Apple’s recently released iPhone XS is advertised as being IP68 water-resistant, meaning it can be submerged in up to two meters (6.6 feet) of water for 30 minutes without being damaged. However, the 5.8-inch handset could potentially be submerged far deeper than that and still remain functional except for a few minor issues, as revealed by CNET in a new series of water tests conducted on both the iPhone XS and the lower-priced iPhone XR.
According to CNET, the iPhone XS had survived an earlier water test in October, as the device was able to withstand 30 minutes sitting in chlorinated pool water, as well as tests where it came in contact with liquids such as hot tea, wine, and saltwater. The same iPhone XS used in that test was used again in the publication’s latest round of water tests, which took place in California’s Monterey Bay. The iPhone XR, whose IP67 certification supposedly allows it to be submerged underneath 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) of water, was also included, with CNET using a brand-new unit for testing purposes.
With the help of OpenROV’s Trident underwater drone, CNET submerged the iPhone XS and XR in varying depths of water, starting with the two-meter depth the former device is supposed to hold up in. Both devices remained underwater at that depth for about five minutes, and after drying the phones, the iPhone XS and XR remained “fully functional” in all areas. The iPhone XS’ sound quality, however, was described as being a bit “muffled,” as it was already used in an earlier water test.
After both the iPhone XS and XR were still shown to be working fine after they were dunked under three meters (10 feet) and five meters (16.4 feet) of water, with the dives lasting five and 19 minutes respectively, CNET sent both devices down to the bottom of Monterey Bay, or about eight meters (26.2 feet) underwater. The handsets were left submerged for as long as the drone could keep recording, but as the seven-minute mark approached, the iPhone XR was “completely down for the count” and refused to turn on even after it was dried off.
“The iPhone XR also looked like it had developed a slight bulge in the screen, as it separated slightly from the side of the phone,” CNET observed, adding that it was a “genuine surprise” it had lasted a few minutes at such a depth.
As for the iPhone XS, the device was kept underwater for 30 minutes at eight meters, and aside from the muffled sound, the phone had “zero signs of water damage.” CNET also found that the iPhone XS’ Liquid Contact Indicator (LCI) did not appear to be activated when the phone was opened up after the final test.
Although CNET stressed in a video documenting the water tests that they should not be tried at home, Apple stressed at this year’s iPhone launch event that the iPhone XS, in particular, went through a battery of tests to ensure its water resistance. According to a September report from iMore, Apple marketing head Phil Schiller said that the iPhone XS was tested not only with water but also with orange juice and beer, potentially making it capable of withstanding damage from “more corrosive” liquids as well.