How does the iPhone's "wet" indicator work?

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by schixzotic, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. schixzotic macrumors newbie

    Mar 14, 2008
    I'm really curious as to how this indicator works. If this has been asked before, my apologies, please direct me to the thread where this has been asked.

    My iPhone has a crack at the earphone jack (I have no idea how that crack got there because I have (a) never dropped my iPhone and (b) it is in a shockproof casing 24/7, even when charging), so I took it to the repair centre today, hoping to get it changed as it was still under warranty. The staff there informed me that as the "wet" indicator had been triggered, I could not change my phone for free, and my warranty was in fact largely useless.

    I was stumped as to how the indicator could have been triggered. I have at best gotten a few drops of water on the screen (which has a screen protector), and have never used the phone in the rain. The staff informed me, further, that water has to get inside the phone to trigger this indicator. I do, however, live in a tropical country that's practically sitting on the equator, so the weather here's very humid.

    Could the high humidity have triggered the iPhone's "wet" indicator?
  2. mackpro macrumors member


    Feb 1, 2008
    Indiana University
    the way I see it, the wet indicator is something that you are 100% at apple's mercy with. even if your phone has never been wet, if apple marks on your warranty that the indicator has indicated water damage you are screwed.
  3. STEVESKI07 macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    Washington, DC
    Yes that is a possibility. It isn't very common for that to happen, but it is definitely possible.
  4. The Californian macrumors 68040

    The Californian

    Jan 17, 2009
    Surfers Paradise
    My understanding is that the sensors ( One in the headphone jack and one in the dock connector ) are extremely basic in chemical composition and once they interact with the acidic properties of water they change colors. I also used to be somewhat paranoid of these sensors until I had a friend fall into a fountain and completely submerge her iPhone. She pulled it out and dried it off and kept trying to turn it on, ( I know ... If I were there I would have advised otherwise ). Anyway, a few days later her phone was completely dry, it would turn on but the touch capacitor didn't work. I took a look at her moisture sensors ... Both were completely white.

    So I think it takes a bit to activate them.

    Check out this thread I created back in April to discuss this.

    To help your specific situation, you can bring it to an Apple Store ( or send it to Apple if there isn't one around you ) and ask them to open it up and check for water damage. If they find none they will usually continue the warranty.
  5. thelatinist macrumors 603


    Aug 15, 2009
    Connecticut, USA
    It is possible if there are condensing conditions for condensation to develop inside your phone. This is especially true if you go from (for example) an air conditioned office to the humid outdoors. Your phone will be cold, and moisture in the air that comes in contact with it may condense. It's the same principle as condensation forming on the outside of a cold glass.

    I have also heard of people who left their phone on the counter while they showered and had their water sensor tripped. Again, just as fog forms on the mirror it can form on the inside of your phone. Even if you never dropped your phone in water, this can affect its internal components.

    iPhones seem to be especially sensitive to these conditions because, unlike other phones, the moisture sensor is not inside the phone behind the battery where it is somewhat protected from contact with outside air. The iPhone's sensor is inside the headphone jack, where it is exposed to stray drops of water and possible condensation.

    As for how the indicator works, I understand that it is a simple chemical reaction which can only take place in the presence of water and which turns the sensor irreversibly pink.
  6. sn0warmy macrumors 6502a


    Mar 26, 2009
    Denver, CO
    Call BS and take it to another Apple store. :mad:

    My iPhone 3G kept dropping call after call. I took it to the Apple store and they ran a diagnostic and were going to replace it until they decided to run the "wet test". He told me that my phone must have been submerged in water because it came back positive. I got insanely pissed and explained that I had never dropped my phone in water or talked on it in the rain. And I live in Colorado where it is never humid

    I left there and drove 15 minutes to the next Apple Store. They ran the diagnostic and the "wet test" and it came back negative, so they replaced my phone.

    I think the "Wet Test" makes sense in theory. But the $10/hour "geniuses" at the Apple stores overly use it to deny warranty coverage of the phones/ipods.
  7. schixzotic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 14, 2008
    thanks guys. :) i'll try another apple reseller - there isn't an apple store here (SIGH!).

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