Italy fines Apple $12 million over misleading iPhone water-resistance claims


washing iPhone with soap and water
Not as water-resistant as claimed?
Photo: Leander Kahney / Cult of Mac

Italy’s competition authority has fined Apple 10 million euros ($12 million) for allegedly misleading customers about just how water-resistant iPhones are.

Apple claims that several of its iPhone models can withstand being submerged for up to 30 minutes. However, the competition body says that this is only with pure water in a lab. Such tests supposedly yield different results from real-world scenarios in which a phone may be dropped into water.

Apple has been advertising water-resistance as a feature since 2016’s iPhone 7. That handset was given an IP67 rating for resistance to dust and water. In order to qualify, the iPhone 7 had to demonstrate that it could be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for half an hour. The current iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max have a rating of IP68. This gives them up to 30 minutes of protection against water to a maximum depth of 6 meters.

Despite this, Apple does not advise users to get their iPhones wet. “Splash, water and dust resistance are not permanent conditions and resistance may decrease as a result of normal wear,” Apple states. Liquid damage is not covered under Apple’s warranty, although it may be under local consumer laws.

This discrepancy — claiming water-resistance but not covering water damage under warranty — is one of the issues the Italian competition watchdog takes issue with. According to Politico, Apple has been “misleading about the scope” of its product guarantee. It has also been found to refuse after-sales assistance for water-related damages.

Have you had any problems with iPhone water-resistance? Tell us your watery iPhone horror — or hero — stories in the comments section.