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How to repair a Water Damaged iPhone 5

Updated on September 25, 2012

iPhone 5 taking a swim!

How to repair a Water Damaged iPhone 5

By now, many of you have your hands on the gorgeous new iPhone 5 from Apple. What an amazing device, one that simply defies the odds in terms of advanced features. With the coming of the end of Summer, many of you will be wrapping up those end of Summer vacations and trips to the pool and the beach. No doubt, for some of you, your Apple iPhone 5 will enjoy going along for a swim!

We have put together this simple guide so that our readers know what to do in a water emergency. This guide will explain how to repair a water damaged iPhone 5.

First off, you need to consider what type of water the iPhone 5 took a swim in....salt water, fresh water, toilet water, washing machine water, etc? The answer to this question determines the best course of action for restoring that Apple iPhone 5 from water damage. In the case of salt water, time is of the essence. I repeat, time is of the essence. Salt water is very caustic to electronics. The reason is that the salt water (and specifically the salt in the water) acts as a conductor). When it gets inside the phone, it will lay down salt crystals and moisture across motherboard components and traces where no conductivity should exist. This is called short-circuiting. If your iPhone 5 falls in salt water, the best bet is to get it to a professional as some very drastic and immediate repair steps are vitally necessary.

If your iPhone 5 falls in pool water, you have a little more time to react (but not much). The chemicals used in keeping a pool clean for swimming are all very harmful to your iPhone 5. The acid that is used to chlorinate your pool will start to eat away at the motherboard components very quickly.

So here are the steps to follow if you need to perform emergency first aid on the spot for your iPhone.

  1. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT try to power on your phone to see if it still works. This is the single highest leading cause of death of Apple iPhone deaths. When the phone is powered on, it sends a current across the internal circuits and components. This can lead to the unit short-circuiting and permanently killing your iPhone. DO NOT POWER ON the iPhone to see if it works.
  2. Immediately get the phone out of the water and rinse it off with tap water (or preferably deionized water as it is ultra-pure).
  3. If you can, remove the back off of the iPhone and remove the battery.
  4. Take the phone and place it into a bag of rice and seal it. Although this is not really a very efficient way of drying out your iPhone 5, it is better than nothing. Florida iDoctor recommends the use of a high-quality, high adsorption rate desiccant as this has about 20x the adsorption power of rice. This is hard to find, but we use it in our shop every day.
  5. After 24 hours in a sealed container, put the battery back in to see if the phone will now power on. If it does, you will likely see an LCD screen that is cloudy. It is impossible to repair an LCD screen that has been infiltrated with water so it likely will have to be replaced.

If your phone still does not work, then it is the time to call in a professional iPhone repair company that specializes in water damaged iPhones.

Florida iDoctor


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    • profile image

      Jose Villegas 3 years ago

      People feel lost without their cell phone or the cell phone gets damaged by some miss-happening. IF you are facing the same trauma then you must visit

    • mobilecasedirect profile image

      Brian Schoedel 5 years ago from Naples, Florida USA

      Submerging your iPhone 5 sucks. Are there any people who sell a water repair kit?

      Sounds like a local iPhone repair shop is the way to go. How often do see water damaged iPhone 5s fixed?

    • The Invincible profile image

      Hitesh Bubbar 5 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I don't have an iPhone yet, but I guess once I have one, these tips might come in handy...

    • Florida iDoctor profile image

      Florida iDoctor 5 years ago from PALM HARBOR, FL

      Water damage typically does not affect speakers as quickly as it compromises the motherboard. Think of the open ports on an iPhone (headphone jack, dock connector - now smaller on the iPhone 5, etc.) Those are the area where water will infiltrate the case. When we get in these water damaged units we first see corrosion and deposits on the motherboard.


      Florida iDoctor

    • TrahnTheMan profile image

      TrahnTheMan 5 years ago from Asia, Oceania & between

      Thanks for the advice. Helpful for butterfingers like me! Is water damage likely to affect the speakers?