How to Fix a Water-Damaged iPhone, Smart Watch or Apple Watch

There are few more frustrating things nowadays then having to deal with a water-damaged iPhone, Apple Watch or Smart Watch. All of these devices have become such an important part of our daily lives that we can’t even think about living without them for even a second and thus the chances of water-damage to them are very high.

An accidental dip into the water either while bathing or worse in the toilet is all it take for your wearable devices to become water-damaged. However, there is no need to worry about as the water-damage to such devices can be fixed, although it is not an easy task and is best left to the professionals.

Using the Wet Device Would be a Cardinal Sin

It is best that the wet device is taken out of the water immediately and put aside to dry as it would be a big mistake to try to use it while it is wet. The device must be turned off and all of its accessories including the SIM, if it is a phone, must be stripped and a towel must be used for rubbing it dry.

However, taking apart the accessories of an iPhone or wearable device is not that simple a task and might involve taking out the screen in order to reach it internal parts. This can do even more damage to the device and might also invalidate your warranty as well so it is best that you do not try it on your own and let the professionals deal with it.

The Power of the Rice

One of the tricks that might be used for the purpose of fixing water-damaged iPhone or wearable devices is to store them in a bowl of rice for a day. Since it is an amazing sucker of water, the rice will hopefully leech away all the water and leave your device dry and functioning as good as it was new.

The chances of failure however are very high and there is every likelihood that the iPhone or the wearable device will not turn on even after being kept for 3 or 4 days in the bowl of rice. Silica gel can also be used in place of rice for drying wet iPhone and other wearable devices.

Thus, it is best that the task of fixing a water-damaged device is done be professionals rather than by amateurs using tricks and home remedies.

Phone in Rice

What to do when your iPhone or Android gets Water Damaged

We have seen just about everything at Repair Sharks. Since starting the iPod Repair Guys back in 2006 we have heard hundreds of stories about water damaged iPods, iPhones, iPads, and other devices.  Water isn’t always the case though; many times it’s another substance such as juice, soda, beer or even chocolate. IPhones in particular are very sleek, they are compact and easy to mishandle.  One of the most common places for an iPhone to end up is in the toilet. You can imagine the look on our face when we get those in! We do keep gloves handy in the shop.  Different liquids can cause different issues to the iPhone. Some substances such as salt water can corrode the internal components very quickly. In a matter of hours or a few short days corrosion from the salt can eat away at the vital and miniscule connections inside the iPhone. The iPhone’s logic board or motherboard is very delicate and liquid / water damage can in fact ruin components if not caught in time.

Many of you have probably heard the old rice trick. Well we wrote an article on that a few years back and it seemed to spread as a successful post liquid / water damage repair method. In case you want to read about it here it is; Water Removal with Rice . The article does outline a more drastic than normal process for repairing water damage. We originally I heard about the water trick from my grandfather who was a master jewelry designer. He used to repair high end watches and he would use this trick on water damaged watches before he repaired them. It makes perfect sense once you think about it. Rice absorbs water much like the silica packets you find with clothing and products we buy. The only problem with rice though is that it is slow acting and most people can get ahead of themselves and prematurely remove it from the rice in hopes of getting it working.  It could take days to remove all the moisture from a phone using the rice method alone.

Luckily for you we have better equipment these days and can do a more thorough job of repairing water and liquid damaged devices. We recommend taking a few steps that will help raise your success rate for getting the iPhone working again.

Step 1.

  • Xxx Do NOT turn on the iPhone!  Xxx
  • If the phone is on after the water damage takes place turn it OFF immediately!
  • Remove Battery if possible (not recommended for iPhone users, some batteries are difficult to remove without the proper tools)

Phones that are water damaged can still be working properly. The introduction of electricity into the mix of things will just make matters worse. The water can short circuit componentry, cause hot spots, chip cracking, or even accelerate the corrosion process. It is essential that the iPhone is dried and cleaned completely before ANY attempt at turning the phone on is made.

Step 2.

SHAKE IT OUT! Once removed from the soda, juice, coffee, tea, or whatever else it may have ended up in shake it out vigorously. Yes, shake it out. Get all the excess liquid substance away from the phone as quickly as possible.

Step 3.

There are a few things you can do here. If you have a hairdryer handy then we suggest drying it out with a hairdryer for 10-15 minutes. Specifically for such devices as the iPhone 4 and 4S there are a few points that you will want to focus on. The top and bottom of the device are susceptible to water penetration so we usually recommend these areas. Don’t worry about the heat just don’t stick your hairdryer on top of the phone, wave it around slowly like you are drying your hair in the areas on top and bottom of the phone. Do NOT turn on the phone!

While in Miami once I dropped my Motorola Timeport into a bucket of water. It was the only bucket around and my phones just happened to flip out of my hand and land in it. I am not even sure if it was water.  I used to sell Verizon phones back in the day and the Timeport was pretty sick when it came out for those that can remember that far. I was in a pinch and though hey I’m in a hotel and it’s hot and humid. Let me stick this thing by the Air Conditioner for the night. The next day the phone worked fine. My point of that story is to tell you that an AC can help you. It pulls a lot of moisture out of the air.

If you don’t have a hairdryer or AC one of the most tested methods is to use rice as we mentioned above. There are also silica based packs that act as a dehumidifier. These are the packets that come with clothing and inside boxes to keep them dry.  Both of these methods take time.  Don’t be in a rush to fix your phone after liquid damage. Some extra time drying won’t hurt. The components are very intricate and the device has a lot of cabling, water can seep into many areas. If you want to try the rice method check out our write-up linked above.

Step 4.

Step 4 is the most important step in the list. Have a professional look at your iPhone. There is no sense in risking a $600+ iPhone. For the cost of a professional to clean and treat your internal components it might save you a big headache down the line. It is not uncommon for liquid damaged phones to sustain more problems over time. You can never be certain what will happen until it gets professionally inspected. We have seen a lot of phones post water damage have other issues. It may look like it is working correctly but internally be degrading over time. A professional repair center can stop this from happening and extend the life of the iPhone for you.

By following these steps you can minimize the impact that water and liquid damage have on any device. Android phones are no different and similar processes can be followed for all model phones. None of these steps are guaranteed and water can and will cause severe damage if not taken care of properly. We do not recommend opening up your phone but if you have the correct tools and experience you might want to also open the back of your phone and remove the battery if accessible.

In the event that you do have water damage on your iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Android device Repair Sharks can help. We offer water damage repair services for almost all the models we service. Free Diagnostic services are available on our Repair Sharks website.

iPhone Water Damage

iPhone Water Damage – How to Save Your iPhone

We put together a nice article on saving a water damaged iPhone. It discusses a process that includes how to clean out your iPhone after liquid damage occurs, also ways to remove contaminants if you spilled such things as coffee, tea, soda, etc. on your iPhone. It is a multi step process and should only be used at your own discretion. We do not guarantee this will work and it is more drastic than your typical bag of rice drying method. It builds on the rice method with some other techniques that we have found can work.

Typically the first hardware item that goes in water damaged iPod or iPhones is the battery. After trying this method you can test to see if the iPod works by plugging it in to a wall adapter or by connecting to your PC or Mac as described in the article. If it doesn’t power on without the charger connected this is usually indicative of a iPod or iPhone battery issue.

See below for our ezine article.

Protecting your iPod – 5 Tips for Keeping your iPod Safe

With the ease of portability of your iPod it is essential to take proper care of the device to ensure long life and the hopes that you will never need a service such as ours. We know this is sort of working against our business but our customers are important to us. We are here for you if you need us but for obvious reasons it’s even better for you if you don’t.


Here are some steps to ensure your device will be working for years to come.


  1. Keep it in a case – There are a variety of cases available for iPod’s but we recommend one with padding or a hard outer shell. There are benefits to both types.
    1. Padded case which is usually found on sport model cases will cushion your device in case of a drop or collision and will help protect your hard drive, screen, and mainboard from shock damage. The fallback of some of these cases (material based) is that moisture can sometimes penetrate especially after long periods of time in rain or a wet climate.
    2. Hard Case – These cases lock around the device and provide a good barrier for moisture penetration around the shell of the iPod case. These also protect the screen from scratches and normal wear and tear. These types of cases offer limited shock protection however since they are generally made of a hard plastic.
  2. Limit shock damage – iPod shock is one of the leading causes of damage. You can easily crack your LCD, damage your hard drive, and mainboard. Internally the components are extremely delicate and just the right jolt can do significant damage. It isn’t uncommon for multiple components to break during a hard fall.
  3. Water is your enemy – We have seen many water damaged iPods. Repairs can range from a battery replacement to a combination of parts including the mainboard, LCD, and Hard Drive due to liquid exposure. Keep your iPod dry at all costs. They aren’t water tight and there are multiple points of entry for moisture.
  4. Backup, backup, backup – We can’t stress this enough. With any hard drive based device it is absolutely necessary to keep a duplicate of your important files stored safely. Whether it is a PC or iPod regular backups should be scheduled. At iPod Repair Guys our repair specialists are experienced PC technicians as well. They report the number one cause of customer headaches is hard drive failure. An external hard drive can make up backing up simple and give you peace of mind every day that you don’t have to worry about losing your important data.
  5. Watch the connectors and jacks – The headphone jack can be damaged easily so use caution when inserting your headphones and audio/video cables. Stress on the jack can cause the internal connectors to not make solid contact and result in the loss of audio quality, loss of the left or right channel, or all audio. The bottom dock connectors are easily stressed and damaged as well. Be careful inserting and removing your dock cables. Damage to this connector generally results in full mainboard replacement.


As always iPod Repair Sharks is here to make your repair experience a little less painful. Feel free to contact us with any questions regarding repair of your iPod or visit our website at