My iPhone Water Damage - FYI Only

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by gftx73, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. gftx73 macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2008
    I don't need any lectures on what I should/shouldn't have done to prevent it - it happened - I am hoping that sharing my knowledge and experience will help others - although there is no solution, I hope this post helps dispel any rumors.

    Had an 8GB iPhone. Got knocked into a sink full of water. Shook it out, put in front of a fan for several hours, left in a container of rice for 2 days. The phone could receive calls, the Home button worked, it would power off and on, but the touch screen became eratic in a few days and then touchscreen didn't work at all. The indicator at the bottom of the headphone jack was red. I called Apple Care - THEY DO NOT REPAIR WATER DAMAGED PHONES ANY MORE FOR ANY PRICE. They said 'Go buy another one.' I took it to an Apple store - same thing.

    So I bought a 16GB iPhone and sent the 8GB into a service called 'RapidRepair'( I found searching on Google. They charged $10, you ship them the phone, they tell you how much it is to fix or what it is worth salvaged. They contacted me by email until the diagnosis - then they contacted me BY PHONE. They said that the insides were completely corroded and they would give me $25. I told them to send it back.

    I got it back and it wouldn't even turn on. I plugged it in to charge - nothing. I decided I would take it apart - I imagined it must look pretty bad inside if it wouldn't even power on now. First thing I noticed when I got it back was that there were pry marks clearly visible on the outside top left corner where the bezel joins the case. Looking closer, it wasn't even completely closed - and I couldn't get it to close. No matter, I was going to take it apart - but that is something to note about their 'repair and diagnostic services'. I opened it with a screw driver - using a lot of force - I'm sure you can do it cleaner, but I figured I didn't have time/energy for eBay, I didn't care about be careful ripping this thing open.

    For starters, the 'indicator' on the headphone jack - something I haven't seen mentioned here: It is not accessible from OUTSIDE. This is hard to explain - so let me try and draw a picture for you: imagine a coke can is your headphone jack. Now imagine the bottom of the coke can is clear - you can see through it. Now, imagine you take a white piece of paper and cover half of the bottom. Now imagine you take a white indicator strip and completely cover the bottom. So when you look down, into the can, it looks white. But what you don't know is that the bottom is CLEAR, then there is half a strip of white covering the bottom, then an indicator under that. So if it looks white/red, it didn't get THAT wet inside. If the whole thing looks red/pink, then the indicator soaked through the other white strip which means there was some significant submersion going on. It doesn't matter as I would find out later - red/white, pink/white, red/red - if it is anything but all white - tough luck. So 'sweat dripped down the headphone jack' or 'high humidity' - don't bother. It has to get WET WET WET to reach that indicator.

    Now - something else I haven't seen mentioned on here - there is ANOTHER indicator on the inside of the phone. There is a thin metal backing that houses/braces the phone like a plate going almost all the way down the back of the phone above the battery - which is at the bottom. In the middle of this metal plate, stuck on it (so it is between the metal plate and the phone housing) - is ANOTHER small square indicator. So even if you DO try all these crazy ideas to 'paint' your headphone jack bottom white or whatever, as soon as someone at Apple opens it (with the RIGHT tools that don't mar the case, ReadyRepair!) they will see the other indicator, look closer at your fix - and the gig is up. I don't know what they would/could do - just letting you know there is another one inside.

    So - now the part that pisses me off. I have this baby cracked open and it is spotless - I mean clean as a whistle. There are several layers of IC boards you need a little screwdriver to unscrew brackets to go from layer to layer - but there is no corrossion - nothing looks out of the ordinary. I pull out my voltage tester - that have needlepoints - and start checking to see if I can pass current through various pieces. I take it out to my workshop and put it under bright light, look at every single board - there is no corrossion. Something is fried - it obviously doesn't work, no doubt about that, but nothing I touch hesitates to pass current. I thought there was too much corrosion for ANY salvage?

    Then I see something that REALLY irks me. The black wire going to the battery is broken off its soldering point. I thought maybe when I took it apart I may have done it, but I look closer and there is damage to the black wire in the middle of the wire - the insulation is 'squished'. No way - someone did not... I got a pair of needle-nose pliers and squeezed the wire and looked under my magnifier at the two different marks. Then I got REALLY REALLY mad. Draw your own conclusion to what I saw.

    OK. So I am at a party St. Paddy's day, and am sitting in a chair and a staggering guy bumps my girlfriend next to me and she spills just a splash of beer - ok - a decent-sized splash, but not any crazy amount - of her beer on my phone - as I was just texting someone. Yea. Uh-huh. Same CPR routine - the phone works perfectly until it reaches about 75% of battery, then it intermittently powers itself off - you don't realize it until you go to use it. Spent about 2 hours on Apple Care support resetting phone, trying all sorts of things - my indicator is redish/pink - I don't tell them that - and they give me an RMA and send me a box to send them my phone. I get it back 3 days later (today) via FedEx with a nice little note that basically says 'Sorry your phone damage is not covered under our warranty).

    So I am back to ANOTHER 8GB today (Apple has made some $$ on me, baby!) - but I have to tell you - if this one gets wet, I am going back to a BlackBerry. Flame-on, I don't care. I'm scared to death of getting this thing anywhere near liquid now - I wipe off every surface I have put it on. My BlackBerry 8700 fell in the toilet and still worked the next day for a year until I went to my 8GB iPhone on launch day last year.

    16GB iPhone for sale. It has liquid-damage.

  2. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    you must have some terrible luck...I've had mine since launch day, and nothing happened to me
  3. extraextra macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2006
    Ahh that sucks. Happens to the best of us though. I'd suggest a case, but I'm guessing no case is going to protect the iPhone from liquid.

    Rapidrepair sounds awful. :eek:
  4. hauss316H macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2007
    America's Wang!
    grow a sack and make the dude that was at fault to pay for it
  5. Bootsie macrumors 6502a


    Jan 23, 2008
    That sucks! I am very afraid if liquid near my phone.
    Just out of curiosity, how come you didn't get the accidental damage trade in credit?
  6. CJRhoades macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2007
    Lafayette, IN
    If I was in your position, I'd be uber-pissed at those idiot repair guys you sent the first one in to. Did you ever contact them back?
  7. geekmommy4 macrumors 6502


    Feb 10, 2008
    That's some really bad luck. Good luck with your next one!

    When you have to be somewhere near water (or beer!) just slip your phone into a Ziploc snack bag. OK, I probably wouldn't do it at a party, but I did put it in one when I was cleaning our pool. I didn't get it anywhere near the pool (maybe 20 ft. away), but the Polaris pool cleaner occasionally sprays water in random directions. The good news is that the screen works great through the plastic and I was even able to text while keeping my baby safe! Pool season is approaching...everyone remember this! ;)
  8. gftx73 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2008

    According to Apple, and the piece of paper I have in my hand from them, and the hours spent on the phone trying every work around I can think of - there is no credit of any kind - quoting all the things I read on this forum about $199 deals, $250 credits, etc. - BELIEVE me - it may have existed a million phone sales ago, but there is nothing of any sort you will get from Apple if that indicator is red. They used to have a lot of different deals - each costing you more to replace - now they have NONE.

    No, I did not contact Why? I thought of taking photos and posting them on here - but why? That is a lot of effort - would it bring my phone back? I figured I would just post on here for fellow owners - take it for what it is - but with a new domain name and logo, they could be someone else tomorrow, right? If I can let it go - don't let it bother you - whether you have a 'sack' as so eloquently written above, or not ;)

    Oh well. You live and learn - this is a great little device, but a little rubber gasket around the inside... Maybe in iPhone 2.0? Haha.
  9. Surely Guest


    Oct 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    That's a great idea. I will be using that one when I go to the pool and beach. Thanks! :cool:
  10. zainjetha macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2007
    Sorry but this yet again shows me another example of apple becoming too big for their boots, not helping customers when they can.

    Did the sales man tell you 'Go buy another one' in those words?? That is shocking.
  11. Robb315 macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2008
  12. cmcbridejr macrumors 6502a


    Sep 28, 2007
    Alpharetta, GA
    What about insurance?

    Insurance must cost less than purchasing over three iPhones due to damage.
  13. ImNoSuperMan macrumors 65816


    Dec 1, 2005
    Hmmm. You really had some bad luck. My two year old spilled water on my iPhone(appx 150 ml) while it was lying on the table. The screen started flickering and very soon the display went off but I could see that the phone was still on:mad:. I tried to shut it off but no luck as it turned back on everytime. To dry it up completely without over heating it, I decided to put it on my MB keyboard right above the exhaust fan. Kept it there for 4 days and unbelievably it worked without any problems:D. No noticable change in battery life too.

    Then I checked the indicator. Surprise surprise. It was all White. Damn lucky am I.

    Not really. A week later I spilled HOT milk on my iPhone:(. This time I didnt even notice that the iPhone was there. I was so caught up in removing my files from the table ASAP I completely forgot I had put my iPhone on the newspaper. The glass of milk actually fell straight on the newspapers and I just picked them up and threw them on the floor not realizing my iPhone was in there. After I cleaned the whole table 10 minutes later I realized the biggest mistake I could ever make. I couldnt find my iPhone anywhere.

    Scared I took a look on the floor. There it was. Completely drenched in milk. I knew there and then my iPhone was gone. I cant afford a new one and there was no way it could ever work again. It was hot milk goddamn it. That too straight on the screen. I just wiped clean the iPhone and didnt even bother to turn it on. Still I decided to try my luck and put my MB exhaust to work again. 3-4 days later I switched it on expecting the worst. It didnt work et al. I plugged it in the charger but nothing worked. I was no longer an iPhone owner. It was dead.

    But Just not yet. I then realized unlike water milk cant evaporate completely. I could see some of the residue on the dock connector. So I cleaned it up and it turned on this time. I knew milk(that too hot) is definitely going to do a lot more permanent damage than the water. I wasnt wrong. There were some spots on the screen(like there were small clouds in the background). I noticed the same spots after the water incident but those went away after I dried up the iPhone. Since I have no way to dry up the milk these spots are there forever. Also the loud speaker didnt sound loud any more. But I in any case always prefer to keep my iPhone on vibration mode. So no big deal. Everything else works as if nothing had happened. No problems et al. And Surprise surprise surprise. The indicator still looks white.

    Yeah I m lucky. I`ll post the pics of the iPhone screen with those spots later.

    BTW. Sorry OP for hijacking your thread. I didnt really feel like creating a new thread for this so I posted on yours.
  14. gftx73 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2008

    The Apple Genius at the store basically just shrugged.

    The Apple support on the phone threw some 'sirs' in there, but basically said that my only option was to purchase a new one if I wanted a functioning iPhone.

    Insurance - yes - would have been a great idea about 3 months ago ;)

    Hot milk - haha. Someone should start a thread about what liquids people have damaged their iPhones with :)

  15. 12GA macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Wow! Thanks for sharing your stories. :eek: Removing my glass of water from my nightstand NOW. :eek:
  16. SFStateStudent macrumors 604


    Aug 28, 2007
    San Francisco California, USA
    I figure, if they were offering you $25 for your 8GB, you can probably get $50 for the 16GB! Sorry for your LOSSES. :(
  17. themanfromvlad macrumors 6502


    Mar 11, 2006
    Dude, didn't your credit card cover this? Both my AMEX and MasterCard cover accidental damage for 90 days following purchase.
  18. darkblu macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2008
    just wanted to second the above - it's amazing how useful a simple tiny plastic bag can be, and i'm not even using a ziplock one, just one of those thin nylon disposable wrapper bags that come in bulk packages of 100 or so. and the touch screen works flowlessly through the thin nylon too!

    so next time you're in the rain wihout a bt headset and you have to make/take a phone call you can do that not worrying about taking out your precious iphone, given you're willing to lose a couple of "coolness" points for using a phone in a plastic bag in public ; )

    in retrospect, i still can't believe what weather conditions i've put my first mobile (a nokia 3210) through. i would not dare imagine submitting my recent phones to 1/10th of that; my last nokia got a dead keypad from sitting once in my pocket during a rainfall. otoh, a samsung here proves to be quite a resilient little bugger, so not all manufacturers are equal.
  19. geekmommy4 macrumors 6502


    Feb 10, 2008
    You know, I hadn't really thought about keeping a plastic bag/Ziploc in my purse, but it's a good idea in case of getting caught in the rain. Also one of the previous posters mentioned the beach. It'd work great to keep the sand out.

    You never know what you might get into. I went to an Easter party a few weeks ago and one of the favorite traditions here in San Antonio is to break confetti-filled eggshells (cascarones) on people's heads. I was carrying my purse when I was ambushed with eggs and later found shiny metallic confetti pieces sticking out of the edges of my iPhone (which was in my purse) in 3 places. I hope none of it got inside!
  20. 12GA macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Upstate NY
    What's the voice and sound quality of a bagged - but not lowered ;) iPhone? Can you hear the caller well - and can they hear you? :confused:
  21. geekmommy4 macrumors 6502


    Feb 10, 2008
    I can hear perfectly and they can hear me with no problem. I actually just now tried it and it works great! I feel really silly doing it, but I'd much rather look silly than have to buy a new phone! I'll definitely have one on hand for any time there is a risk. Known risk, anyway...there's always the unexpected, but I'm not keeping it in one all of the time! :eek:
  22. 12GA macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Upstate NY
    that settles it - I'm adding snack bags to my shopping list! :eek:
  23. Michael7k macrumors member

    Sep 9, 2005
    Sorry about the water damage. My accident was was dropping a Razr in the toilet. Didn't work after that one.

    I read many have had luck with placing the phone in a bowl of dry rice after being in the water. Surprisingly it absorbs a lot of the moisture out of the phone.

    Good Luck!

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