One of the best features of modern smartphones is their water resistance, but that does not imply they are completely immune to problems caused by liquids.
If your iPhone displays “Liquid Detected” or “Charging Unavailable,” you must act immediately to prevent harm.
What NOT To Do
Before we get into what you should do if you see this liquid detection alert, let’s start with what you shouldn’t do:
- Do NOT press the Emergency Override button (in some versions of iOS) until you’re sure there’s no liquid present.
- Don’t use compressed air to blow out the Lightning charging port.
- Don’t try to use any other Lightning accessory with your phone.
- Refrain from sticking cotton buds or other absorbent materials into the port.
- Don’t put your iPhone in rice. Seriously.
- Don’t try to use heat, such as from a hair dryer, to dry the port or cable.
The most important thing to remember is not to panic and have patience. We want to resolve the problem without damaging the phone!
Remove the Cable
If this message appears after connecting a Lightning cable, remove the cable immediately. This not only reduces the likelihood of an electrical short (although the iPhone already protects itself), but it also reduces the drying time required if fluids is to blame.
Dismiss the Popup
While you should not immediately activate the Emergency Override option, it is safe to press the Dismiss button. This removes the warning message but prevents current from flowing via the port.
If you have sufficient battery life remaining, you can continue to use your phone and attempt to charge it again when the port is dry, but there are ways to expedite this process.
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Turn Your Phone Off
Turning off your phone to conserve battery power until you can charge it again is a good idea. This can also assist avoid further water intrusion damage.
Shake Out Excess Liquid
According to Apple’s official recommendations, you should attempt to drain excess liquid from your port. The term “excess” liquid refers to visible droplets, not the thin layer of water that causes something to be wet. After disconnecting your cord, press the back of your phone on the palm of your hand with the port facing down to remove any extra moisture.
You may need to repeat this process until it is evident that no more droplets are flowing from the phone. After removing excess liquid by shaking, you must wait at least 30 minutes before attempting again. If the issue persists, your phone requires further drying time.
Air Dry Your Port
Letting nature take its course is the most effective approach to dry out your port. The liquid within the phone should evaporate into the air over the course of a few hours if it is placed in a dry, well-ventilated area with low humidity.
If at all possible, the port should face downwards so that gravity helps expedite the removal of moisture. Additionally, silica gel packets or other dry dehumidifiers can be used to lower the humidity in the storage area.
Avoid placing your phone in direct sunlight or near a heat source. This can cause device damage and, in extreme circumstances, battery fires.
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Clean Your Lightning Port
Apple warns avoiding inserting anything into the Lightning port, including cotton swabs and especially conductive objects like metal pins. In our experience, USB-C and Lightning connectors collect detritus over time, such as lint. This material can absorb and retain water for an extended period of time, not to mention cause your Lightning plug to become loose.
Examine the Lightning port with a flashlight to determine if it contains debris. Then, at your own risk, you may use a thin, blunt, non-conductive instrument to gently remove any debris. We’ve found that flat plastic toothpicks are the most effective.
Dry Your Lightning Plug
It is easy to overlook that this problem has two sides, the other being the plug that goes into the port. There is no point in drying out your port, reinserting a wet plug, and repeating the cycle over again.
Use a towel or similar absorbent object to dry your Lighting plug. Leave it in the same low-humidity environment as your phone and allow both to dry for comparable amounts of time.
Water can become trapped between the metal connector and the plastic sheath of cable plugs. Some third-party charging cables may also be constructed with a substance that can absorb liquids.
Try a Different Charger
In some instances, the “liquid detected in Lightning connector” warning is a false positive, and a third-party cable or charger is a common cause of this false positive. If your cable and port are both dry, consider utilising Apple-authorized or MFi-certified hardware to rule out a design flaw. On websites such as Amazon, there are numerous Lightning cables and chargers of inferior quality that are not certified.
Use a Wireless Charger
The fact that your iPhone’s Lightning port is now not receiving power does not mean that your device is doomed. If you have an iPhone X or later model, you can still charge your device wirelessly.
This is particularly beneficial if the problem takes a long time to address, as you can continue to use your phone.
Restart Your Phone
If, after properly drying the port and cable, you continue to receive the error when you connect your phone, try rebooting the device. This has been reported as a solution by iPhone users in circumstances when no actual water was involved and the issue was only a bug.
On iPhones with a Home button, press and hold the side button until the Slide to turn off the device message appears, and then drag the slider to the right. If you have a newer iPhone without a Home button, you must simultaneously press the side button and volume up button to use the Slide to Delete message option. To turn the phone back on, you must push the side button until the Apple logo appears.
When to Use the Emergency Override Button
Therefore, you either have an iPhone that does not support wireless charging or you do not have wireless charging. You need need to charge your phone, and you’re tempted to click the Emergency Override button to restore power. Might you?
Activate the emergency override if you are convinced that this is a false alarm and no liquid is present in the port. Similarly, if the phone has been given sufficient time to dry, it may be safe to push that button.
You do so at your own risk, as allowing power to flow when liquid is present in the connector can produce an electrical short and irreparably harm your phone.
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Signs of Suspected Liquid Damage
Water detected in your iPhone’s port may be a symptom of wider water damage, which is frequently undetectable and may progressively damage your phone over time by penetrating it and causing corrosion.
Your phone may be rated as water-resistant, but this is only true when you first remove it from the packaging. It is conceivable for the seals that prevent fluids from entering undesirable areas to become damaged over time due to normal wear and tear. It’s not a major concern if the phone never gets wet, but the day it falls into a puddle of water will be the day you realise the seals have failed.
Apple has installed a liquid contact indicator (LCI) in every iPhone model manufactured after 2006 and provides a chart indicating the location of the LCI in each model with one.
If your phone lacks an LCI, other indicators may be present. Moisture visible within the camera, below the protective glass, is a typical indication of water damage. Your phone’s physical buttons may stop functioning, and its speakers may produce distorted sound. If your phone has been entirely or partially submerged in water, especially salt water, there is a strong possibility that it has sustained permanent liquid damage.
Send Your Phone For Evaluation
If you are unable to repair the issue yourself or suspect water damage, you should contact Apple immediately for a professional inspection at an Apple store. After opening the phone, an Apple support expert will swiftly determine if there is water damage, and if there is no damage, they may be able to repair the Lightning port.
If your phone is insured, water damage repairs or replacements may also be covered. Unfortunately, the Apple Care Plus warranty does not cover water damage, however the repair or replacement charge may be much less than without coverage.