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Recovering data from a water damaged iPhone XS

By |2024-04-08T07:43:00+00:00March 18, 2020|Phones|Comments Off on Recovering data from a water damaged iPhone XS

Recovering Data from a Water Damaged iPhone XS

A Case Study

In this case study we have been sent a water damaged iPhone XS (A2097) for data recovery. It contains all our customer’s essential data. The device became water damaged on March the 7th and we received it the following week. You can see from images 1 + 2 below that the device has become rusty in places and liquid is still inside the phone. Click each photo to enlarge.

Our first port of call with any item like this is to take the logic board out, assess the damage and start cleaning. We use specialist heating applications to separate the logic board layers on the iPhone X, XS, XS Max and 11 as shown in the video below.

After we separate the two iPhone layers, the full extent of the water damage can be seen below.

Once we have the layers apart, we run the boards through a series of ultrasonic cleansing and decontamination processes. We use one of our specialist ultrasonic baths, configure a heat setting and allow it to remove corrosion and microscopic debris from the board.

After the cleansing is completed, the device is tested for anything electronic that may be a problem. We soon discover that there is a short to ground on one of the main power lines (PP_VDD_Main). Two capacitors are at fault and once removed and replaced the issue is alleviated.

More electronic tests are carried out (to both logic boards) and once we are confident the results look good; we attempt to power on the device. We have a lot of specialist tools for mobile phone data recovery and one of the most useful and time saving devices comes from QianLi. They create a lot of specialist tools specifically for this kind of precise work. One tool is theirs is iSocket (shown in the image).

This equipment allows us to connect the phone’s internal boards without having to solder them back together. This is extremely handy for tricky cases, as soldering and de-soldering these boards involves a specialist type of reballing, a lot of time and patience. It also means if we do connect everything up and there was still a problem, we can then start fixing issues on the board(s) a lot quicker than if we had soldered the layers back together.

As you can see in the final video below, once the water and electrical damage is repaired, we use the phone’s QianLi test rig to get the device booting and recover all the data.


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