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I have an iPhone 13 Pro Max and have junk in the lightning port and over the speakers/mics. I'm unable to clean them effectively by using the picking tools I have available. However, I do have a small ultrasonic cleaner that I use to clean my glass and brace. From my experience cleaning these two items as well as other items, the ultrasonic cleaner is really effective at cleaning things that are hard to clean using traditional tools.

If I submerge my iPhone into the ultrasonic cleaner (filled with tap water and on) for a prolonged duration (e.g. 5-10 min), will this cause water damage to my iPhone? Is water in an ultrasonic cleaner more "aggressive" or more "invasive" than ordinally still water when Apple tested iPhone for water resistance?

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TLDR - when cleaning the whole phone - Avoid getting moisture in any openings, and don't submerge your iPhone in any cleaning agents.

I couldn’t think of a better way to get water into a phone than your proposed method. Compressed air drives moisture past seals, as will ultrasonic vibrations. This would be worse if it dissolves salts and other corrosive items past all the seals and cracks to ensure they get inside with the water. Any components that get damaged by moisture or corroded (think the display and battery) would then start to fail.

  • Avoid getting moisture in openings.
  • Don’t use cleaning products or compressed air.

If you are going to disassemble the phone, you have a lot more options.

Ultrasonic cleaners are superb for cleaning the parts that are safe to be immersed once you disassemble the phone. In your case, once the port is electrically isolated, light mechanical cleaning and a purpose-made solvent to remove greases, oils and organic material might be preferable over water. A final cleanse with demineralized pure water is proper for the parts needing cleaning once removed.

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Apple says:

Rated IP68 (maximum depth of 6 meters up to 30 minutes) under IEC standard 60529

Which basically means water resistant. They never claim waterproof and I, personally, would never submerge any electronics in any liquid for the purposes of cleaning it.

Your best bet would be to try a little compressed air in a can that is commonly used for blowing the dust out of electronics.

Failing that you can visit fixit.com for disassembly instructions so you can better clean it out. If you are not comfortable doing that I would take it to an independent phone repair place and have them open it up and blow out the dust.

But submerge an iPhone in water to clean it? Nope, no, not gonna do it. And I would advise anyone to not do it either.

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I have a friend that runs a phone repair shop.

He cleans the ports gently, with an old toothbrush and a bit of alcohol.

Furthermore, regarding the waterproof/water resistance certifications of phones he says, you should never rely on those since the phone is just sealed with a bit of glue between the frame and screen/back panel. With everyday use the glue might degrade and liquids may seep into the phone. He has encountered numerous phones with reportedly waterproof/water resistance certifications that have water damage. You should think of those certifications as a safety feature and not as an option to take underwater photos for example.

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