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One of the first iPhone 7 recoveries ever done in the world involved a device sent to DriveSavers after it went overboard on a trip to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
The newest iPhone is advertised as water-resistant*, but this one could not survive the November 8, 2016 dunking into approximately 10 feet of water in the Coral Sea just off the coast of Queensland.
The user, who is from South Carolina, asked to remain anonymous, but he agreed to talk to DriveSavers about the experience.
He told us the phone slipped overboard on a tour boat excursion.
“It fell in, and I was able to retrieve it. I wiped it off, but it didn’t work too well after that,” the user explained. “I took a couple more (pictures) and a video and then it died. The water had gotten in where the battery was.”
All of his photos and videos from the visit to Australia were at risk as well as his contacts and address book information. None of this data was backed up elsewhere, so recovery of the water-soaked phone was the only hope for visual memories of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
When he got back to the United States, the phone’s owner went to a company called uBreakiFix that repairs damaged iPhones. In this case, the phone was not repairable, so they recommended DriveSavers for data recovery.
“They (uBreakiFix) opened it up in the shop and tried to fix it, but that wasn’t possible,” the user explained. “Then, they recommended DriveSavers and we took it there and it worked out. All of our pictures from our two-week trip were recovered.”
A pioneer in data recovery since 1985, DriveSavers has been recovering data from damaged, malfunctioning and broken iPhones since Apple’s first smartphone model was introduced nearly ten years ago.
The first step at DriveSavers was to evaluate the condition of the phone and its contents.
“When we opened the phone, we found what we suspected—salt water corrosion” explained Mike Cobb, director of engineering at DriveSavers. “This can be very damaging, but we were able to work through it.”
“In cases like this, our engineering team has to go through every component on the phone,” Cobb said. “If the chips had been totally corroded, this would have been a lost cause, but we got it in time to pull the data of these digital memories.”
Very few places in the world have the right combination of tools and talent to make this kind of tragedy end with a celebration.
uBreakiFix knows phones well and does an outstanding job with repair. It’s this understanding that helps them quickly identify when a situation requires tools that are not available to them, and they regularly send such devices to DriveSavers.
“You know, if you take something like this to the wrong shop, then you’re toast because they don’t really know what they are doing,” the user said. “I was very pleased with everything DriveSavers was able to do. It was a very seamless experience.”
*According to Apple, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are splash, water and dust resistant and were tested under controlled laboratory conditions with a rating of IP67 under IEC standard 60529. Splash, water and dust resistance are not permanent conditions and resistance might decrease as a result of normal wear. Do not attempt to charge a wet iPhone; refer to the user guide for cleaning and drying instructions. Liquid damage not covered under warranty.