I washed my iPhone SE with my clothes in the washing machine on warm for about an hour. It didn't go through the dryer, but sat in the wet clothes for an extra hour after the cycle was complete.

I know there is a ton of information out there on the internet for recovering a water soaked phone, but many of the tips seem to be contradictory. (Use an oven on low temperature. No, an oven will damage it more, use a hair dryer! Wrong, a hairdryer will mess it up, use compressed air and rice. etc...) Its been sitting in a bowl of rice last night and today, but I'm concerned that it won't be enough. Any suggestions?

If not, I would desperately like to try to recover the notes from it. I keep a lot of very important notes on my iPhone, including all of my ideas and lots of information for business and school. The notes are not backed up on my computer or iCloud. The notes are equally(if not more) important than the phone itself.

Is there any way to recover my notes from the phone?

  • What was your Apple ID email? If it was like a gmail or yahoo or etc. Sign into another Apple device and add that account to your mail accounts and then make sure notes is checked and see if those notes were saved on the phone or via the email address. That happens too many times when people use alternate email addresses instead of iCloud. – Melvin Jefferson Oct 10 '17 at 2:43
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    This question contains contradictory information. First you said the notes are very important. Then you said they were not backed up nor synced with the cloud. Please clarify. – Andrea Lazzarotto Oct 11 '17 at 0:50
  • @AndreaLazzarotto what they are saying is that the photos are saved on the phone but not onto the iCloud server. I'm sure they checked iCloud.com before stating that. So since the notes are on the iPhone itself, then the iPhone needs to be saved - hopefully. – Melvin Jefferson Oct 11 '17 at 17:18
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    @Melvin, important information gets backed up, period. If you don't back it up, it's not important. I understand the literal meaning of the question, but there is a contradiction in its semantics. :) – Andrea Lazzarotto Oct 11 '17 at 17:19
  • @AndreaLazzarotto Agreed lol. – Melvin Jefferson Oct 11 '17 at 17:21

Have a technician (not an apple one) carefully open up the iPhone (hopefully you dont have a warranty). Remove the SIM card and battery. Then lay the halves flat and then use a vacuum cleaner with a long nozzle to dry out the moisture. Make sure its on low and that its not close to the phone. If too close it will short circuit the phone, making the motherboard useless. Make sure that there is no heat.

I've heard silica gel works also if you find an iPhone water damage professional, they can fix the issue. Just make sure they offer you a warranty.


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    Warranty is the last thing they will offer : coffee yes, warranty no - due to the high risk of failure , this is not a simple thing like a screen replacement. – Solar Mike Oct 10 '17 at 4:08
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    This thing requires a digital forensics expert more than a technician. – Andrea Lazzarotto Oct 11 '17 at 0:48

Btw you could immediately have disconnect the battery from board if possible. That will prevent further short circuits. One thing I can suggest is, replacing battery and try turning on if possible. In most water damage scenarios battery is the fault of not turning on. If you don't have that option running into service center is the best option better than its late.


Your best chance at recovering data is getting your phone to someone who knows how to properly decontaminate the logic board. Rice, silica gel and other desiccants don't work. All they do is allow the water to fester and corrode the solder balls under the IC's. No amount of heating, drying, bags of rice for days or even vacuuming will change this. If you fail to resist the temptation and actually power on your device, then you will blow components due to water or corrosion residue shorting the power rails. I have written extensively about this on iFixit.

To start, do the following:

  • Open your phone and remove the logic board (iFixit has repair guides)
  • 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 30-60 minutes.
  • 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.

A professional repair shop that does water damage repair may be able to recover your phone or the data because they have access to pro-level ultrasonic baths and specialized cleaners as well as the skills to troubleshoot your board. Many shops have a no fix/no fee policy so you don't have to spend money to find out if the phone is fixable or not.

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