iPhone 12 water take a look at: Apple could also be downplaying simply how water resistant it truly is


We all know the iPhone 12 can deal with spills and splashes, however Apple could also be downplaying simply how water resistant this telephone actually is. The iPhone 12’s IP68 ranking means it may survive as much as 19.6 ft (6 meters) of water for half-hour. This is applicable to all 4 iPhone 12 fashions: the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 MiniiPhone 12 Professional and iPhone 12 Professional Max. However we found that like its predecessor, Apple’s latest iPhone can deal with a terrific deal greater than that. Each of the iPhone 11 fashions far exceeded the official ranking, surviving a 39-foot dive in salt water in Monterey Bay, California. This 12 months we took a brand-new iPhone 12 for a swim within the frigid contemporary water of Lake Tahoe, on the opposite aspect of the Golden State, to try it out.

Teaming up with Mission Robotics, we mounted our iPhone 12 on the corporate’s underwater drone, Theseus. The drone can go as deep as 984 ft (300 meters) underwater; the pilot can see the view from Theseus’ digicam, in addition to monitoring depth and water temperature metrics from a pc on shore. 

Watch the video on this web page for the total take a look at and to see some wonderful underwater footage from the drone.

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John Kim/CNET

Dive 1: Testing the declare (19.6 ft for half-hour)

In response to Apple’s help web page, you should not deliberately submerge or swim together with your iPhone, or take it to excessive temperatures. However for the needs of our take a look at, we wished to push it to the boundaries.

For our first dive, we wished to check the IP68 declare: 19.6 ft (6 meters) of water for half-hour. From the shore of Lake Tahoe, we positioned the iPhone on a mount going through the drone’s digicam with the display screen set to remain on, so we might see if something occurred to the iPhone whereas it was underwater. 


The iPhone 12 on Theseus.

John Kim/CNET

The water temperature in Lake Tahoe at this depth was 52 levels Fahrenheit (11 levels Celsius).

As soon as the half-hour have been up, we pulled the telephone out of the water and dried it off with a material. Then we examined it out to see if the telephone was working. The touchscreen was high quality and the amount rocker labored as anticipated. All three cameras (entrance, ultrawide and huge) appeared clear with no proof of fogging and the pictures appeared regular. We recorded a voice memo earlier than dunking the telephone and will hear that after the primary dive the speaker sounded slightly muffled as compared, however it’s exhausting to inform whether or not that might’ve improved after letting it dry out longer. Apple’s help web page suggests putting the iPhone’s base and Lightning connector in entrance of a fan to assist the drying course of. We had different concepts, nevertheless.

Dive 2: The acute take a look at (65 ft)

With the iPhone 12 working as regular, we obtained the drone prepared for its second dive in Lake Tahoe. This time, we wished to take the telephone to extra excessive depths. We submerged the telephone to 65 ft (20 meters) underwater, greater than 3 times the utmost depth ranking. The water temperature at this depth was 50 levels Fahrenheit (10 levels Celsius).

With the timer operating on the iPhone 12’s display screen, we might see how a lot time had elapsed since we submerged the telephone. As soon as it hit half-hour, we determined to depart it submerged slightly longer, simply to see what would occur. We lastly pulled the drone out of the water on the 40-minute mark and ran by the identical assessments as soon as extra. 


John Kim/CNET

Surprisingly, every thing labored as regular. The display screen was responsive, the amount and energy buttons labored, and the 2 cameras have been in working order as nicely. The speaker nonetheless sounded muffled when enjoying again the voice memo, however it was nonetheless audible.

After wiping down the iPhone 12, we powered it down and let it sit for a number of days to let it dry out utterly. 

The ultimate take a look at

After letting it dry out for 72 hours, we wished to do one last take a look at to see if there had been any long-term injury because of the intense underwater take a look at. The telephone itself was utterly dry, however its three lenses — the ultrawide and wide-angle on the again, in addition to the entrance digicam — had developed some fogging.

At this level the battery had additionally utterly drained, so we let the telephone juice up for some time through the Lightning port earlier than powering it again on. However as soon as we did, the iPhone 12’s display screen confirmed a Diagnostics immediate. After attempting to get by the Diagnostics immediate a number of instances, we plugged the iPhone 12 right into a MacBook to see if we might reset the machine. It labored, however we nonetheless could not get previous the Diagnostics screens.

Whereas we have now no approach of figuring out precisely what induced this error to occur, it could have been lingering water injury, the shift in temperature between the chilly water of Lake Tahoe to an indoor setting, or a mixture of each.

How water resistant is the iPhone 12?

Our extremely unscientific take a look at would counsel that the iPhone 12 can stand up to very deep water and clearly meets the IP68 declare. However, like all electronics, it does have a restrict to how a lot water it may take and you need to by no means deliberately submerge the telephone in water (lake or in any other case). 

As with our earlier water experiment with the iPhone 11, your outcomes might fluctuate. Additionally do not forget that water injury is just not coated below guarantee. We contacted Apple and the corporate pointed us towards these directions on its help web page. Following these tips might enhance your iPhone’s possibilities within the occasion that it does come into contact with water or some other form of liquid.

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