The short answer to this question is: No, you should avoid snorkeling with an iPhone 11, 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max.
These phones are water resistant but not waterproof, which means there’s a chance of water penetration.
If we head on over to Apple’s website it says that all the 11-series phones are splash, water and dust resistant. They come with an IP68 rating under IEC standard 60529. The only difference is that the iPhone 11 is water resistant up to 6.5 feet (for 30 minutes), whilst the Pro and Pro Max are water resistant up to 13 feet (for 30 minutes).
One might think that they’re able to go swimming or snorkeling with their iPhone after reading this information. However, that’s not necessarily the case.
Water Resistance VS Waterproof
You need to understand the difference between the two. Like we said, Apple talks about water resistance (not waterproof). Let’s take a look at the technical definition:
Water resistant means that an object is able to avoid water penetration to a certain extent. However, not fully!
Waterproof means that it’s totally impossible for water to enter an object, no matter how long this object would be submerged.
In Other Words
These 3 types of iPhones are water resistant agains splashes of water or rain for example. Now let’s say you drop your phone in a pool or in an ocean. That’s where the depth comes into play.
If you lose your iPhone 11 in a pool for example, it could definitely survive the accident. Preferably you take it out within 30 minutes, and even better if the pool isn’t deeper than 6.5 feet.
The same goes for the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. However, they have a bigger chance of survival if the pool is deeper. Preferably not more than 13 feet.
Obvious, but let’s still mention this: In case your phone submerges fully, try to grab it as quick as possible! The less time it spends underwater, the bigger your chance of causing no harm to it.
One More Thing
There is no guarantee that your iPhone will still work properly if it falls to the bottom of a pool or ocean. Water resistance simply increases your chances of survival. Some people say that it also depends on a lot of circumstances. Like salt or fresh water for example. The normal wear of the phone, it’s age, how someone treats it, they all come into play over time.
Some Things That Apple Says
Now that we know these phones aren’t waterproof (just water resistant), it’s no wonder that Apple advises people to NOT swim or bathe with their iPhone. We guess that by now you know exactly why.
A second thing to remember, is that Apple provides no warranty in case of water damage. Sure, you could try to snorkel with your iPhone and chances are that within 30 minutes all will be just fine. But if not, well, you’re out of luck.
Confused? Check This Out!
If we summarize the things we just mentioned, we can conclude that snorkeling with an iPhone is not the best idea. Sure, you could be fine, but what if you’re unlucky? Water resistance is not waterproof in the end. And after 30 minutes your chances of damage could be increasing significantly.
We did a little research online and found this amazing experiment that someone did. If you’re not in a hurry, we link to their article here.
These guys actually submerged a bunch of iPhone 11’s (and Pro’s) under different circumstances. They conclude that they experienced some changes in the audio after a 30 minute submersion. However, the rest seemed to still work!
Even though snorkeling with one of the iPhone 11 series could be fine for 30 minutes at the ocean surface, we’d say don’t take any risks. These phones are water resistant and not waterproof, so there’s a small risk of water penetration. This risk increases over time, especially after 30 minutes. The question we ask ourselves is how salt water reacts and if it’s able to enter the phone faster.
If you lose your phone in a pool or ocean by accident and retrieve it quickly, you have a very high chance of a fully working product. In our opinion, that’s what the water resistance is meant to do. Apple even advises against taking your phone swimming. Which is what we snorkelers do as well.
There are a few debates around this topic where people have a different opinion. And it’s their right to do so. We admit, it somehow sounds like you can snorkel for half an hour. On the other hand, the experiment we shared with you is an example of how maybe you will run into some troubles.
We personally enjoy a bunch of Apple products and we’d never take any risks with them. We once rote an article about snorkeling with an Apple watch which might be interesting to read as well.
Whenever we decide to take our iPhone whilst snorkeling, we make sure it’s safely sealed in a waterproof bag or case. The link will take you to our full review.
Last but not least. If you’re interested, here’s a link to the Apple support page where they provide both details and tips. The tips about avoiding damage from water could be worth a read.