Yesterday, Apple made a splash by announcing that the iPhone 7 is water resistant to the IP7 standard. That certifies the device for submersion in up to one meter of water for 30 minutes. Sounds pretty waterproof, right?
Well, you’d better hope so, because Apple won’t cover any liquid damage under warranty.
In a footnote on the iPhone 7’s webpage, Apple outlines all the conditions associated with the “water resistant” moniker:
“iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are splash, water, and dust resistant and were tested under controlled laboratory conditions with a rating of IP67 under IEC standard 60529. Splash, water, and dust resistance are not permanent conditions and resistance might decrease as a result of normal wear. Do not attempt to charge a wet iPhone; refer to the user guide for cleaning and drying instructions. Liquid damage not covered under warranty.”
If Apple isn’t willing to fully stand behind the water resistance of the 7, then describing the phone as water resistant isn’t really a big upgrade from the iPhone 6s. Third-party water tests of that phone found it could stay submerged in a bowl of water for over half an hour, very similar to the kind of water exposure the iPhone 7 is rated for.
So really, the iPhone 7 is a tiny move forwards for waterproofing, not a wholesale change from the 6S. Little changes for the user: you still don’t want to get your phone wet, because if it breaks, you’re facing an expensive bill from the Apple Store.
Although it’s disappointing that Apple doesn’t cover liquid damage, it’s in good company. Samsung doesn’t cover “exposure to liquid, moisture, dampness, sand or dirt” for the water resistant S7 and S7 Edge, although Sony appears to cover liquid damage, as long as the rating isn’t exceeded (so no repairs if you go scuba diving).