Apple Is Working on a Waterproof iPhone with Underwater UI, Suggests Patent

Close Up of Water pouring on the back side of a Black iPhone
In Short
  • According to the latest patent, Apple is developing a waterproof iPhone with a special underwater UI.
  • The goal is to adjust iOS functionality underwater for a better user experience. Apps will have specialized UI for underwater use.
  • At the moment, there is no set timeline for the release of waterproof iPhones, as it's merely a patent.

The iPhone is water-resistant, meaning it can withstand submersion in water up to a certain depth and duration. However, water resistance does not mean waterproof, and Apple does not guarantee that iPhones are completely immune to water damage. In fact, all the iPhones come with a limited one-year warranty that doesn’t cover water damage. Interestingly, this could become a thing of the past as Apple seems to be working on completely waterproof iPhones.

According to the latest patent, Apple is developing a waterproof iPhone with an underwater user interface. Initially filed in April 2021, the patent was finally awarded to Apple last week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The Patent titled “Underwater User Interface” spans 78 pages and describes how the iOS system can adapt to the underwater environment so the iPhone is easy to use. This development directly hints at Apple’s plans for making waterproof iPhones. The patent showcases potential UI adjustments like using the Volume buttons to adjust the camera zoom underwater.

Use Volume Button for Camera Zoom on Waterproof iPhones
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The patent sparks excitement since it implies that Apple is not only developing a software solution but also reflects its commitment to waterproof hardware development. If this becomes a reality, it would be a breakthrough in the smartphone industry and one of the key selling points for iPhones in the future. This could also prompt Apple to add water damage coverage under its limited warranty policy.

The Underwater iOS interface

Apple’s latest patented technology highlights that the company is aware of the limitations of water resistance. Also, the company recognizes an increase in the usage of devices underwater or in wet conditions.

Apple acknowledges in the patent that iOS can be “cumbersome and inefficient” underwater, which leads to longer processing times and unnecessary power consumption, So, the goal is to adjust iOS functionality underwater for a better user experience.

Beyond illustrations, the patent showcases a typical iOS interface with apps and an icon indicating underwater mode. It further illustrates that certain apps like Camera will have a simplified interface for underwater use.

Apple's new patent shows a special underwater user interface for waterproof iPhones
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For example, users can use the volume button to adjust the zoom, rather than relying on the multi-touch gestures that might not work well underwater. The patent mentions other possible features such as changing the brightness, contrast, color scheme, and font size of the display, adjusting the sound output and haptic feedback, and detecting the orientation and depth of the phone.

In short, Apple’s new patented technology promises to offer an enhanced user experience while the iPhone is submerged under water bodies like pools, oceans, etc. So, we can envision a future where iPhones are completely waterproof.

At the moment, there’s no timeline for waterproof iPhones. Honestly speaking, a near-term release of a waterproof iPhone isn’t even anticipated. Also, since the patents do not always reflect the actual products, Apple might tweak some features or functionalities. As more leaks and suggestions pile up in the future, we’ll update this piece to keep you in the loop.

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