Can an iPhone 12 survive a trip to the bottom of Lake Tahoe?

Iphone 12 Pro Review
Iphone 12 Pro Review (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • CNET has tested the iPhone 12's waterproofing by sending it to the bottom of a lake.
  • Initially, results looked promising, a few days later... not so much.

CNET has put the iPhone 12 through its waterproofing paces by sending it to the bottom of lake Tahoe strapped to a robot for science.

From the report:

We know the iPhone 12 can handle spills and splashes, but Apple may be downplaying just how water-resistant this phone really is. The iPhone 12's IP68 rating means it can survive up to 19.6 feet (6 meters) of water for 30 minutes. This applies to all four iPhone 12 models: the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. But we discovered that like its predecessor, Apple's newest iPhone can handle a great deal more than that. Both of the iPhone 11 models far exceeded the official rating, surviving a 39-foot dive in salt water in Monterey Bay, California. This year we took a brand-new iPhone 12 for a swim in the frigid fresh water of Lake Tahoe, on the other side of the Golden State, to test it out.

First CNET sent the iPhone to 19.6 feet and left it there for 30 minutes. On retrieval, the phone seems to have emerged unscathed apart from some speaker muffling, which is to be expected. As the test notes, with some drying out this likely would have subsided.

They then sent the iPhone all the way to bottom of Lake Tahoe, about 65 feet (20 meters). This is more than three times the iPhone's waterproof rating. After forty minutes, the iPhone emerged and everything again worked as expected, again save some muffling in the speakers. However, the team left the phone for 72 hours then returned to find a significant amount of fogging, and a Diagnostics prompt on the iPhone 12's screen upon booting. The report says its unclear whether the actual water damage, or the change in temperature from cold water to the warm indoors finally killed off the iPhone.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9