Is there liquid detected in your lightning connector?
Don’t worry! This is a common alert, and seeing it is proof that the iPhone is doing what it should to protect itself.
So what causes the “liquid detected in lightning connector” alert, and what can you do to fix it?
The alert that liquid was detected in your lightning connector can be caused by a worn lightning connector on an accessory. Try other cables to see if that solves it. If there is liquid, you should tap the connector on your hand to remove excess liquid, then put it in a well-ventilated area to dry.
Ever since the iPhone XS range, Apple built in the functionality to detect liquid in the lightning connector. If a liquid is detected in the lightning connector, the accessory or charger will be disabled to avoid damaging any of the components.
This can be a bit frustrating, but it is better than suffering lasting damage. Let’s see what could cause this alert and how you can fix it quickly.
What Causes The Liquid In Lightning Connector Alert?
There are three things that could cause your iPhone to say that it detected liquid in the lightning connector, and they all have their own solutions.
1. Liquid Or Moisture Inside The Lightning Connector
Though modern iPhones are water-resistant, they are not waterproof. There’s a significant difference between the two. This means that a bit of water won’t damage the phone if it’s removed quickly, but a lot of water could still cause damage, especially if the phone is exposed to it for a long time.
The lightning connector is one part of the iPhone that can still get wet easily. Even though the liquid cannot easily get into the inner electronics of the phone through the connector, sending an electrical charge through a wet connector could cause corrosion or damage to the connector’s pins. This is obviously not ideal.
Moisture could enter the lightning connector when your iPhone is exposed to rain, spills, or other direct ways like the famous “underwater selfie” trend. You should always handle your phone with care. The iPhone’s water resistance should be seen as a safety measure, not a challenge.
An often-overlooked cause of liquid in the lightning connector is steam or humid air. Many people keep their iPhones in the bathroom while they shower. The water droplets in the air could cause condensation inside the lightning connector, causing the alert when they connect a charger or accessory to their iPhones.
2. Liquid Or Moisture On The Cable Connector
Sometimes the liquid isn’t located inside the iPhone’s lightning port but on the connector at the end of the charging cable or attachment. This is perhaps less common since most iPhones are more often exposed to liquid than their chargers and attachments, but it is still relatively common and, thankfully, easier to fix.
3. A Faulty Cable Or Attachment
As charging or attachment cables get worn out, the wires inside could start to touch one another and cause a short circuit. The iPhone will often miss-diagnose this short-circuit as liquid in the lightning connector since the signs are often the same: erratic electricity flow inside the connector.
How To Know What The Cause Is
Since you don’t always know the cause of the alert immediately, and it could be one of three different problems, you should try to determine the cause before attempting to resolve it. This is easy to do. Simply connect another cable or accessory to the phone’s lightning connector.
If the alert is still there when you connect another charger or accessory, you know that there is actually liquid inside the phone’s lightning port. If the alert is gone, it is either liquid on the accessory’s lightning connector or cable damage.
Fixing The Liquid Detected In Lightning Connector Alert
Once you know what’s causing the alert, you can now attempt to fix the problem. Depending on the cause, try the following fixes:
1. If The Attachment Or Charger Connector Has Moisture
This is the easiest fix. Use a soft, absorbent cloth or paper towel to dry the connector. Don’t rub the connector hard since this could wear on the connector pins, but any moisture should easily be absorbed into the towel or cloth just by pressing it down on the connector.
2. If The Attachment Or Charger Is Damaged
If removing the moisture from the attachment or cable didn’t resolve the issue, the chances are that it is damaged. The damage could be with the connector pins or due to worn-out wires inside the cable. In either of the cases, it’s best to replace the attachment or cable or contact the manufacturer if it’s still under warranty.
It’s worth mentioning that the connector isn’t necessarily damaged if it causes the moisture in the lightning connector alert. Sometimes, this is caused by dirt, grime, or oil on the attachment or charger cable’s connector. You can often see this quite clearly.
Though Apple and other manufacturers don’t recommend this, you can easily clean the connector pins by rubbing your fingers over the pins or, in extreme cases, using a cotton bud with some alcohol. Note that both of these could cause further damage, but users have reported on Apple support forums that it worked for them.
If you already suspect that you may need to replace the cable or attachment, it’s probably worth trying this method since you have nothing to lose.
3. If There’s Liquid Inside The iPhone’s Lightning Connector
If you actually have liquid inside the lightning connector, the best thing to do is let it dry out naturally. You can gently tap the phone on your hand with the lightning port down to shake out any excess liquid, but the remaining moisture will have to dry out by itself.
Put your phone in a dry, well-ventilated area and leave it to dry out. The moisture inside the lightning port will evaporate if you give it enough time. Let the phone’s connector dry out for at least 30 minutes before you try to connect it again.
Things You Should Never Do
There are a few things that iPhone users commonly do to get rid of moisture that could actually cause more damage. You should not do any of the following:
1. Don’t Use Any Chargers Or Accessories Until It’s Dry
Any friction or electric currents passing through the lightning connector while there’s moisture could cause additional wear on the connector pins. Once you’ve determined that it is definitely moisture, don’t plug anything back in there until the connector’s had time to dry out.
2. Never Use A Direct Heat Source To Dry It Out
Heat is the enemy of electronics, not to mention your iPhone’s battery. You should never use any direct heat source to dry out the lightning connector. This includes hairdryers, heaters, or sunlight. Though it will effectively remove the liquid from the port, it could cause other damage to electronic components or your battery or melt some of the plastics in the phone’s shell.
Heat can also cause corrosion of the connector pins leading to further damage.
3. Never Stick Anything Into The Port
We are often tempted to help the process along by poking things like cotton swabs or paper towels into the port to absorb the liquid. Though this could help clear out the moisture, it could also damage the sensitive connector pins and other electronics. Some fibers may also get stuck in the port, which could lead to all kinds of problems in the future.
4. Don’t Put Your iPhone In Rice
A standard solution that’s been around ever since the first cellular telephone fell into a toilet is the “put it in rice” technique. This fix is surrounded by controversy, with some people swearing by it while others wholeheartedly contend that it doesn’t work.
The theory is that the dry, uncooked rice will absorb moisture from the phone’s electronics. Whether this actually works or not, tiny rice particles may also get stuck in the lightning port, which will also cause further friction and damage to the connectors and pins. So regardless of how effective it is, it simply isn’t worth the risk of further damage.
What Would Happen If You Ignored The Alert?
Maybe all of this sounds like too much effort, and you just want to get on with using your iPhone. Well, firstly, your iPhone probably won’t let you. You can still use your iPhone if its battery has enough charge left. But the iPhone won’t allow you to charge its battery or use any attachments that use the lightning port, like USB cables or EarPods.
So whether you want to or not, the iPhone will force you to let it dry out or resolve the issue in some way or another in the interest of self-preservation.
Far from being the terrible news that the “liquid detected in lightning connector” alert seems to be, it’s really not a bad thing.
The fact that iPhones tell their users about the risk while blocking electrical signals in the process is an excellent protective feature.
Even at its worst, it’s not a death sentence for your phone, and taking the proper steps will quickly resolve the problem.