Recover Photos/Data from Liquid Damaged iPhone iPad
This article will explain what can be done once your device has been a victim of liquid/water damage and is not operable. In these situations, your device’s data such as photos, notes, contacts, or any other valuable information that cannot be accessed is at risk of being lost. To be specific, we will be focusing on Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads but some of this information will also be helpful for other brand electronics. With the same token, there are other cases of physical damage such as a bent, crushed, etc. devices that may call for a data recovery job. However, in these situations, it seems like there are two extremes in this event. First, The unit may seem toast on the outside but a simple screen or other hardware replacement can get the iPhone, iPad, or other devices operable again and a dive into the guts of the device is not necessary. On the other hand, there is a certain flex or give that a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) inside of a device can handle before its internal circuit traces endure breaks (open lines), bridge one another, and/or contact the ground plain (short circuit). In these situations repairing the damaged traces becomes impossible. With that being said this article will mainly focus on liquid damaged iDevices and what actions can be done before, during, and after the fact to make data recovery as smooth and successful as possible.
Before we get into water or liquid damage, it is important to understand what you can do to prepare your device for the unpredictable case that your iPhone or iPad gets liquid damaged, crushed, bent, or any other reason for your iDevice to stop functioning and to safeguard your valuable data from the possibility of being doomed forever. Apple offers iCloud storage plans to be used as external memory storage for your device (this is a great preemptive step but not helpful once your device is not operable). Once you get your device backed up to an iCloud storage plan, It ensures your most important data such as pictures, contacts, messages, or any information you wish to protect is safe. This data is then stored in the cloud outside of your device. Therefore, whenever your device becomes inoperable all of the data from the point of your last backup will be saved and accessible from another Apple device or iTunes. In the iPhone and iPad settings, it is possible to allow iCloud to back up your data automatically after you have allowed this feature. Currently, Apple offers 5GB of free storage along with 50GB, 200GB, and 2TB of paid monthly plans starting at $0.99 per month. You can also customize what information you wish to be insured to save storage and include only your most important data. There are also other third-party online storage services available that have their own pros and cons. It is highly encouraged to set up some sort of online cloud-based storage protection to be prepared for the event that your device fails in one way or another.
Usually if you're looking to recover data you didn't have the device backed up. Now that your iPhone, iPad or other device has been water damaged It is critical to understand what actions need to be taken, and avoided, in order for phone, tablet, etc. to undergo the least amount of damage. There is a commonly known practice that people are encouraged to take in this event but little do they know, this will actually harm and increase the inflicted damage to your device. Rice is great and versatile food, however, let's keep it that way and not use rice as a means of attempting to absorb liquid from your electronics. Not only is rice unable to absorb water that it is not in contact with, but there are also more effective measures that can be taken and definitely avoided. Under no circumstance should you connect your liquid damaged device to power until you are certain that the inside of your device is drier than Sahara. Water is a great conductor of electricity acting as a wire that connects all PCB components, that it is in contact with, sending all kinds of inaccurate voltage ratings down circuits. Therefore, it is almost a ritual for one to connect their device to power after a few days or weeks in rice and consequently inflicting more damage to their still wet phone. Alternatively, after water exposure you should turn off your device, as soon as possible, limiting the amount of time it is powered on. In most cases, the symptoms of liquid damage are immediate such as screen distortion. This will determine whether powering off the device is possible. If you are comfortable with opening or taking apart your device, you may want to take a step further and disconnect any batteries that are connected inside. This will cut off any remaining power from the device. If you're versed in the guts of your iPhone or iPad, removing all PCBs and towel or blow drying them will be highly effective.
It is probable to come out with a functioning device with little to no damage is given that the device was relieved from power and dried completely in a timely manner. It should be noted that in most scenarios dismembering your phone on the spot is not possible. Seldom will you have access to the necessary tools and workspace for the job! For this reason, powering off your phone and avoiding a charger is the most practical response.
After your phone has been submitted to water damage, It becomes clear that valuable data stored in your phone is jeopardized. As mentioned previously, this is the case if your device has not been backed up to an external database in which the only hope of retrieving lost data is by performing repairs to the water-damaged board inside. This is a service that we provide at JoesGE repair center. Due to the nature of water damage, it is not guaranteed that the phone will function as before once data is retrieved nor that the phone will even be operable. The objective of this service is to retrieve your valuable data and the condition of the device, after the operation, is determined by the severity of the damage. Given that water carries oxygen, it eats away and corrodes solder connections and joints. Corrosion may also bridge multiple solder points destructing circuits. Initially, in the repair process, all areas of the board that show water damage will be noted as those are the parts that will be worked on. Water also seeps under IC chips along with its corrosive nature. In order to remove corrosion, we submerge the board into an ultrasonic cleaner that uses ultrasound, in distilled water and a cleaning solvent, to remove most of the corrosion. Ultrasonic cleaners do a great job of removing corrosion and exposing permanently damaged components. These components must be removed, replaced, or retinned/reballed for BGA (Ball Grid Array) chips depending on the severity of the corrosion and the type of component. On the outside, IC chips may look great, but if they are near areas of the board that are corroded, there is a good chance that water has leaked underneath them. Schematics and a multimeter are essential tools for locating damaged circuits that visual inspection with a microscope cannot detect. Whenever all necessary circuits required for the phone to power on are repaired, the data can then be pulled from the device via connecting to a computer with a data extracting software.
Now you know the steps to take depending on the severity of water damage to your iPhone or iPad. We understand how frustrating it can be to lose memories and offer a service that can recover data in what can appear to be an impossible situation. You can read our frequently ask data recovery questions if you need help we encourage you to contact us with other questions regarding the data recovery service option.