iPhone 11 and 11 Pro: What happens when you drop them in water? 1

iPhone 11 and 11 Pro: What happens when you drop them in water?

If you accidentally drop your iPhone 11 into some water, it is probably okay to dry it off. The iPhone 11 has protection class IP68 and is therefore waterproof for up to 2 meters for 30 minutes. The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro max can go deeper: up to 4 meters for 30 minutes. But we wanted to see if these phones could endure more water than Apple claims.

We know that all the earlier iPhone XR and iPhone XS can survive for a long time in saltwater, from our previous water test. The iPhone XR survived a dunk at eight times the nominal depth before it got wet, while the iPhone XS did not suffer any visible water damage, but the speakers became quieter.

The iPhone 11 (left) and the iPhone 11 Pro (right) go swimming. 

Eric Stackpole / CNET

To improve the application, we wanted to bring the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro to greater depths. Together with Sofar Ocean Technologies (formerly known as OpenROV), we have installed a brand new iPhone 11 and 11 Pro on its Trident underwater drone. It can reach depths of up to 100 meters and can be controlled from your phone. We sent the Trident deep into Monterey Bay, California to see what would happen to the iPhones.

Watch the video on this page to see the full test and see some of the drone’s epic underwater materials.

Dive 1: Testing the claim (13 feet)

For the first dive, we wanted to test the iPhone 11 Pro claim: 13 feet for 30 minutes. The iPhone 11 is only designed for half this depth, so we had no idea what the cheaper phone would expect.

The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro are attached to the front of the Trident underwater drone. 

Lexy Savvides / CNET

After 30 minutes we brought the drone to the surface again, with both phones still connected. The phones were dried with a lint-free cloth, the screens of both were still working and there were no signs of fogging on the camera lenses (front or back).

Keys and speakers still worked; The iPhone 11 sounded a bit drenched when playing an audio clip I recorded before immersing the phones, while the iPhone 11 Pro had some distortion but was louder than the iPhone 11 playback.

Dive 2: Take iPhone 11 deeper (26 feet)

In the second round we drove our boat deeper into the heart of the bay and doubled the diving depth to 26 feet for the same 30-minute route. Thanks to the camera on the front of the Trident, we were able to see the phone screens live to see if anything unusual had happened.

Find the iPhones under water. 

Eric Stackpole / CNET

It was not like that. After 30 minutes, both touchscreens still worked, the cameras took photos without any signs of fogging or water penetration on the lenses, and the speakers played audio. Again, the iPhone 11 sounded quieter than the iPhone 11 Pro.

Dive 3: To the bottom of the bay (39 feet)

Since the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro were still working, we had time for one last dive. We took the boat into the open water and plunged the Trident 39 feet onto the ocean floor.

When the phones were in the water, the iPhone 11 Pro’s screen switched from the stopwatch to another screen in the Clock app.

After waiting the full 30 minutes (and seeing some sea lions swim by), we brought the drone back up to see if the phones had survived this last swim.

To our surprise, both phones were fine when we first checked them. They looked as good as new and worked as if they had just come out of the box, except that the speakers sounded muffled on both phones during audio playback.

I washed the phones in clean water and dried them with a lint-free cloth, then turned them off and left them to dry completely for 72 hours in case the water left us with any surprises.

Is the iPhone 11 waterproof?

After waiting for the phones to dry completely, it was time to check for any additional damage after three days. I went through the same tests again and checked the cameras, microphone and speaker to see if they were going to be charged. I couldn’t quite believe that the phones still looked like new (apart from a few small scratches on the iPhone 11 screen) and there was no visible external water damage. Everything still worked.

The only problem I could find was that the speakers on the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro sounded less sharp and a bit quieter at maximum volume than on two brand new iPhones that weren’t submerged. I confirmed this with the sound app on the Apple Watch, which showed that the submerged phones were rendered a few decibels lower than the new phones.

I contacted Apple and the company pointed it out to me official support page What to do if your iPhone comes into contact with liquid? Rinse it off with clean water and wipe it with a soft, lint-free cloth.

Update: The iPhone is still working … even 8 months later

The ultimate test is really the long-term result. After immersing the iPhones in October 2019, both phones continue to function normally today, eight months later in June 2020.

As with our previous water experiment with the iPhone XR and XS, this is not a scientific test and does not guarantee that your iPhone 11 will survive if you drop it in deep water. Also keep in mind that water damage is not covered by the warranty. However, our test shows that the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro may withstand a lot more water than Apple attributes to them.

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