Categories: world

We tried to drown the iPhone XS and XR. Only one survived

iPhone XR and XS are not waterproof. But they are waterproof, and you can take them to bathe them without…

iPhone XR and XS are not waterproof. But they are waterproof, and you can take them to bathe them without too much trouble.

According to Apple, iPhone XR can survive a dunk up to 1 meter for 30 minutes (IP67). The more expensive iPhone XS and XS Max can handle twice: 2 meters for 30 minutes (IP68).

Now Playing:
Watch This:

How deep can the iPhone XS and XR go?


We have already put XS in the test in our previous water test and survived to be immersed in chlorinated pool water for 30 minutes. It was not fazed by splashes of hot tea, wine or a shallow swimming in salt water in San Francisco Bay.

To raise the effort, we took a new iPhone XR and the same XS that survived our first pool test to Monterey Bay in California. We attached the two phones on the front of Trident, an underwater drone from OpenROV.


This is the custom rig attached to Trident that OpenROV did to hold both phones.

] Lexy Savvides / CNET

To get our phones under the water without driving away, OpenROV built a custom bracket for us with flotations to hold the phones side by side in front of the lens. Before you drop down the phones we put on the screen to stop and put a timer.

Watch the video on this page for a complete overview of what happened – and check out the epic underwater movie!

This is not a scientific test, and is advised if any kind of water or liquid contact may damage your phone. Apple states that water damage is not covered by the warranty.

The first dive: 2 meters

As we did not test the iPhone XR watertight before, we decided to put both phones on the drones and dive down to 2 meters. The iPhone XS is designed to keep up with this just fine, but the iPhone XR is not meant to go so deep.

After about 5 minutes of being immersed in the bay, we pull the drones out of the water. Wipe both phones with a microfiber cloth, touch screen monitors on iPhone XR and iPhone XS were still fully functional. There were no signs of water stress or fog on the lens. Buttons and speakers still worked.

As said, because the iPhone XS had already been dunked earlier, its speakers lied more dull and less clear than those on iPhone XR, which sounds great.



The team connected an external monitor so that we could see the vision of the drone when it traveled under the water. The pilot can control the craft with a wireless controller.

Lexy Savvides / CNET

The second dive: 3 meters

For round 2 we put the phones back on the drunken, restart the hours and let them go down to 3 meters. When they had bobbed around in the streams for another 5 minutes, we picked them up again, cleaned them and inspected them.

Again, both phones were completely functional. There were no signs of water damage on the phones, but the iPhone XS speaker still slowed down compared to the iPhone XR.

Trident is super robust so you can pull it out of the water using the cable without damaging the device.

Andy Altman / CNET

The third dive: 5 meters

For the next try, we went up to see how much these phones could take. The depth was 5 meters and we left them for about 19 minutes before being pulled out of the bay.



Bot phones side by side underwater.


Aside from capturing some amazing underwater wildlife swimming in the background, nothing happened beyond the usual. The phones were still good when we dried them and tested them.

The final dive: 8 meters

Both phones survived far deeper than they were rated, even if we did not leave them for 30 minutes at a time. So we took them to the bottom of Monterey Bay, about 8 meters. This time we decided to leave them for as long as we could (ie until the recording space on the drones ran out).

During the first few minutes, both phones performed well underwater. But about 3 minutes, iPhone XR flashed a warning on the SIM card screen . It was the first sign that something was wrong in the phone and showed that water had entered the SIM tray.



This is the view we saw from Trident’s camera, from the screen on the beach. iPhone XR (left) turned dark in about 6 minutes 50 seconds. The IPhone XS (right) was still strong.

iPhone XR was a little longer but after 6 minutes and 50 seconds the screen was completely black. The iPhone XS, on the other hand, still went strong. We left it immersed until we met the 30-minute mark.



The SIM card from the iPhone XR looked a bit worse for dive wear.

Andy Altman / CNET

After pulling both phones up to the surface, the iPhone XR was completely down for the bill. We wiped it off and tried to hit it, but nothing. Removing the SIM card slot resulted in a large water splash coming out of the cavity.

It was not all. The IPhone XR also looked like it had developed a small bolt on the screen, because it differed slightly from the side of the phone (it was the same as the SIM tray).

Remember that the phone was immersed to about 8 times the depth it was rated for, and it had been dunked for long periods earlier when we went down the bay. The fact that it survived to this depth was a real surprise.

But the biggest surprise was that the iPhone XS had zero signs of water damage, in addition to the same silencer we previously noted. We checked into the SIM tray to see if the Liquid Contact Indicator (LCI) had been activated, but nothing was visible.

A week after this water test, the iPhone XS continued to be strong. Appears if your iPhone XS goes for a deeper swimming than expected in saltwater, it can only survive.

Published by