• Aaron Harrington

iPhone XS Data Recovery - Ocean Overnight

iPhone Data Recovery from an iPhone XS that was left in the ocean overnight:


Initial inspection of this phone is as expected, quite a lot of corrosion and damage:


After splitting the two layers of the motherboards, it is clear that corrosion is very widespread:



In this section, nothing is required to boot the phone so it is best to clear it all out. It actually burnt a hole into the motherboard, shorting vdd_main and requiring a razor blade to dig it out.


This is the yangtzee chip and is part of the charging circuit. It is needed to boot the phone so the area is cleaned and the chip is replaced:


After that work and some general corrosion cleanup the phone would turn on, but it would restart after just a couple minutes, making it impossible to get a full backup. I also noticed the phone would show low battery even though I knew the battery was full. This points to the battery data lines being disconnected. It was tricky because not only were the mosfets bad, but the pins on the fpc connector were also not making contact:


After that is worked on, to my disgust I see that the phone appears to not turn on. After checking if it is booting with dcps, I see that it is booting but it has no image. This was also tricky because voltage drop (diode mode) on the fpc was normal, and the image power rails were also turning on. Eventually, the image data chokes were replaced and I found that one of them had been bridged. Diode mode did not show this because they were already supposed to have the same value:


Once that is corrected, the phone boots up and data is available to extract:


Success and nightmare over.

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