Apple’s Recent Patent Suggests Waterproof iPhone in Development

What you should know

  • Although iPhones have an IP68 rating, indicating they are water-resistant, they are not waterproof. Apple‘s limited warranty does not cover water damage, a common practice among phone manufacturers.
  • The iPhone 15 series is water-resistant up to 6 meters for 30 minutes, but this does not mean it can withstand all forms of water exposure. For example, it may not survive contact with water that is not fresh or from jet-sprays.
  • Apple has been awarded a patent for an “Underwater User Interface”, which suggests the company may be working on a waterproof version of the iPhone. The patent includes features to make the iPhone easier to use underwater, such as using the volume button to zoom the camera.
  • The patent was awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and has the number US 11,875,021. It is not clear when a waterproof iPhone might become a reality.

Full Story

The iPhone is seen as water-resistant, not waterproof. It’s got an IP68 rating, which is pretty good, but it’s not foolproof. Apple doesn’t even think its phones can always keep water out.

You want proof? Look at the iPhone’s limited warranty. It doesn’t say a word about water damage. And Apple isn’t the only one. No phone maker covers water damage, even if their devices have IP68 or IP67 ratings.

Apple claims the iPhone 15 series can resist water up to 6 meters (about 20 feet) for up to 30 minutes. That’s even better than the IP68 standard. But don’t get too excited. You can’t take your phone into the bath or shower. Jet-spray water can beat the water resistance.

And if your iPhone takes a dip in something other than fresh water? It’s gonna struggle. So, don’t go diving with your iPhone unless you’ve got a case designed for it. If Apple really believed iPhones could handle all water encounters, they’d cover water damage in the warranty.

There’s a patent Apple snagged last week. It might hint at a waterproof iPhone in the works. The patent’s called “Underwater User Interface”. It’s about tweaking iOS for underwater use.

Apple admits in the patent that iOS can be “cumbersome and inefficient” underwater. For instance, the patent shows an iPhone user zooming in on the camera by hitting the volume button. No multi-touch pinch and zoom on the screen.

This is big news. If Apple’s working on a special UI for underwater iOS use, they might be developing waterproof hardware too. If they do make a waterproof iPhone, maybe they’ll finally add water damage to the warranty.

When will we see a waterproof iPhone? Who knows. But the first company to pull it off will have a killer feature to sell. The patent was granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and it’s got U.S. patent number US 11,875,021.

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynn
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.


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