Repairing iPhone Liquid Damage

These cleaning suggestions may not restore your phone to working order, but once you have eliminated any liquid & cleaned away any corrosion / debris you may be able to determine if any parts need to be replaced.

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Electronics Water Damage

Step 1  Assessing visible external damage

  • Look for liquid / residue between the touchscreen & LCD. This phone shows water build-up between the touchscreen & LCD & most likely contains more liquid inside.
  •  In this case, there is no obvious damage / corrosion in the external dock connector.
  •  There is no obvious damage / corrosion in the headphone jack.

Step 2  Disassembly

  • Liquid damage inside the phone may complicate disassemble. Beware of cables and connectors that may be adhered to other components in unexpected ways.
  •  Lifting the front panel of this phone, the flex for the dock connector has stuck to the back of the mid frame.

Step 3  Assessing visible internal damage

  •  The water damage sticker is now pink, indicating that the inside of this phone was flooded with liquid.
  •  Residue and corrosion discoloration can clearly be seen on the connectors for the LCD, Digitizer & proximity sensor, as well as the camera and SIM card slot.

Step 4

  •  The dock connector water sensor sticker has turned pink too, indicating liquid flooding of this end of the phone.
  •  The top of this dock connector looks fairly clean, with only a few green corrosive changes near connector 4.

Step 5

  •  The rear of the display assembly shows more green corrosion and debris on the LCD and digitizer connectors.
  •  Removing the LCD and the back cover of the ear speaker & proximity sensor assembly reveals liquid damage to the speaker.
  •  The proximity sensor is only lightly damaged.

Step 6

  •  Closer inspection of proximity sensor/earpiece flex reveals more corrosion damage.

Step 7

  •  After removing the logic board more liquid damage is visible.
  •  The vibration motor has some rust.
  •  The battery pins have corroded.

Step 8

  •  Headphone jack connector 5, the vibration motor & the volume switch show some light corrosion.

Step 9

  •  Rear of motherboard showing some signs of corrosion to battery contacts.

Step 10  Removing the logic board shield cover

  •  Depending on the nature of the liquid damage, removing this shield may not be necessary, and doing so risks damaging the small components mounted on the logic board. If you decide to remove the shield, proceed cautiously and use a plastic tool such as a spudger / a plastic opening tool to lever off the shield.
  •  Look for the dimpled tabs on the shield that reach down over the tabs attached to the mother board.
  •  Using your plastic tool, catch the edge of a dimpled tab near a corner of the shield & pry it up away from the logic board.
  •  Being careful of all the tiny surface mounted components, work your way around the available edges until the shield comes free.

Step 11  Cleaning the logic board

  •  Submerge the logic board in isopropyl alcohol & allow it to soak long enough to loosen hardened residue & to displace any remaining water / other liquid. Use a soft brush to remove visible corrosion & residue.
  •  Residue from motherboard left in isopropyl alcohol container.
  •  Clean all flex ends, battery contacts, connectors, chips & fuses on motherboard with a soft brush.
  •  Repeat cleaning if necessary / if traces of residue are still visible.
  •  Allow the logic board / other parts to dry completely before reassembly.