Is getting a waterproof case for the iPhone 7 a waste of money?
The iPhone 7 is waterproof right? Why would you need a waterproof case for the iPhone 7?
Officially, the iPhone 7 is rated to IP67 which means the iPhone 7 is water resistant. Not waterproof (That’s IP68). We’ll elaborate on the difference below.
So do you need a waterproof case? It will depend on what you’re planning on using the iPhone 7 for.
In short, if you’re planning on doing stuff near or in an ocean and lake, we’d say yes. But on a day-to-day basis, if you’re sitting in an office, or working out at the gym or at the bar, you won’t. Well, unless you get crazy at the bar.
This is different than previous iPhone generations as a waterproof case was a good purchase for people who were worried about the accidental drop in water. We’ve been reviewing waterproof iPhone cases for several years now, starting with the iPhone 5’s. We’ve taken them into lakes and oceans, snorkelled and swam with them so we know the perils and joys of being able to use the iPhone as an underwater camera.
The fallacy of the iPhone 7 being waterproof
The iPhone 7 is rated to IP67. Now if you do a quick search on the internet, you’ll find lots of articles explaining IP67 and it’s tougher cousin, IP68. We’re not going to rehash the information that other sites have already covered but we’ll add our 2-cents.
From our perspective, the iPhone 7 with its IP67 rating will not be damaged in the accidental drop in the sink, tub or toilet. In fact, you could leave the device for 30 mins in the sink and technically it should be fine. Even a trip to a friend’s pool would be fine as devices rated to IP67 should be waterproof up to 1m.
If you want to do more, you’ll need IP68 which allows you to take a device to depths greater than 1m. If you’re taking your iPhone 7 deeper than 1m, you’ve moved beyond the occasional toilet drop and filming a cannon ball at the pool.
As a side note, both IP67 and IP68 ratings occur in laboratory conditions. Which isn’t a reflection of real life as a bunch of the side of the pool, followed by submersion in the pool is probably going to negate the IP67 rating.
Another way to look at the “waterproof” iPhone 7
Here’s an analogy to help with these cryptic IP6x ratings. Aaron recently purchased a pair of Wilcox boots (check out the review here). These leather boots “could” be considered waterproof (they’re definitely water resistant). They’ll keep Aaron’s feet dry while he walks Monty during a spring thaw.
However, the moment he decides to walk through a field or yard covered in snow, the boots are eventually going to get wet. If he wants to keep his feet completely dry, he’s going to need a pair of waterproof, winter boots. His Sorel’s do a great job of keeping water out during the spring thaw.
In this example, the IP67 rating is like the leather boots. It will keep water out most of the time but isn’t meant to be used extensively with water. The waterproof, winter boots would be IP68 which is what every waterproof case we’ve reviewed for the iPhone 7 is rated for.
So when should you get a waterproof iPhone 7 case?
We’d recommend getting a waterproof iPhone 7 case for two reasons. The first reason revolves around keeping your iPhone 7 safe because you’re work/environment demands it. Aaron workouts with a bunch of fire fighters so it makes sense that they have waterproof cases. It also makes sense to have a case that can take a beating if you’re a construction worker or landscaper.
The second reason you would need a waterproof case for the iPhone 7 would be if you’re going on a water-based vacation and you want to use your iPhone 7 as an underwater camera. Most waterproof cases have wrist strap attachment points which allow you to attach your iPhone to your body. This is important in the scenario where you fall, or have to let go of the iPhone while you’re swimming or snorkelling. Certain waterproof cases like the HitCase Pro, Optrix XD and ProShot even come with swappable lenses which allows you to capture of your adventure.
For the iPhone 7, waterproof cases should be use only if you want to take your iPhone further than you normally would. Instead of thinking about the case as a day-to-day accessory, think about it as an add-on that allows you to use your iPhone in places you normally wouldn’t. For a full list of waterproof cases for the iPhone 7 that we’ve reviewed, check out our comparison tool.
Why you shouldn’t get a waterproof iPhone 7 case
Don’t get a waterproof case if you’re concerned about a bit of water ruining your iPhone 7. Apple has designed the iPhone 7 to handle anything a normal person is going to accidentally do to the iPhone. Save yourself the hassle of dealing with reduced call and sound quality, tight buttons and reduced screen quality and get a slim case (click here for the Top 10 Slim cases for the iPhone 7).
Getting a slim case with a screen protector is probably the best thing you can do for your iPhone 7 if you’re not planning on doing anything crazy.
The last thing we will say is that even if the iPhone is fully waterproof at iP68, would you honestly take a naked iPhone into the ocean? Water and electronics don’t usually mix. Salt water and electronics definitely don’t mix but that’s just our opinion. A naked iPhone handles like a wet bar of soap on a normal day so we can’t imagine how we would keep it in our hands while snorkelling.