How to Recover Photos from a Water Damaged iPhone

A little rain can’t hurt. Unless, you are a smartphone. Rain kills smartphones! But rain does not always kill data!

In this blog post, FlashFixers details the extreme measures used to successfully recover photos from a water damaged iPhone.

Fixing a Water Damaged iPhone

When rainwater got into Noelle’s iPhone 5s, it stopped working. All evidence of record-breaking moment was lost. Or so she thought. To read Noelle’s story, click here. Spoiler alert: All of Noelle’s photos were recovered!

Step 1. Identify Areas of Corrosion

When FlashFixers data recovery experts received Noelle’s rain damaged iPhone, it was unresponsive. They needed an inside look to assess the damage and fix the phone.

First, they disassembled Noelle’s phone to access its main logic board. Then, they unsoldered its protective metal shields and examined the circuitry under a microscope. What were they looking for? Contaminants. Contaminants from rainwater or other liquids can remain even after liquids evaporate. But more importantly, they can cause corrosion. Removing corrosion is usually enough to fix a water damaged phone.

Step 2. Remove the Corrosion

The data recovery experts removed the corrosion from Noelle’s iPhone in two steps. First, they dipped cotton swabs in 99% alcohol and used them for spot cleaning. Second, they dunked the entire logic board in an ultrasonic cleaner at 65° C for 10 minutes. This cleaning process had been used before to revive many water damaged phones. But it was not enough in Noelle’s case, as her iPhone still would not even power on.

iPhone 5s logic boards from a water damaged iphone

iPhone 5s logic boards. The PMIC chip (circled in red) from Noelle’s iPhone was placed in a donor iPhone.

Step 3. Board Level Troubleshooting

After removing the corrosion, the data recovery experts started board level troubleshooting of the iPhone. They tested the circuit voltages and traced the fault to a failed Power Management Integrated Circuit (PMIC) chip. The PMIC chip distributes power in specific voltages to the iPhone’s circuits. The technicians “harvested” an intact PMIC chip from another donor iPhone 5s logic board and used it to replace the failed PMIC from Noelle’s iPhone.

PMIC chip for iPhone 5s

PMIC chip for iPhone 5s

A close-up view of an iPhone 5s PMIC chip

A Successful Recovery

Lastly, FlashFixers data recovery experts reassembled the fixed logic board into a replacement phone. Almost immediately the iPhone turned on with all Noelle’s photos still there! Noelle’s 1009 pictures and 9 videos were saved, and as a result so were her memories.

For more information on FlashFixers data recovery services, visit http://flashfixers.com/.

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