iPhone 4

Fourth generation iPhone. Repair is straightforward, but the front glass and LCD must be replaced as a unit. GSM / 8, 16, or 32 GB capacity / Model A1332 / Black and White.

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How do I clean corrosion after water damage?

I have an iPhone 4 that was immersed in water, but apparently worked for an hour or so before any problems were evident. It has spent two days in a bowl of rice, but I decided to open it up to see what's going on. The two water-sensitive stickers on the back of the logic board have turned pink, and there are copper salts deposited on the logic board near the bottom of the LCD connector (the connector outlined in orange at Step 17 here: iPhone 4 Logic Board Replacement).

I'm thinking that I will try to clean up this corrosion before trying to plug it in again, but I'm not sure what sort of tool to use. Are we talking isopropyl alcohol and a Qtip, or is there some other accepted approach?

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Matthew Holland, if it is strictly a cleaning the logic board issue, I use isopropyl alcohol with a greater than 70% alcohol concentration, your local pharmacist can get it for you, and scrub the board with a small brush (tooth brushes work well) This will remove most of the corrosion. I do know that some people pre-treat their boards by cleaning it with distilled water and then use the alcohol which will displace the water. Either way make sure that you let the board dry very well after and stay away from any contact cleaner, etc. Hope this helps, I am sure there are 100's more suggestion and ways to do it, but these are my 2cents :-)

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Thanks. We ended up just going to the Apple Store with an OOW replacement in mind, but ended up benefiting from the famous Genius "leeway" and got a free replacement.

by Matthew Holland

How on earth did you manage a free replacement?! I went in and they told me $60 minimum plus tax. My warranty is up though :\ Any advice would help!

by Brunelle Lewis

Thanks for this info, just fixed my seemingly "dead" iPhone by using 91% Iso alcohol and a toothbrush, just as suggested, just hours after Apple Miami Beach had told me the phone was not repairable ... saved me 200 dollars ... Thank you!

by Eric Rogerson

You are welcome ;-)

by oldturkey03

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It is important to clean with 99% isopropanol, ethanol or alcohol, dont use 70%, it is to much water. When you have a ultrasonic take the isoporpanol inside and than the iphone logicboard.

Be carefull that the mikrophone and the speaker have no contact with the isoprobanol.

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How about 91% IPA? mfolta83, are you using the alcohol in the USC? I have a different mixture I have found to work great, but yours seems to be a viable option as well...

by Andrew

Edit: Attempting to insert ghetto paragraphs! ¶ Just to confirm for anyone reading that contact with isopropyl alcohol and a speaker/microphone will cause no damage whatsoever to those components. ¶ My repair process for a water damaged iPhones (and I've done well over 100, at this point) is to remove the iPhone's dock assembly, logic board and loudspeaker and soak them in a bath of 99% iso for an hour or so, giving the logic board a gentle scrub with a soft toothbrush if there is any visible corrosion. ¶ The components are then placed on a bed of blue roll atop a radiator, any excess alcohol is shaken out of the loudspeaker and everything is left to dry out overnight. I've found the only phones I've not been able to revive using my method are those that have been left for more than a few days before being bathed, and have been overrun with internal (i.e. under the logic board shielding) corrosion.

by Craig Jessup

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The best solution I've found to remove corrosion is boiling water. I take the Main PC Board out of the phone, boil water in a coffee cup in a microwave then place the board in the water. VERY IMPORTANT DO NOT PLACE THE BOARD IN THE MICROWAVE. After a minute or two carefully remove the board and scrub both sides with a tooth brush. When the board is completely dry return it to the phone. I've used this sucessfuly many times with water damaged Ipods, Iphones, & other electronic devices at the repair shop I work for.

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I tried this method, but the battery connector came off the logic board. This probably happened due to the low temp solder that is used from the factory. I would not recommend this method. Wish I would have tried the rubbing alcohol...

by John Waas

apple uses lead free solder in manufacturing which is a higher temperature solder. If the battery connector came off it most likely means the corrosion had "eaten" through the solder joint and when the corrosion was removed there was nothing left holding the connector.

by epohl

I have soldered the battery connection back in place successfully once before. If you have a steady hand and precise iron, then it works. Just don't touch the plastic!

by Snklip

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comprerssed air, or a hair dryer on cold or low heat position could help to displace isopropylic alcohol, and placing the stuff under the sunshine for a while even in a glass enclosure, but for a VERY short time, depending on sun power..

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Can i use hydrogen peroxide

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kyle, do not use hydrogen peroxide. It doesn't evaporate like isopropyl alcohol and you'll have a mess for a long time. You would have to use isopropyl alcohol after that to clean the hydrogen peroxide :-).

by oldturkey03

only for bleaching hair? or in the olden days for treating large ulcers on bottoms. I can't think of a good use for this in electronics though..as it's an oxidant I'm thinking it might cause more rust????

by pollytintop

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Hello, Holland, I recommend this article for you http://www.any-data-recovery.com/tips/ip... which tell you how to deal with water damaged iPhone with 5 ways.

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Christian Marcus, if you read the comments and answers, you will find out that this was resolved 2 years ago. Your link is definitely not very appropriate since it absolutely does not address corrosion damage at all.

by oldturkey03

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I just got an iPhone 5 that had water sensors tripped. When I opened it up, there was oxidation (a whitish powder) found inside it and all around the edges where the LCD top fits in the body. I used a toothbrush and an Xacto knife blade to remove most of it, but do I need to remove the main board to see if there is more on it?''

If I remember my basic Chemistry, oxidation is caused by moisture affecting a "bi-metallic reaction" that causes oxidation. Is this the reason the iPhone 5 was discontinued? Steel reacting to aluminum caused by water being the catalyst?

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Please also feel free to read this tutorial on "how to restore data from water damaged iPhone".

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If the liquid that came in contact with your iPhone is not water and needs to be cleaned you should use banana oil. Do not use alcohol as it can damage the rubber components.

Please check more details at How to Solve Water Damaged iPhone Problems http://www.etradesupply.com/blog/rescue-...

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Matthew Holland will be eternally grateful.

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