This is How Apple Knows You Dropped Your iPhone in Water

If you have to take your iPhone into the Apple store for service you might be surprised to watch the Apple Genius pull apart your iPhone and take a look at a small dot on the inside.

This small sensor tells the Apple tech if your phone has been in contact with water, and it’s something that might change in the iPhone 5 thanks to a recent patent.

Right now it’s tough for you to check to see if your iPhone has a tripped water sensor because the indicator sits inside the phone near the SIM card slot. It’s the pink dot in the image below.

iPhone water Sensor dot

The pink sensor inside the iPhone indicates water damage and or exposure.

This phone was sent to SquareTrade for warranty service after coming into contact with water.


Apple depends on these sensors to determine if it will replace your broken iPhone under warranty or not. The standard Apple warranty does not cover water damage, but AppleCare+ and SquareTrade warranties do.

We spoke with Ty Shay, Chief Marketing Office at SquareTrade to learn more about water damaged iPhones and why Apple might make the switch to an external indicator.

Shay told GottaBeMobile that about 20% of SquareTrade’s claims are from water damage, but cautions that full water immersion is not the major killer.

Shay points to factors such as,

  • Humidity,
  • Condensation,
  • Spills,
  • Sweat,

and other activities as common reasons for a tripped water sensor. Even with these non immersion triggers he says the sensors are not overly sensitive.

Spilled drinks at restaurants are increasingly landing on iPhones, and Shay warns that a growing number of restaurants are putting warnings up saying they are not responsible.

If Apple includes the new water sensor in the iPhone 5 or a future iPhone the phone could track events where water damage occurred. This would provide Apple Geniuses with more information about damaged iPhones.

For users it might mean an end to free replacements for under warranty iPhones, if an easier and more accurate sensor is used.

An extended warranty that covers accidental damage is quickly becoming a must have phone accessory for many users.

For a detailed comparison of iPhone warranty and insurance options, check out our iPhone 4S Warranty Showdown.