Waterproof Cases - iPhone

Does anyone have experience with iPhone waterproof cases?

I’ve been exploring replacing my now dead Olympus underwater video camera, but then thought if using my iPhone XS and its excellent video, as an underwater camera, was a viable option.

Anyone done that, and could recommend cases?

I’ve only used Lifeproof Fre (iPhone 8) for crossing streams during hikes, it’s alright but the rainbow effect on the screen annoys me. Probably underwater for about 5 mins max, no leaks. I heard Catalyst and Pelican is better but I haven’t had the need to get one yet for my new phone.

I’ve always been a little interested in what “water proof” really means when it comes to iPhones.

The iPhone XS, for example, is “Rated IP68 (maximum depth of 2 metres for up to 30 minutes) under IEC standard 60529”… does that mean I can just take it into the swimming pool, creek or even ocean (giving it a good rinse afterwards) so long as I don’t exceed that depth or time underwater?

I have far less concern if you were to stand in the water and take photos dealing with splashes, but if you keep going just under the surface and taking photos of the kids swimming in the pools detrimental to the phone?

We have used iPhones (8, XS and 11 Pro Max) in the pool over the last few years, although I’m always a little hesitant and only ever put them under for very short moments of time. All were bought at launch to give you an idea of age, but none have shown any ill effects.
We do actually have a waterproof camera, a Fujifilm XP10 that we got years ago (2010ish?), so I try to remember to take that when we are planning swimming want underwater shots, the iPhone is more of a improptue water camera… but like I said, I wonder if it could really be a primary.

But back to your questions, a case would make me feel happier, but given the cost of real water proof cases you’re getting mightly close to the cost of a real water proof camera which would give greater depth and features. Plenty are under $250 too making you far less sad if they eventually break in water.


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Yes, I’d like to take mine snorkeling and to catch some surf video, hence into surf! So I wouldn’t take a $1600 phone into the sea for that.

But with a reliable sealed case I would, with a strap around my neck so can’t lose it. iPhone takes great video!

There are some cases for only $30 which claim waterproof to 30m.

As the XS is only worth about $600 now maybe I’ll trial a case with it, before the iPhone 12 comes out for what I suspect will be ~$2000.

Waterproofing going well, could then possible down ground the XS to my ‘surf cam’.

Thanks for that link too. I had an early Olympus Tough, was a great camera. Battery leaked into it, or sea water got in. Not sure which.

Replacements are $600!

I used a cheap soft plastic case to go snorkeling with my kids last year that worked well. No water got in. The seal was quite simple - a zip-like mechanism. Designed for the iPhone. Unbranded.