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Apple patents 'underwater mode' for iPhone: Here’s what we know

Underwater mode is described as an alternative interface that would allow users to access touchscreen and camera functions at up to 40 metre depth.

Edited By: Om Gupta

Published: Feb 08, 2024, 04:31 PM IST


Story Highlights

  • Apple has secured a new patent for an 'underwater mode'.
  • It will enable iPhone users to operate their devices when submerged in water.
  • Underwater mode is an alternative interface tailored for underwater use of iPhone.

Apple has secured a new patent for an ‘underwater mode’ that would enable iPhone users to operate their devices seamlessly even when submerged in water. The patent was filed in 2021 and published on Tuesday, describes an alternative interface that is tailored specifically for underwater use of iPhone. The interface would allow users to access touchscreen and camera functions at up to 40 metre depth.

According to the patent, Apple found that the current iOS 17 interface is ‘cumbersome and inefficient’ when the phone becomes wet, as it can interfere with the touch sensitivity and the display quality.

The ‘underwater mode’ is similar to the ‘dive mode’ that is already available on the Apple Watch Ultra models, which are designed for users who engage in ‘extreme activities’ such as kitesurfing, wakeboarding, and scuba diving.

The Apple Watch Ultra models can withstand water pressure up to 100 metre and are certified to international standards for dive accessories. The ‘underwater mode’ for iPhone would be a first for any smartphones in the market, as the current iPhone 15 series has an IP68 rating, which means it can only survive submersion for up to 30 minutes at six-metre depth.

However, the water resistance of iPhone 15 models can be compromised by cracks or scratches on the surface. Therefore, Apple is considering to make its next iPhone model featuring the ‘underwater mode’ a rugged one, similar to the Apple Watch Ultra series, in order to attract adventurers who are interested in ocean and water sports.

It is not clear yet whether the next iPhone 16 Pro Max or a speculated iPhone 16 ‘Ultra’ will feature this ‘underwater mode’. Apple has not commented on the patent or its future plans for the iPhone.

Meanwhile, Apple is set to adhere to the European Union’s (EU) regulations and will soon introduce sideloading on iOS. This change is anticipated to occur in the upcoming months. However, it seems that Apple has a unique approach to the implementation of sideloading apps on its platform. Indeed, users will have the ability to sideload apps on their iPhones, but it might entail additional costs for developers.

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Author Name | Om Gupta


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