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Working iPhone found underwater nearly a year after being lost at Lake Mendota

Published May 26th, 2023 1:39PM EDT
iPhone underwater
Image: Channel3000

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An iPhone was still working after nearly a year deep down underwater at Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin. According to Channel3000, the Four Lakes Scuba Club, which does about four cleanup dives per year at the lake as part of public service, has found a working iPhone alongside several other items.

“We target things that are bad for the environment,” the club’s president Ellen Evans said. “That’s things like plastic bags, cups, plastic bottles, electronics.” But while the group has already found furniture, a bike, a stove, and much more, they sometimes find working smartphones underwater.

“We find phones; we always try to charge them up. A lot of times, they aren’t functional, but occasionally they are,” she said. “We charged it up, and it came on.” After that, the club gave this working iPhone to the UW-Madison Police Department.

The Police Department said a detective could get inside the phone and locate its owner, Ellie Eisenberg, who had recently graduated from UW-Madison. Interestingly, she said she lost her phone while on a boat with some friends in the summer of 2022.

After losing the iPhone, she thought it was best to get a new one, so she was shocked when the UW-Madison Police Department called her to say her lost iPhone was still working.

“I picked up the phone, it was a 608 number, and I was like, ‘Okay?’ It was the UW-Madison Police Department, and I was like, ’Uh oh, that can’t be good,” she said. “I dropped my phone in a lake a full year ago off of a boat and thought it was gone forever, and I got the call, and here it was.”

Although the story doesn’t mention which iPhone she had, it may be a Pro iPhone 12 or 13 due to what it looks like stainless steel finish. That said, the latest iPhone models have iP68 with water and dust resistance. While these devices aren’t designed to last nearly a year underwater, it’s incredible to discover that some of them can actually survive for that long.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.