Two days ago, I dropped my iPhone6 into a water-filled bowl in the kitchen. (Yes, you may laugh now).

I got it out after about 2 seconds, dried it, and did what you do in such cases: Open the case, dry any traces of water, leave it open to dry.

I removed some (very little) water behind the screen and on top of the SIM card. The rest of the device was dry.

I did not unplug any internal connectors, nor did I turn the device off.

After two hours, I closed the device again. Everything appeared to work.

In the evening, I took some photos using the standard rear-facing camera, including flash.

Yesterday during the day I walked around on a metal floor wearing insulating shoes and when I touched the phone, I felt a quite strong electrical discharge. It didn't appear to have had any impact on the phone, but I didn't test all of the functions immediately.

Yesterday evening (so, about 36 hours after the drop-it-in-the-water event, and about 24 hours after the last confirmed time the camera + flash worked), I found that the camera and the flash wouldn't work anymore. Symptoms:

  • activating the "flashlight" functionality makes the icon quickly turn "active" and then "inactive" again, without the flash LED ever turning on

  • starting the standard camera app shows a black screen. It is possible to switch between "modes" (video, photo, square, etc), with always the same black screen. Sometimes it's possible to switch to the front-facing camera, which appears to work normally; when switching back to the back-facing camera, the image blurs and the camera app appears to be hung

  • apps that use the camera (such as QR code readers) appear to use the front-facing camera, which appears to work normally

Rebooting the phone didn't change anything.

I have done some research, and found it to be possible that humidity corroded the camera connector over some time, which caused it to lose contact. So I opened the phone again, disconnected the four connectors that connect the "front" part to the "back" part (digitizer, front camera, home button, screen) and disconnected the camera connector that is behind those. Visual inspecition didn't show any corrosion.

Doing this, I also disconnected the battery from the phone for some minutes, to make sure to have the hardrware fully reset.

When doing this, I also found that the flash LED is not in fact part of the camera, and is not connected with the same connector.

After carefully cleaning the connectors with dry air and reinserting them, the phone is in the same state as before: Everything appears to work, except for the back-facing camera and its flash LED.

So, I would like to ask you the following questions:

  1. Is it plausible that a corroded camera connector causes the "flash LED not working as a flashlight" symptom, even though it is not part of the same hardware? (i.e. is the software written in a way that the phone won't turn on the flash LED if there is no camera device detected?)

  2. If we assume the problem is really a corroded connector, would it help to buy a replacement "rear-facing camera" off ebay and exchange the one in the phone for it?

  3. Is it plausible that the broken camera has nothing to do with the "phone falls into water" incident, but rather with "I touched the phone and got an electrostatic discharge" incident?

Thank you very much!

  • 2
    take it to the apple store – WM. Dec 30 '14 at 14:16
  • Warranty already blown by taking it apart. I'd guess it survived the attempted drowning but failed the fricassee test. – Tetsujin Dec 30 '14 at 14:21
  • I ordered a replacement camera module now, apparently you can get those for less than $10 off ebay. I'll update this question when I know whether this fixes the problem. – ftc Jan 8 '15 at 9:31
  • Any update on this question?? I did the exact same thing – user119263 Mar 23 '15 at 15:17
  • I got a replacement camera module, but after exchanging the module, the phone would still behave the same. I'm considering working with isopropyl alcohol to clean the logic board side of the camera connector now, will update this question if there is a result. – ftc Mar 25 '15 at 7:53

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