Smartphones have become more water-resistant over time, and that may have resulted in a lot fewer iPhones being damaged by water. That may sound obvious, but there’s surprisingly little data to back it up. That’s because it’s hard (if not impossible) to get any firm numbers about the percentage of iPhone repairs or instances of water damage.
On the other hand, if you do a Google Trends search for “iPhone water damage,” as Redditor jonny970 did, you will see a consistent downward trend since the release of the iPhone 6s. Notably, the iPhone 6s was the first model to include significant water protection measures, although they weren’t advertised.
This is significant because it pretty clearly illustrates that as more people upgrade to iPhones with higher levels of water resistance, the instances of water damage go down. (Or, at the very least, the number of people searching for “iPhone water damage” goes down.)
There are some other interesting things about the graph, too. For example, you can see some clear spikes. Those appear to correlate with the summer months, when people are more likely to be outdoors near open water.
For context, current iPhone XS models are rated as IP68 water- and dust-resistant. That means that they’re tested to survive being dunked in up to 3 meters of water for about 30 minutes.
A Note of Caution
Before you dive into a pool with your iPhone, there are a couple of things you should note.
- Water-resistant does not equal waterproof. Given enough time or pressure, your iPhone could still be killed if exposed to water.
- Water resistance isn’t a permanent state. Because of the way that Apple and most other smartphone makers waterproof their devices, the water-resistance of those devices may decrease over time.
- On current iPhones, the weak spot is the SIM tray — which uses a rubber seal to keep water out. If you frequently remove your SIM card, there’s a chance that this rubber seal can wear out or simply become misaligned.
In other words, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re frequently around or in water, it may be smart to invest in a waterproof case.
Apple’s Upcoming iPhones
Still, water damage may become less of a concern as time goes on since smartphones are only going to become more water-resistant.
According to the latest rumors, Apple’s 2019 iPhones are expected to feature “dramatically enhanced” water resistance, along with other durability improvements.