Instructions for those who drowned the iPhone in the water. What to do and not to do + photo from a microscope
You do not know fear, if you did not look into the eyes of those who dropped the iPhone in the water.
This can happen to anyone. And always no time. The situations are different, the result is the same: the smartphone lives the last days, hours, and sometimes even minutes. Now it depends only on your actions what happens next. The line between a pile of expensive metal and a fully functional smartphone is thin, crossing the urban legends.
What happens to the iPhone in its last hours, how to turn back time and why popular methods are doubly dangerous - later in our article, based on the experience of hundreds of thousands of unhappy owners of the iPhone and iPad.
Water iphone is not a toy
Enemy need to know in person. Especially this, without which human life is impossible. Natural water, no matter where it comes from, is the worst enemy of electronics. Have you ever wondered why this is happening? Contrary to the opinion of some, the fluid itself does not interfere with electronics work and perform its task. The point is water, or rather, its chemical composition.
The water you drink, in which you bathe and wash your hands, is much more complicated than it looks at first glance. Bottled, running, spring, sea, river - water available to humans, arising in nature or treated for drinking, contains microscopic salt ions and minerals. You see them without a microscope almost every day. For example, in the form of traces remaining on the window after the rain. Or on the glass above the sink.
Salts and minerals are an important part of drinking water and one of the reasons why a person simply has to drink in order to survive. It is the mineral composition that makes us prefer one producer of bottled water to another: the ratio of minerals and salts in the liquid determines its taste. All this is not in distilled water - and therefore a person is not recommended to drink it. With any liquid, those same minerals and salts are flushed out of the body, and if ordinary drinking water makes up for the loss, then the “dead” one damages the health of the body.
Why do we need distilled water? Salts and minerals present in the composition of ordinary natural water tend to precipitate and accumulate over time. Moreover, they are all chemically active elements capable of an oxidation reaction — that is, upon contact with oxygen - damage the structure of the metal and other materials. That is why distilled water, in particular, is recommended for use with steam irons. Electronics and metal is good, man is bad.
Do you know another property of ions in water? They conduct electricity well. Some by nature have a positive charge, while others are negative. Hence the legendary electrical conductivity of ordinary, natural water.
An electronic device that has fallen into natural water and continues to work, comes into close, simultaneous contact with ions of negative and positive charges. The flow from the energy source in the device instantly closes on itself. This is called "short circuit" . It often causes irreparable damage to all components of the device, conducting electricity in this circuit.
By dropping into the water a working smartphone, tablet, computer, and any electronic device in general, you are arranging an instant local apocalypse inside the case. The greater the contact of the internal components with water, the more serious the consequences will be. It is clear that it is better never to do that - but life dictates its own rules.
I dropped the iPhone in the water. What to do?
Immediately remove the smartphone from the water and turn it off if it has not turned off by itself. If you do not have an iPhone, just as quickly open the case cover and remove the battery.
You can breathe out, but you can not relax. In those seconds the further fate of the device was decided. The switched on device under water could survive the most powerful short circuit, and if water got inside the case, these short circuits can (and will) be repeated until you completely disconnect the power supply. Since you cannot get a battery from an iPhone, your situation remains extremely difficult. Even when turned off, an energy source remains inside, which does not need to receive commands from you to exchange impulses with water and fry a couple of chips on the motherboard. The account still goes to the hours and minutes.
Carefully wipe the device , removing all visible water. If you do not have the necessary tools to parse the iPhone case, cancel the case and immediately go to the service center . And not the one that is in the official stores of operators and hypermarkets. To go there is the right way to say goodbye forever to the device, the data on it and, of course, money.
You need to go directly to the repairmen. On the way, make sure that the smartphone does not turn back on without your knowledge. In no case do not wrap it in towels and in general in any fabric: this will increase the humidity inside the case, which will raise the chances of parting with the gadget several times. Feet in hand - and forward.
Having handed over the device into the hands of qualified specialists - not indifferent consultants from merchant shops, but by the repairmen themselves - you can exhale and wait for the call. And you have to wait at least until tomorrow. Maybe a week. Each case is unique: someone lucky, and water does not penetrate to the motherboard. In such cases, thorough cleaning and drying is sufficient. And someone will die some kind of microprocessor on the board, and then the repair time will last for days, sometimes weeks because of the search for the necessary components for replacement.
Do not rush to get upset. The most important thing is that in the current situation you did everything right. But what if you do not have the opportunity to immediately go to the service? Suddenly have to wait until tomorrow? From now on, the fantasy of homegrown geniuses can take hold of you. On the Internet, they just do not recommend it in such cases. The head usually does not think at all.
Folk medicine and deceptive confidence
Unsuccessful forums are full of tips on how to "revive" the recessed iPhone. On the surface are dozens of stories about the owners of the devices, who have done a few simple procedures - and voila, a miracle happened, and since then everyone has lived happily ever after. We will not deny: in some cases, people are really lucky. Here are just relying on "maybe" - the last thing you want to do when it comes to a smartphone for a thousand dollars.
So, you turned off and wiped the device dry with shaking hands. Do not take a hairdryer in your hands: hot air will accelerate the evaporation of the liquid, but it can easily damage the internal components and cause accelerated destruction of the contacts on the board. If you have a suitable screwdriver, and you know what you are doing, you can try to disassemble the gadget completely. But what to do next?
Traditional medicine has come up with many ways to help the "drowned", but one of them is many times more popular than all the others. Network wisdom says: if you put an iPhone in a container with rice , the next morning it will become dry even inside and will work as before. As usual with such recipes, this is partly useful advice. And partly very harmful - because it is deceptive .
The method is as follows. Immediately after the incident, you turn off the device, wipe it from moisture. You pour as much rice as possible into a plastic container and put your iPhone inside. Including disassembled. These "wise men" here add that the container or package must be closed tightly. Keep the device inside should be no more than 24 hours . After this time, you will need to thoroughly clean the headphone and lightning connectors from the rice crumbs. This procedure is supposedly completed.
What actually happens in this container? Let us consider the case when an iPhone is placed there, barely touching the water. If nothing really got into the case, in a day you will remove a very lively, fully functional device. Rice absorbs the remnants of moisture , including microscopic droplets, remaining in shallow holes in the housing. In particularly successful cases, this may indeed be sufficient.
I did not just mention that rice is a very deceptive measure of salvation . Water can and will absorb. Only water is so bad. Mineral substances and salts inevitably dissolved in it are much more dangerous . The liquid, evaporating from the boards and cables of the iPhone, will leave behind crystals, invisible to the naked eye, but extremely dangerous for electronics.
Deposits of salts and minerals remaining on the board, on contact with oxygen, begin to oxidize . The process is accompanied by the slow erosion of sensitive, vital parts in the device. The consequences for the user can be very different: from strange glitches that you want to write off for firmware problems, to real problems, such as a sharply denying wireless module or a loss of screen sensitivity with false positives.
Do you think that evil repairmen are trying to intimidate you? Unfortunately, you are not the first and not the last, who then comes to them after rice with a dead "pipe". Believing in the curative qualities of cereals, people continue to use smartphones, not realizing what they carry in their pockets a device sentenced to death. One day something will fail, and it will hurt everyone. Even a service center, whose specialists will have to do several times more work on replacing contacts and chips.
What happens to the iPhone after getting into the water
During my previous visit to the service center, I casually touched on the theme of "drowned". Further communication with one of the masters and led to writing a separate article that you are reading right now. Together with Alexander, I suggest you consider in detail what happens to the internal components of the iPhone after immersion in water . And not after 15 minutes, but for several days, or even weeks.
Every day bring iPhones with a variety of breakdowns. Interestingly, some of them turned out to be caused by the long-time contact of the device with water. The owner may have already forgotten about what happened or believed in miraculous healing. And inside all this time, the rotting of very important electronic components slowly and surely took place. Nobody likes naked statements, so let's get down to business.
All smartphones that get into the service due to contact with water, urgently understand to the last cable and screw . Each spare part, which has traces of water, is blown out by a pressed air flow, and then checked in detail for more serious damage. Some of them cannot be restored: for example, a camera module whose tightness has been broken. If you are at least a hundred times a master with a capital letter, the spare part will have to be replaced with a new one.
As a rule, serious cases of water ingress inside the case leave marks on the motherboard. From this moment the Russian roulette begins - both for the repairman and for the owner of the device. It's one thing when, after contact with water, you can limit yourself to replacing the speaker or microphone, and quite another when the motherboard is under the threat of decomposition. Anyone who has ever encountered iPhone breakdowns knows that the “motherboard” is the most expensive part of the Apple smartphone , and getting a new one is not only difficult, but also expensive - almost the same as going to the store and buying a new device.
These masters do not like easy ways. For a long time, they have been engaged in the repair of flooded iPhones and, judging by the contents of the order box, they are fighting for every motherboard.
Special equipment helps the guys in the difficult and tedious work. For example, this powerful soldering station. It is she (and straight arms, naturally) that allows you to lift gadgets with rotten chips and contacts “from their knees”.
On the edge of this soldering apparatus, more than one hundred iPhones and iPads came to life. During the shooting, I noticed: Alexander's hands are absolutely still, no tremor. Then I wanted to make a joke on this topic, but then a microscope was moved inappropriately. Childish love for such things instantly knocked out of my head all the other thoughts. Men's (and the largest) half of the readers of the site will understand me.
The microscope is not intended for a biologist-researcher: after all, the scale of electronics is slightly larger. This tool allows you to very quickly find problem areas on microchips and boards. Having suppressed the desire to stick there absolutely all the objects in the hall, I suggested looking at the “motherboard” from the iPhone, which collided with water in full. For a start, a more or less lively copy belonging to the last iPhone 5 was found.
So, at first glance, everything is fine with the board. This misconception is the main problem of drowned iPhones: damage from water and oxidation can be minimal, and the effect will be critical. The first and absolutely necessary action that awaits all the wet devices - cleaning from salts and minerals , as well as from oxidizing metal.
Thought to see an unusual unit? Everything is much easier. Experience shows that for this purpose it is quite enough to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Naturally, this is not done dry: the special Contact Cleaner solution applied to the brush removes traces of oxidation and salt residues from the board.
As soon as the solution dries, it is time to assess the damage. There is nowhere without a microscope, especially during subsequent soldering. Together with Alexander, I looked inside the camera lens. It turned out quite normal, downright macro photo.
See the water? I do not see either. She is there, in fact, no longer exists. But salts and minerals managed to split one of the connectors on the motherboard, which is attached to the cable from the display. What could threaten such a situation? Oddly enough, the device from the side works fine. But this impression is erroneous.
There were several problems. First, the iPhone did not want to catch the network. Probably one of the wireless-related ICs was damaged. And secondly, the touch screen worked very poorly. Every now and then false positives worked, and the real ones were not recorded at all. Working with a smartphone was extremely problematic. But the owner of this particular device is still well off. Situations are worse.
Think that iphone was out of luck? “To this Khan” - Alexander sadly confirms, guessing my thoughts. Theoretically, it is possible to restore such a fee, but the amount of work here is simply unthinkable. In addition to powerful multi-stage cleaning, here you need to check absolutely all the chips , up to the smallest. The owner of this gadget either threw the smartphone into the washing machine and left it there for the night, or simply took it out and scored on it, remembering a couple of days later.
This is the iPhone for those who believe in rice, hair dryer and other tales of the Vienna Woods. And for those who postpone a trip to the service until better times.
Returning to the still breathing specimen, I noticed several other traces of contact with liquid. “This is not the worst” - as if the master is encouraging. Returning to the microscope, I look at the other side, where the wireless communication chips are located.
If an insect has its leg taken off, it may still live. But not for long. And painfully. This iPhone feels the same way, the contacts of one of the chips in which they rotted by themselves due to the owner's negligence. I do not know about you, but personally I was very sad to look at all this. Perhaps someone did not have time to take earlier. Or just did not know. Or maybe they read some cool and not at all bad advice on the Internet and decided that “first aid” would be enough.
It looks like a typical drowned man, who was still lucky. Spots under the screen, broken communication, wildly buggy touchscreen display. The most annoying thing is that in most cases all this could have been avoided.
The moral of this story is as follows. Dropped the iPhone? Next to the service. Quickly! And leave the rice for breakfast.
Warned - Armed
No one is immune from problems. But those who know how to behave are much more likely to get out of the water dry. Together with a working iPhone and iPad. I don’t want such situations to anyone, but if this happened to you, family or friends, don’t waste time. As in the salvation of the present drowning, the bill here goes on for seconds. Follow the well-known proverb does not work: the iPhone has no hands. So take action yourself: dry quickly and immediately go to the specialists. You will be helped.