Believe it or not, this is a "thing" now. People are pretty excited about being able to take their new iPhone 7 into the bathtub or shower with them. I hate to admit it, but I have done it now too. I was shaving this weekend and was listening to a podcast via my iPhone 7 and then got into the shower. Rather than turning off the podcast or turning the volume WAY up so I could hear the audio over the roar of the flaming hot water I thought, what the heck. So I took my iPhone 7 Plus into the shower and set it down on the shelf that runs along the back length of the shower wall at about hip height. All went well for a few minutes, but then the audio got really muffled. You see, water had found its way into the new speaker (which is built into the top earpiece slit of the phone...this is new on the iPhone 7). It was also quite challenging to even turn off the podcast as the touch controls on the screen don't really work when the screen is in contact with water (the water is conductive just like your finger, and it is that conductivity that the iPhone uses to detect a touch on the screen). I eventually turned off the podcast and finished my shower in silence.
So what happened? Speakers need air to function properly since it is the air that is actually transmitting sound from the source to your ears (this is why in the vacuum of space there is no sound, despite what Hollywood tells you in the movies). So when water gets involved inside the speaker it changes how well that speaker transmits the sounds from the vibrating magnets into the air and then into your ears. Pesky water. I couldn't immediately tell if it was the water that had accumulated on the flat surface of the screen near the speaker slit that was causing the problem or if water had actually made its way down into the speaker itself. Either way, the audio quality was suffering. Actually, I can tell you which it was. The water had made its way all the way into the speaker. Because even after I dried the surface of the phone off the speaker was not putting out full sound for several hours. But in the end the iPhone was no worse for wear. It eventually fully dried out and functioned as normal. It looks like Apple didn't build in a water ejecting function into the iPhone 7 speaker like they did with the new Series 2 Apple Watch. Just because the iPhone 7 is water resistant doesn't mean it will work well for all purposes near water. Even if the speaker didn't stop working for me in the shower I can't say I would want to take it into the shower on a regular basis. The iPhone, especially when wet, be very slippery. It only takes one slip and the iPhone would be hitting the tile floor of my shower (not good).
All that being said, there are some real benefits of the new water resistant nature of the iPhone 7. Before the iPhone 7 many people would not even risk taking their iPhone into the bathroom at all. Now those people can safely take their phones in while they shave or apply makeup and rest assured that even if they dropped the phone in the sink or just splash it that it will survive the encounter. The iPhone is now safe to take to take to the beach or the poolside now too. And of course, as I mentioned in my last post the iPhone 7 can now be taken outside even when heavy rain is threatening.
So you have given your iPhone 7 a good soaking for one reason or another. Is there anything you need to be cautious about after doing this? Turns out there is. Apple has a page dedicated to talking about this, but here are the main points:
- Wait at least 5 hours after the iPhone gets wet before charging (to allow the lightning port to completely dry out)
- Don't open the SIM card tray until the outside of the iPhone is completely dry
- If water gets into the microphone or one of the speakers, turn the iPhone so that speaker or microphone is pointing down to allow the water to drain
- Always use a lint free soft cloth to dry your iPhone to avoid scratching the iPhone or accumulating cruft into the lightning port
Other than that, enjoy the new water resistant nature of your iPhone 7 without going too crazy. Remember, the iPhone 7 is water resistant but water damage IS NOT covered under Apple's warranty.