Mobile Data Recovery from a Water Damaged iPhone

Unfortunately, we see lots of iPhones that have been damaged by water. Here’s what to do if you get your iPhone wet and want to recover your data.

While modern iPhones from the 7 onwards are water resistant, older models aren’t; and even the newer ones aren’t completely waterproof. Initial indications that your iPhone might be water damaged include power and start-up issues, hardware failure, warning or error messages and issues with applications. Your iPhone might restart as soon as it’s powered up, start up to the dreaded white screen of death, or simply not turn on at all. You may notice that a specific part of your iPhone’s hardware – like the speaker, microphone or camera – has stopped working, or your iPhone might be overheating. If there’s damage to the charging port, you might be presented with a “this accessory is not made for this iPhone” error message, and not able to charge your iPhone. If you can still use your iPhone, that’s great – get it backed up as soon as possible to ensure you have an up to date copy of your phone’s data. If you can’t, then don’t panic just yet – you may still be able to get your data back at home.

The first thing you should do if your iPhone is damaged by water is to power it down and attempt to dry it out. This can be achieved by placing into a sealed box or container filled with uncooked rice, or silica gel. Leave it here for a couple of days before you attempt to power it back up again. The rice method isn’t completely without risk, however, as it can lead to particles getting into your iPhone, so this should be a last resort. Never, under any circumstance, should you apply direct heat like a hairdryer to your iPhone. It might be worth putting it in a uniformly warm place like an airing cupboard, but direct heat could damage your iPhone’s NAND flash chips and render your data unrecoverable. Once you’ve left your iPhone for 48 hours, check to see if it powers up. If it doesn’t, to repair it, it’s best to take it to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store, but they won’t be able to help recover your data. For this, it’s best to consult a professional iPhone data recovery specialist who will be able to interrogate the NAND flash chips directly, without the need for the phone to be in working order.

The latest iPhone model, the iPhone XS, is rated IP68. The 6 pertains to dust ingress, while the 8 pertains to water. An IP68 rating means there will be no ingress of dust at all for at least 8 hours, and protection from immersion in at least 1 metre of fresh water, but typically 1.5-2 metres for 30 minutes. The previous models down to the iPhone 7 are also water resistant, but below that, there is no protection against water damage. It’s important to remember that the newer iPhone models are not completely waterproof, only resistant, and so can still be damaged by water.

Mobile Data Recovery