Why you can’t use your iPhone 8 under water


With the launch of every iPhone comes the proverbial onslaught of torture testing videos from various bloggers around the world. Everyone is anxious to see if the latest Apple phone will live up to its marketed claims, and then some.

The launch of the iPhone 8 this past week was no exception as publications dusted off their MOHs scratch test tools and meter-tall water containers to put the iPhone 8 and iPhone Plus through the ringer. Upon reviewing the videos, we noticed that one host submerged the new iPhone 8 to a shallow level simply “to see if the screen would work under water.”

While the new iPhone 8 touts the same water resistance protection (IP67) introduced in the iPhone 6S and present in the iPhone 7 series, Apple still doesn’t recommend proactive, prolonged submersion of your device, citing that ” splash, water, and dust resistance are not permanent conditions and resistance might decrease as a result of normal wear.”

Even if Apple gave the green light to submerge the iPhone 8 to your heart’s content, with the current design, your real usage of the phone would be severely limited. Why is that?

Source: Scienceline.orgiPhones and virtually all modern smartphones use capacitive touch screens. These screens differ from their cousins, resistive touch screens (think ATMs or gas station pump screens) that rely simply on pressure from the finger to make a connection, registering the touch. Capacitive touch screens on the other hand (or finger) rely on input from items that hold an electrical charge, i.e. your skin (or a sausage).

This is all well and good, but you know what else can hold an electrical charge? Water. Droplets to full submersion of H2O can wreak temporary havoc on your screen, registering touches where they aren’t intended or simply disabling your ability to give input due to an overwhelming amount of conductive water surrounding the screen. We at HZO have witnessed this countlessly when we demonstrate our waterproof iPhone and Samsung Galaxy demo units at various trade shows and events.

Don’t give up though, if you are brave enough to throw Apple’s cautions to the wind and purposely submerge your new iPhone 8, you do have some options. The physical volume buttons on the left side of the device will act as shutter buttons for snapping photos or recording video. Since they physically move, they are not affected by the surrounding water. This was how we were able to shoot the footage in the video below, using an HZO Protected iPhone 6.

You can also activate your desired action above the water (wipe off the screen first!) and submerge carefully, hoping the water will behave.

Will it be like this forever? As waterproof coatings like HZO continue to evolve, so to will screen technologies, likely enabling you to accomplish great things at great depths…or just play a game of Candy Crush at the bottom of the pool.