Planning for a water park vacation or snorkeling trip? Before you dive into the water with your iPhone X and surface with an unusable device, get this:
iPhone X is only water-resistant. It is not waterproof. To take your iPhone X down for underwater photography, you’ll need a hardy waterproof case.
“Wait, is there a difference between water-resistance and waterproof? And do I need to buy a case?” Yes and yes.
This survey taken in 2018 shows just how common it is to water damage an Apple iPhone. Since the main cause of damage is drops causing cracked screens, a good case can protect you from most accidental damage to your iPhone X.
In this article, we look into what the water-resistant feature really means, and why iPhone X is not waterproof as many expect.
We’ll also talk about common user concerns, ways to protect your iPhone X as well as potential solutions if your device does get wet.
We already looked at how making the iPhone 8 waterproof set the bar for future iPhones.
iPhone X Waterproof or Water-Resistant?
Many articles use the term “waterproof” and “water-resistant” interchangeably. This is false because the two terms actually suggest two different characteristics.
A quick look at the definitions shows us why:
- Waterproof – Does not allow water to go through. Keeps water out. Example: Rubber Wellington boots. 100% dry.
- Water-resistant – Able to prevent water penetration, but to some degree only. Example: Your casual sports jacket. Protects you from light rain. A downpour? Not so much.
Apple refers to its iPhones as splash, water and dust resistant. Not waterproof.
Besides these general terms, a technical specification tells us more about a device’s resistance: the Waterproof Rating.
What is the Waterproof Rating?
iPhone X has a waterproof rating of IP67 Compared to the iP68 rating on the iPhone XS and up. What do those numbers mean? To understand the rating, let’s split it into 3 components.
- IP is an abbreviation of Ingress Protection. It measures how well a device is resistant to both solids and liquids.
- On a scale of 0 to 6, the first number, “6”, refers to the device’s resistance to pesky solids such as dust and sand. The higher the number, the better.
- On a scale of 0 to 9, the second number, “7”, refers to resistance to liquids. Again, the higher the number, the better.
Here’s a summary of different iPhone models and their ratings:
|Model||Waterproof rating||Submersion depth||Length of time|
|iPhone 6 series & below||None||–||–|
|iPhone 7 series, iPhone 8 series & iPhone X||IP67||Up to 1m||30 minutes|
|iPhone SE (2nd generation)||IP67||Up to 1m||30 minutes|
|iPhone XS and above (up to iPhone 11 Pro Max)||IP68||Up to 1.5m||30 minutes|
Keep in mind the iPhone X’s waterproof rating is obtained under laboratory conditions. Hence it only serves as an indicator – not a guarantee – of a device’s protection.
Notice the iPhone 10 water resistance is only rated up to a depth of 1 meter. This is because pressurized water at deeper depths may penetrate the speaker mesh that’s designed to trap a little pocket of air to keep the water out.
Here’s the reality check:
- Apple warns that splash, water, and dust resistance are not permanent conditions.
- Water-resistance may decrease as a result of normal wear.
- While a brand-new iPhone X can certainly withstand splashes, some users shared that their phone’s life ended after an accidental drop into the pool or toilet.
- And … liquid damage isn’t covered under warranty.
Apple’s Warranty on Liquid Damage
A statement from the official Apple website: “Liquid damage is not covered under warranty.”
In case you have any doubt about it, Apple also specifies that “service for the liquid damage to an iPhone or iPod isn’t covered by the Apple One-Year Limited Warranty.”
In other words, if your phone is damaged by any liquid, in any way, prepare to pay with your wallet.
How does Apple assess whether your iPhone is damaged by liquid?
When technicians examine your damaged iPhone X, they check the liquid contact indicator (LCI).
It’s located inside the SIM card slot. Upon contact with water, the LCI changes from white/silver to red.
You can also spot the indicator yourself. Apple’s chart shows where the LCI is located in different iPhone models.
Once it’s identified that the LCI is activated (plus the fact that you’ll likely let slip that you “dropped the phone into water recently”), you will be denied the warranty.
To prevent liquid damage, Apple advises you not to disassemble your iPhone, intentionally submerge, expose it to water or use it in humid environments such as a sauna or swimming pool.
iPhone X was made to simply resist wet conditions. Not made to be used in wet conditions.
Treat your iPhone X as the delicate technological marvel it is.
Protecting iPhone X During Water Activities
Seawater contains salt and minerals that can corrode the internal components of your phone. Water in swimming pools has chlorine. Rivers have tiny granules of sand and dirt that can get into your phone.
Resistance towards these liquids is not part of the iPhone X’s water-resistant capabilities.
But just because you can’t dive into the ocean with a bare iPhone X, underwater photography is not an impossible dream. What you need is a good, waterproof protective case.
For different water activities, below are our handpicked protective cases for you. We evaluated these products based on their style, price and functionality.
At the time of writing, all our recommendations have an Amazon rating of at least 4 out of 5 stars.
We are not affiliated with these products and your results may vary from our testing. We won’t include links but you can search the product name in amazon.
Submerging It Underwater, e.g. Swimming, Snorkeling
Case recommendation: ProShot Touch for iPhone X/XS with Floating Hand Grip
Style: Cool, submarine-like transparent design with blue edges. Comes with black handgrip.
- Waterproof down to 50 ft/15 m.
- ProShot’s free app converts your physical buttons into underwater camera controls.
- The handgrip allows to you to hold phone easily and firmly.
The Proshot is easily included in most sites for snorkeling enthusiasts. But if you prefer a more budget-friendly alternative for a day at the water park, you can go for OTBBA iPhone X/iPhone XS Waterproof Case.
Case recommendation: OTBBA iPhone X/iPhone XS Waterproof Case
Style: Modern black design. Just-right phone fit.
- Waterproof down to 6ft/1.8m.
- Silicone-based material creates a non-slip grip.
- Comes with a lanyard.
Splash-Prone, e.g. Kayaking
On an exploratory outdoor trip, the last thing you want is to drop your phone into a lake’s abyss and having to jump into the water right after it.
A floatable case is your best choice for such water sports.
Case recommendation: CaliCase Universal Waterproof Floating Case
Style: Fun and casual. Available in 15 colors (Black, white, gold, silver, glow-in-the-dark, etc.)
- Foam padding allows both the case and your device to float on water.
- 2-layer PVC plastic ensures maximum waterproof protection.
- Comes in 2 sizes – regular and large. CaliCase provides a guide on choosing the correct size for your phone.
At Home, e.g. Shower
Want to sing along to your favorite tunes in the bathroom? We don’t judge.
Case recommendation: Shower Case’s Universal Waterproof Phone Case & Wall Dock
Style: Solid and simple transparent case. Goes well with all bathroom wall colors.
- Mounts to your wall. Allows hands-free usage in the bathroom.
FAQs on iPhone X’s Water-Resistant Feature
“If my iPhone X’s back glass/screen cracked, is it still waterproof?”
Answer: iPhone X was never waterproof. It was made to be only water-resistant. Most iPhone users face two different types of cracks, namely internal cracks (visible, but you’re unable to feel them) and external cracks (has some jagged edges).
Both cracks are considered physical damage and part of an iPhone X’s normal wear.
If you drop a cracked iPhone X into a body of water, the liquid will find its way into your phone.
Some users say that their iPhone continues to function normally even after such incidents. However, it’s because the water hasn’t corroded the phone’s circuit board yet. Over the weeks, many find their phones become less and less responsive until it longer works.
A crack is a chink in the armor. A breach that definitely reduces water resistance.
“What if I replaced my iPhone’s screen before?”
Answer: Similar to Apple’s own refurbished phones, if your iPhone’s screen replacement is done by Apple, the same IP67 rating will apply.
Unfortunately, there is no way to measure a specific level of water resistance, before-and-after.
Follow Apple’s care instructions on iPhone X and prevent damaging exposure to liquids.
If your iPhone’s screen was replaced by a third party, it depends on the integrity of the business and their expertise. Always remember that you’re not protected by any warranty on liquid damage – both by Apple and third-parties.
“I dropped my iPhone X – at least once. Is it still water-resistant?”
Answer: Splash, water, and dust resistance are not permanent conditions, to begin with. Dropping an iPhone falls under a device’s normal wear-and-tear. Water resistance will decrease.
However, if there are no scratches, chippings, dents, or cracks, be reassured that your phone will not go dead even if you accidentally splashed some water onto it.
“Mine is a refurbished phone. Does it make a difference?”
Answer: If you purchase an Apple Certified Refurbished product, you will receive a clean device with genuine Apple replacement parts. The specifications provided for each refurbished iPhone shows that the Splash, Water and Dust Resistant IP67 rating applies, along with the standard 1-year warranty.
If you purchase a refurbished phone from a third-party vendor, the waterproof rating is not included in their product specifications. Upon enquiring, they share that as the phones are opened for repairs prior to sale, the water resistance is removed completely.
The Correct Way to Dry A Wet iPhone X
Sometimes, accidents happen. If your iPhone X gets wet, here are some things you should not do – let’s get that out of the way first.
- Do not dry your iPhone X using an external heat source, e.g. hairdryer.
- Do not insert a cotton bud, tissue or any other foreign object to dry the inside of the lightning connector.
- If your iPhone X got switched off in the process, do not turn it back on. Activating phone operations while your iPhone is wet could cause damage to the device’s circuits.
- Do not charge your iPhone X with a cable until it’s completely dry. Wireless charging is safe. Make sure that you wipe your iPhone X completely dry (especially the back) before placing it on your compatible wireless charging mat.
To dry your iPhone X, the first step is to unplug all cables and accessories.
If the liquid is plain water, simply wipe it dry with a soft, lint-free cloth, such as a lens cloth.
If the liquid is a beverage like coffee or juice, rinse the area with tap water first before you wipe it dry.
Remove Water from the Lightning Connector
With the lightning connector facing down, gently tap your iPhone X against your hand to remove the water naturally.
Leave your iPhone X in a dry area with natural airflow for at least 5 hours. Remember, do not charge your iPhone X until it’s completely dry.
Remove Water from iPhone X’s Speakers
- The manual method
It’s the same method as removing water from the Lightning Connector. Tap your iPhone X against your hand gently with the speakers facing down. Leave your iPhone X in a dry area with natural airflow for at least 5 hours.
2. Use an App
Did you know that Apple Watch has a Water Lock feature that ejects water from its speakers using low-frequency sound?
Unfortunately, Water Lock is not yet available on iPhones. As an alternative, you can download Sonic, an app that helps you remove water using the same concept.
Sonic enjoys a 4.5 rating on the Appstore.
Open the app and use a frequency of 165Hz. You should see remnants of water coming out from the speakers. Afterward, remember to leave your iPhone X in a dry area with natural airflow for at least 5 hours.
Can You Fix A Water Damaged iPhone X?
Signs of Water Damage
- Boot loop: iPhone restarts itself again and again
- Water droplets or fog visible within the phone screen
- Glitching speakers
- iPhone functions become unresponsive
Do DIY solutions work?
In a desperate attempt to fix the damage, you may search for DIY solutions online. For a wet iPhone X, the uncooked rice and silica gel method often top search results.
But can they really work?
- Myth: Putting your iPhone X in a bag of rice
“Rice is a desiccant. It absorbs moisture. Wipe your iPhone X dry and seal it in a bag of uncooked rice. Leave for 48 hours or more. Your phone will be as good as new.”
Why it’s a myth:
A study by DTJ Consulting and TekDry, a Denver-based electronic device rescue service, found that putting a wet smartphone in a container of rice isn’t as miraculously effective as many believe.
In fact, they found that a slightly higher percentage of water was removed when the phone was left out in the open air. Therefore, those who reported success with rice were likely to have a functional device, whether they used the method or not.
Let’s think about it for a moment: if rice was that great at absorbing moisture, it’d become a soggy lump in your kitchen by now.
Apple further advises that you should not “put your iPhone in a bag of rice. Doing so could allow small particles to damage your phone.”
2. Myth: Silica gel packs
“Don’t have rice? Use silica gel packs from your chip bags. Place the silica gel packs on your iPhone and leave for 24 hours. It’s a desiccant and will dry out your phone completely.”
Why it’s a myth:
Silica gel performs best as a drying agent compared to rice and other household items.
Again, open-air exposure outperforms the method of using desiccant materials in a closed container.
If your phone shows signs of water damage, here are other practical steps you can take instead.
Solution 1: Repair your iPhone (You need to pay.)
You can contact an Apple Authorized Service Provider. After a technician examines the damage, they will provide an estimate of the repair costs.
As Apple does not cover liquid damage under its warranty, you’ll need to pay for the cost of repair.
You can choose to go for third-party repair services. Read reviews about the company carefully before proceeding. You don’t want to end up with a poorly serviced iPhone X with bigger problems!
Solution 2: Sell your damaged iPhone X (Get cash!)
Sometimes your damaged iPhone X’s too far gone. And repairing it costs too much.
Repair costs for an iPhone X range from around $279 (for screen repairs only) and can go up to $549 where other damages are involved.
Why not use our iPhone Trade-in program to buy a new device? Get paid for your old phone through online trade-in sites like GizmoGrind.
Where to Sell your iPhone X
Our comprehensive guide provides everything you need to know about online trade-in sites and physical stores that buys your used iPhone X.
Even if your iPhone X can’t be reused as a functional device, the rare metals in the device can be recycled.
At GizmoGrind, we can offer more than $500 for your old iPhone. For every device we buy, we plant a tree through OneTreePlanted, too!
Stuck with a waterlogged iPhone X and not sure what to do with it?
Contact us for a quote. We’ll do the rest of the work.
‘Do Not Break Your iPhone X’, Statista, 2017.
“How People Damage their phones”, Statista 2018