Monday, Dec 21, 2020, 14:07 iOS: Hardware

How water resistant is the iPhone 12?

The IP68 classification of the iPhone 7, 8, X, and XR means that the phone can withstand a meter of water for 30 minutes. During swimming, however, the water pressure increases such that these values are more than exceeded. The iPhone XS and 11 were upgraded to 2 meters of water resistance, whilst the iPhone 12 should be able to hold up in 6 meters for at least 30 minutes. But what happens when an iPhone falls over board into deeper waters? CNET designed a test to answer exactly this question at Lake Tahoe in California. A submersible robot with a video camera was used to monitor the iPhone’s condition and perform the test and the iPhone’s built in timer was used to monitor the length of time spent underwater.

The test at 6 meters
A half hour in 52 degree water proved to be no problem for the iPhone 12. The touchscreen worked as expected, as did all of the buttons and the camera. However, there was still a bit of liquid in front of the speakers, which caused a slightly damp noise during the audio test. Apart from that, the IP68 requirements were entirely met.

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The Extreme Test: 22 Meters
After 30 minutes at 20 meters there was no visible difference in the iPhone’s performance, As a result of this, CNET decided to take the test a bit farther. The submersible robot brought the smartphone to the surface after 40 minutes. The result? The touchscreen, side buttons, cameras (front and back) all worked, and the newly dampened audio as well.



It almost appeared as if the iPhone 12 was more than capable of withstanding the specified water pressure multiple times over. However, 72 hours later the first signs of damage appeared, and it was revealed that water had made its way into the iPhone’s interior components. The camera lenses ended up tarnished on the front and back and the display was met by a diagnostic screen intended for Apple technicians. When this happens, the user can’t bypass this mode or return the phone to its normal function. Thus, this iPhone 12 was another case for the Apple support team, who now have the responsibility of dealing with the water damage.

Conclusion
The iPhone 12 meets the standards promised by Apple. Those desiring (or perhaps accidentally) to sink their iPhone up to 6 meters under water for up to 30 minutes needn’t fear water any damage. Although it’s more often the case that a glass falls over or an iPhone gets dropped in shallow water, it’s still nice to know and with deeper waters or longer than recommended exposure there’s still a chance that the iPhone won’t be completely ruined — however 40 minutes at 22 meters might be pushing it a little.

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