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How to get photos off of a drowned iPhone

Hi there,

A friend of mine in Thailand just drowned his iPhone in the ocean and DESPERATELY wants to get the photos off of it. He's tried soaking it in rice, but it won't turn on and just heats up really badly around the camera area.

Is there a way to get photos off of an iPhone without being able to turn it on? Can you remove the hard drive and install it on another phone for instance?

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Hi Bill. @tomchai is correct, please avoid scammers trying to sell you software to recover data.

Your only real option is to have the phone looked at by a repair shop that does water damage and micro-soldering repairs. There are many good shops around the world so have your friend do some googling.

The phone will have to be professionally decontaminated in an ultrasonic cleaner with the proper chemicals to stop the corrosion from progressing. Unfortunately for your friend, the worst thing that happened was to drop it in the ocean (salt water) and the second worst thing was to put in rice. If your friend is lucky, the damage will be very localized and repairable. I would only focus on data recovery and not a usable phone.

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@refectio Sorry to side-note the OP topic; but when you said the 2nd worse thing to do is put it in rice, can you please elaborate on that so [dumb] folks like me can possibly better understand or perhaps gain insight into handling such electronic tragedies/situations, at least from a logistical standpoint!? Much appreciated!


The water is inside the phone, on the logic board and under the shields, even under the IC's. The rice is nowhere near where the water is. So while it may soak up some water vapour, the real problem is the corrosion that is taking place as the water evaporates. Powering on the phone accelerates the process. The longer you let a phone sit in rice, the more time you are giving corrosion to damage your logic board. The saltier or harder the water is, the more damage will occur.

On some phones, rice treatments appear to work. But those are phones that had minimal water ingress and not anywhere near a danger area on the logic board. They would have recovered regardless of the intervention.

The best thing to do is to have the phone looked at professionally asap or if that is not possible do the following:

*Open your phone and remove the logic board

*Inspect the logic board, especially around the connectors and look for corrosion.

*Inspect both sides of the board. Unfortunately, 80% of the board is covered in shields. That's usually where *the damage is occurring.

*Put your board in a container with >90% isopropyl alcohol and let it sit for a while.

*Use a soft brush, like a toothbrush and lightly brush away any corrosion you see.

*Rinse in alcohol and repeat.

*Let it air dry for a day.

*Re-assemble and hope for the best


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You NEED to turn it on to access anything inside. Swapping the flash memory chip will not work.

Anyone attempting to sell you data recovery software here are spammers, do not trust them and downvote/report their garbage immediately.

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Bill Trammel wird auf ewig dankbar sein.
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