When it comes to water, even the latest water-resistant iPhones won’t survive an extended swim beneath the surface.
Wouldn’t it be sweet to snap an underwater photo or two on your summer vacation? Absolutely, but if you try to do that with a bare iPhone, you’ll quickly find it at the bottom of a lake — or the bottom of a bowl of rice. Instead, consider picking up a waterproof case that's rated for extended time under the surface. Trust me, this will save you a ton of stress and level up your next vacation, and in most cases it won’t cost you more than $50.
Water resistant vs. waterproof
Water resistant and waterproof are not interchangeable terms. It's important to know the difference between the two, as one definitely offers more protection than the other. Waterproof means that something is completely sealed and safe from water damage while submerged. Something that is water-resistant doesn’t offer the same protection, and can only survive splashes and brief moments underwater.
To determine whether a phone case (or iPhone) is waterproof or water resistant, you’ll need to check the IP rating. The most common IP ratings used for tech gadgets are IP67 and IP68.
- IP67: Can safely be submerged in water up to 3.3 feet for up to 30 minutes.
- IP68: Full waterproof protection at depths of more than 3.3 feet for up to 30 minutes.
Waterproof cases are not a “one size fits all” kind of deal. While there are universal cases available, you should still check that the case has the right measurements to provide a snug fit and proper seal. If you skip this step, the best case scenario will be an annoying return process, and the worst, a ruined iPhone. Always check that your specific model of iPhone is compatible with your selected case.
You should also look into whether the case offers any additional features and protection. If you’re spending the money, why not get some extras? Look for added features like rubberized shockproof corners, scratch-resistant screen protectors, easy to press buttons, and whether the case floats or not.
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The Catalyst Total Protection for iPhone is a slim case that’s designed to protect your phone without feeling bulky. It’s safe for underwater depths of up to 33 feet, and can withstand drops of up to 6.6 feet. The hard-coated dual lens covers will protect the lenses without impacting image quality, and the waterproof cover for the Lightning port keeps water out while maintaining easy access. This case also supports Qi wireless charging and is compatible with MagSafe, so you don’t have to worry about plugging in your phone every time you want to charge it.
Lifeproof FRĒ is the perfect case for anyone who wants to keep their iPhone safe from water, snow and dust. The case is rated for submersion up to six feet for two hours, and able to withstand falls from as high as 6.6 feet. All while being sleek, durable, and made from recycled plastic. The built-in screen cover provides protection while still allowing the screen to be responsive to touch. On top of that, this case comes in an array of colors and is compatible with multiple models of iPhone.
The Spidercase Waterproof iPhone Case is made of shock absorbing high-grade TPU plastic materials, and has a raised-edge design that offers extra protection for the screen and camera. This case is IP68 certified, so you can take it to the swimming pool or beach without any worries about water damage. And it comes with an anti-scratch back cover, rigid grippy sides, and shock-absorbing corners. The Spidercase is thin enough that it should still work on a wireless charging pad, though the sound from your phone’s speaker might get muffled while taking calls or listening to music.
OUNNE's iPhone case is waterproof up to 6.6 feet for one hour, shock resistant, and also protects against snow and dust. The design is not too bulky, so you can carry it with you on your travels or keep it in your pocket. This case also comes with an optional lanyard — great for extra peace of mind. Plus, the transparent front and back covers keep your camera lenses in perfect condition for taking high-quality photos and videos. It is, however, only compatible with older iPhone models like the iPhone XS.
The Syncwire Waterproof Phone Pouch is a simple and universal waterproof case that fits phones up to seven inches long. This pouch is waterproof up to 100 feet, and features a quick snap and clip closure for easy insertion and removal. There's an adjustable lanyard that can hang around your neck or across your chest for a secure hold. The best thing about this case is that it floats, protecting you from losing your phone if you drop it.
The Hitcase Pro is a rugged phone case built from a single piece of strong aluminum and polycarbonate glass. This case is particularly neat because it features a built-in wide angle lens that captures beautiful landscapes and underwater images. With an IP68 rating, the Hitcase Pro can handle underwater depths of 33 feet and can survive falls from as high as 16 feet. There’s a scratch-resistant screen protector, and the case is compatible with multiple accessories, including GoPro mounts and tripods. Keep in mind that this case is quite wide and bulky, though, and not the best for sliding into a jacket pocket.
The Diverbox Waterproof Phone Case is a tough little case with an IP68 waterproof rating, and will safeguard your phone against falls from 6.6 feet. This case is made from lightweight TPU plastic materials, and comes in multiple bright colors. It also features a scratch-resistant screen protector and built-in kickstand that should be excellent for capturing group photos.