so I feel comfortable diving into this. However, I'd love some guidance on where to start. I would assume the battery, but was curious if there is a way to check the voltage on this. Any guidance is much appreciated, this phone is in mint shape and I'd love to save it.

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Use this guide on the logic board, and get a new battery ASAP.

Electronics Water Damage

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With water damage, you have to decontaminate the logic board before doing anything else, otherwise there will be latent issues down the road even if it "works".

In your case, leaving a water damaged phone in silica gel for 3 months is not conducive to reviving this phone unless you have only minor and localized damage.

The water is inside the phone, on the logic board and under the shields, even under the IC's. The real problem is the mineral deposits that can cause short circuits or the corrosion that is taking place as the water evaporates. Leaving the power on the device accelerates the process. The longer you let a phone sit in silica gel (or rice), the more time you are giving corrosion to damage your logic board. The saltier or harder the water is, the more damage will occur. The water needs to be displaced, not evaporated.

This is what I would try for now:

  • Open your phone and remove the logic board (follow this guide)
  • Inspect the logic board, especially around the connectors and look for corrosion.
  • Inspect both sides of the board. Unfortunately, 80% of the board is covered in shields. That's usually where the damage is occurring.
  • Put your board in a container with >90% isopropyl alcohol and let it sit for a while.
  • Use a soft brush, like a toothbrush and lightly brush away any corrosion you see.
  • Rinse in alcohol and repeat.
  • Let it air dry for a day.
  • Re-assemble and hope for the best.

You should also consider getting a new battery if it has swollen. Resist the temptation to pop it to let the gas out. A compromised Li-ion battery is a fire hazard. If the device appears to power up but behaves erratically, then use a tool like 3uTools to flash the firmware as it may be corrupted.

A professional repair shop that does water damage repair may be able to recover your phone or the data because they have access to pro-level ultrasonic baths and specialized cleaners as well as the skills to troubleshoot your board. Many shops have a no fix/no fee policy so you don't have to spend money to find out if the phone is fixable or not.

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M-J will be eternally grateful.
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