The iPhone 11 (left) and iPhone 11 Pro (right) go swimming.
Eric Stackpole / CNET
If you accidentally drop your iPhone 11 in some water, then it's probably okay for you to dry it off. The iPhone 11 has IP68 protection and is therefore waterproof 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 withstand even more water than Apple claims.
We know that all the soonerin salt water, from our previous water test. The iPhone XR survived a dunk at eight times the nominal depth before getting wet, while the iPhone XS suffered no visible water damage, but the speakers became quieter.
To improve use, we wanted to take the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro to greater depths. In collaboration with Sofar Ocean Technologies (formerly known as OpenROV) we mounted a brand new iPhone 11 and 11 Pro on its Trident underwater drone. It can reach depths 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.
Check out the video on this page to see the full test and to see some of the epic underwater footage taken by the drone.
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Dive 1: Testing Eligibility (13 feet)
For the first dive, we wanted to test the claim for the iPhone 11 Pro: 13 feet for 30 minutes. The iPhone 11 is only rated for half that 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 back to the surface with both phones still connected. The phones were dried with a lint-free cloth, both screens were still working, and there was no sign of fogging on the camera lenses (front or rear).
Buttons and speakers still worked; The iPhone 11 sounded a little soaked when playing an audio clip I recorded before the phones were submerged, while the iPhone 11 Pro had some distortion but was louder than the iPhone 11 playing.
Dive 2: Take iPhone 11 Deeper (26 Feet)
On the second lap, we took our boat deeper into the heart of the bay and doubled the diving depth to 26 feet for the same 30 minute distance. Thanks to the camera on the front of the Trident, we were able to look at the phone screens live to see if anything out of the ordinary had happened.
Find the iPhones underwater.
Eric Stackpole / CNET
It was not like that. After 30 minutes, both touchscreens were still working, the cameras were taking photos with no evidence of fogging or water getting on the lenses, and the speakers were playing audio. Again, the iPhone 11 sounded quieter than the iPhone 11 Pro.
Dive 3: To the bottom of the bay (39 feet)
With the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro still working, we had time for one last dive. We took the boat into the open water and dropped the Trident 39 feet to the bottom of the sea.
Look at that:
iPhone 11 extreme water test
When the phones were in the water, the iPhone 11 Pro's screen would switch 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 that final swim.
To our surprise, both phones were perfectly fine on the first inspection. They looked as good as new and worked as if they were ready to go, except that the speakers sounded muffled when the audio played on both phones.
I washed the phones in clean water and dried them with a lint-free cloth, then turned them off and let them 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 see if any additional damage had occurred after three days. I went through the same tests again, checking the cameras, microphone, and speaker to see if they were going to charge. I couldn't quite believe 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 both the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro sounded less sharp and slightly 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 played a few decibels lower than the new phones.
I reached out to Apple and they directed me to their official support page, which explains what to do if your iPhone comes in 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 the iPhones submerged in late 2019, both phones were still working normally eight months later in the summer of 2020.
As with our previous water experiment on 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.