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How to Tell if Your iPhone Has Water Damage

Are you planning to buy a used iPhone? Great! Did you think of checking whether it suffered any iPhone water damage? Once an iPhone makes contact with water or steam, Apple (and others) will be able to check. This has an influence on what kind of warranty repairs you can expect and can be quite detrimental to the value of an iPhone. Apart from warranty issues, there is of course the fact that an iPhone with prior water damage probably won’t live as long as an undamaged unit.

Thus you should take a minute to learn how to spot iPhone water damage by checking the liquid contact indicator (LCI) on the unit in question. This is also a great thing to check when you are planning to sell a device yourself. The LCI can be triggered by simply showering and keeping the phone nearby, or through other situations in which there is no actual iPhone water damage. There’s no magic behind the LCI. It basically works as a simple indicator strip, which takes on a color when moist or wet. Typically those indicator strips are white or silvery in color and change to red when tripped.

Are liquid contact indicators reliable?

Unfortunately, they only serve to give a rough idea of whether the unit has been exposed to water. Apple has a history of false positives with its 3M-manufactured LCI’s and they’ve had to correct its stance in multiple cases. Users were complaining of being denied replacements on the basis of activated LCI’s, while their units had no contact with water whatsoever. Taking a hot bath or a steamy shower with the iPhone in the same room is the most common cause for a false positive. Since the initial problems however, Apple have improved their procedures and indicator strips.

Loss of warranty

Your unit won’t be covered by warranty or at least there is a plausible possibility of being denied warranty services, if the liquid contact indicator appears to be red. Apple Store employees will know what to check for, in order to thoroughly verify whether there is any functional damage to the iPhone in question.

Can I check my LCI? Where is the liquid contact indicator located?

Apple provides a handy table that lists and visually illustrates all of the different indicator positions for the different generations of iPhones. For the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, check the SIM-card slot. If you see a red spot, your indicator has made contact with or detected water/steam in its vicinity. Source:

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