HELP! Dropped iPhone in Water; Please Give Advice

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by Ponta, Aug 11, 2017.

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  1. Ponta macrumors newbie

    Ponta

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    Apr 7, 2012
    #1
    My iPhone 6 slipped from my hand into a toilet bowl at home; fortunately, the water was clean (as much as it gets), and, while muttering, "No, no, no, No, NO!" I quickly fished it out, and as soon as I could, powered it off. I then removed it from its case, dried it off as best I could with paper towels, popped out the SIM card, and then put it into a baggie with rice. Then I went online and looked at some pages, and just as quickly removed it from the rice baggie, making sure rice was no longer in the lightning, SIM, or headphone ports.

    It's midnight here on Friday night in Japan, at the start of a long vacation season, so no immediate shop help. I did do a successful screen replacement on an iPhone 4 I had years ago, so I'm not totally inept at that sort of thing. I took out the screws and popped open the display, careful of the flex cables. I was able to take one of the driver tools and very gently poke with a tissue in the crevasses. Some water soaked out from near the top of the battery next to the case edge (not the chip side). Dabbed dry a few other places. When I took the SIM out, there was a little water on it. There is no more water visible, and no water appears between the components.

    The internal water damage indicator at the top of the battery is red, though no water ever appeared there; conversely, though there was a dab of water in the SIM tray, that indicator does not show red.

    I would like to avoid removing the whole motherboard, but I did before with the 4 and survived it, but I recall how harrowing that was. Also, some online tutorials say to rinse the motherboard in 97% Isopropyl alcohol, but I have none on hand and would have no idea how to get some on a holiday weekend here in Japan.

    How screwed am I? I certainly seem cursed—not 24 hours ago, I dropped the phone in its case on the only concrete floor area in the house, and so it obligingly fell flat on the screen, the only unprotected part, and went CRACK. Not 12 hours ago I had the screen and glass replaced. So I promptly drop it in the toilet. Certainly hexed if not full-out cursed, I'd say.

    What are my chances? Is what I've done good enough, or should I go whole hog and remove the motherboard for potential drying? How important is that? Or should I just leave the phone open as it is for 24 hours and hope for the best?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ponta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Ponta

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    #2
    I overcame my fears of disassembly and removed the 20 or so screws (trying to keep them sorted, as some differ in size) which allowed me to pick up the motherboard. A quick look underneath: no water at all. So, there was a bit of water on the SIM card, but no red indicator there. I see no other signs of water damage anywhere near the motherboard, despite the red indicator at the top 'bridge' of the motherboard.

    Water seemed to get into the speaker grilles, lightning port, and headphone, and some spilled underneath the battery, which I seemed to pretty much dry as far as I can tell. No sign of any water anywhere since that.

    Would anyone be willing to say that if I left this out to dry for most of the day (motherboard propped up but battery still in place), that the chances look pretty good? Or is there something I may be missing where water could be hiding?
     
  3. harlenmm77 macrumors 6502

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    Nov 5, 2016
    #3
    Son dropped his 5 in the toilet. Threw it in a bag of rice overnight. Was a little wonky at first. After 24 hours all seemed fine.
     
  4. dwfaust macrumors 601

    dwfaust

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    #4
    Replace it. It will fail sooner or later... save yourself the grief and just replace it.
     
  5. Ponta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Ponta

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    #5
    What's the background on that? Do you know something specific about this situation, or are you just being pessimistic? Thanks for the input, any which way.

    Also, a replacement is not ideal by far—I have been waiting with the 6 so long in order to get the iPhone 8, which doesn't come out for a few months, and do *not* want to get a filler phone instead.

    Although, if worst comes to worst, I have been thinking of a super-cheap Android which would act as an alternate emergency phone in any case. Don't some of those run just a few hundred dollars?
    --- Post Merged, Aug 11, 2017 ---
    I left the phone out overnight with the motherboard resting atop of plastic tool to let it air out. Inspection seems to indicate no water anywhere, though I suppose some could still be in the speaker or headphone jack. But certainly nothing the eye or any other senses can discern. I am hopeful but will wait till tonight before trying it out.
     
  6. dwfaust macrumors 601

    dwfaust

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    #6
    I am saying that once it gets wet, things get wonky. It may work for a day, a week, a month ... but sooner or later (and most definitely sooner than an identical phone that has not been submerged), it will fail. If it doesn't fail because of electrical shorts, it will fail due to corrosion.
     
  7. bopajuice macrumors 68000

    bopajuice

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    #7
    Still trying to figure out why a person would need to use their phone while on the pot? Can you not be without it for 5 minutes?
     
  8. Ponta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Ponta

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    #8
    Well, I am certainly going to give it more of a chance than *that*. I got it out quickly, turned it off immediately, got as much water out as possible, and opened it up and made sure the key components were dry. Not all phones similarly dropped in water will die. No way to get a statistical analysis even if exposure, treatment, and dumb luck were somehow all accounted for, but clearly it's not totally hopeless.
     
  9. dwfaust macrumors 601

    dwfaust

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    #9
    Good luck. But in my experience... the ending is not happy.
     
  10. Ponta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Ponta

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    #10
    Well, so far, so good. I turned it back on and it worked—but discovered there was one lasting water damage effect. There's a big splotch in the middle of the display, as if water were still there—and it may be. You can still see the screen, it just looks like there's a shadow or stain, but the image shows through. I have seen Youtube videos of people fixing it (leave on display while plugged in overnight in a bag of desiccant), and that might help.

    However, at first, I was a dunce and thought, what if I could open it up, take out the display, lift the screen from the glass, and leach the water out? That was a mistake; I lifted the wrong part, apparently, and got some screen damage (blotches at the bottom, two black lines along the left side). Lesson learned: don't try to take the screen apart for water damage like that. On the other hand, I got more experience with display disassembly and replacement, and am pretty sure I could do it myself with new parts. Easier than an iPhone 4 screen replacement without doubt!

    I put the screen back together and everything seems fine for the moment (emphasis on those last three words). The good news is, other than the screen disfigurements, which are livable and don't impair function, the phone seems to be working fine. And, of course, I have to hold my breath for a few weeks and see if the phone continues to function. If two weeks pass and it does, I'm splurging for the $35 replacement screen and replacing it myself. Though this phone is only to last me long enough to get the iPhone 8—I might just live with the screen like it is for that long.

    This is not for certain, but I did get the feeling that the battery was draining faster than usual. I will be running tests with usage time and recharging to see if everything looks okay. I can see that the battery charges, at least. And it's not as if the battery was long-lasting anyway, it's a 3-year-old phone.

    Like I said, so far, so good. Keeping fingers crossed.
     
  11. Ponta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Ponta

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    #11
    Update for anyone interested: after 1 day of near-constant use, the phone is fine. It turns out that leaving the screen on constantly (while charging, of course) allows the screen's "wet spot" to dry out after 2 or 3 days. After 1 full day, mine is almost gone. Screen would be perfect if I hadn't tried to "repair" it upon seeing the wet spot.

    But everything else is perfectly normal, including the battery. Works great. That's no guarantee that it won't fritz out from developing corrosion over time, but since there were no signs of water exposure on the motherboard, I'm very optimistic about the probable outcome here.
     
  12. nieks macrumors regular

    nieks

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    #12
    trying to disassemble the screen was probably the worst decision you made: it is laminated.
    Furthermore, for how long did you leave it in the bag of rice? All you should have done in my opinion is power down, put it in a (preferrably small and thin) pillowcase, which you should have put in a big closed box of rice for more than a full night to let the rice drain all of the water.

    Keeping in mind that you mentioned there was water underneath the battery, you'll be F***ed someday. Battery and motherboard is next to eachother, no way that the water hasn't come in contact with your motherboard.

    You'll probably be lucky (hearing your story), just don't be surprised that one day the phone will die.
     
  13. potentmf macrumors regular

    potentmf

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    #13
    You are lucky. I kept my phone in a bag of rice for over an entire weekend. Good luck!
     
  14. kevinjohnson20 macrumors newbie

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    London
    #14
    I think you should put your phone under heavy wattage bulb to soak water from your phone for a 1 night because It has a capacity to soak water by the heat of bulb and make sure you should maintain some distance between bulb and phone because of heat sometimes phone gets affected by the heat of the bulb. I hope It will work for you.
     
  15. Ponta, Aug 16, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017

    Ponta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Ponta

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    #15
    The water stain completely disappeared, and the bag of rice turned out to be unnecessary. All that was needed was for the phone to have the screen on full strength while charging. A lot of the stain went away while I was just using the phone—ironically, in very humid weather.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 16, 2017 ---
    Yep, already figured that out. Had I simply left it, the stain would have resolved on its own and there would have been no problem.

    Interestingly, the dark areas and black lines on the screen caused by my prying abated to a small degree, especially when pressure was applied. I will probably not do this, but it occurred to me that more damage could be reversed by re-opening the screen and gently rolling a finger over the back of the display film to re-attach as much as possible. Not trying it until I have to though; guesswork on a thing like this is just as likely to cause more damage. Worst comes to worst, however, I can buy a new display/glass front for $35 on Amazon and replace it.

    Maybe, but I opened it up instead, cleaned out any water I saw, and let it dry like that in the open air. Worked fine. After firsthand experience, I agree with all the reports that rice is a bust.

    Maybe, maybe not: the water seeped from under the battery ONLY on the opposite side from the motherboard; not a drop or speck of water appeared anywhere near the motherboard. We'll see...
     
  16. Ponta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Ponta

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    #16
    Update: Two weeks now since the iPhone was revived after its water immersion. The phone is working fine. No sign of trouble. Again, as of now. Still on the lookout. I plan to post here about status as time goes on.
     
  17. Ponta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Ponta

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    #17
    Update: 6 weeks and running, no problems at all.
     
  18. Reno Raines macrumors 65816

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    Jul 19, 2015
    #18
    I dropped my iPhone SE into a cup of soda in my car. I then turned it off, wedged it in my air vent, put it on high for and hour, and so far so good. Now it may not work in a week but so far so good.
     

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