Just like how you protect yourself with sunscreen, it’s also important to safeguard your iPhone before embarking on a fun-filled water adventure!
If you’re going on vacation soon or you’re lucky enough to live near the ocean, snorkeling is a thrilling experience that allows you to observe different types of marine life that you might not be able to see from the shore.
If you’re planning on capturing your snorkeling adventure and would like to take some memorable snaps, it’s important to make sure that your iPhone is fully protected beforehand.
To help you make the best choice, we’ve selected some of our favorite underwater cases available to purchase today, as well as including some helpful advice to prepare you.
Whether you’re a snorkeling beginner or the ocean is your second home, these cases will take you (and your iPhone) off dry land and into the deep blue for an experience you can treasure forever.
So, without further ado, let's dive into the best waterproof cases for your iPhone...
OUR TOP PICK
iPhone Compatibility: iPhone 6 Plus, 7 Plus & 8 Plus
Depth Rating: 50 feet
First up on our roundup is the ProShot Touch Case! Waterproof all the way down to 50 feet, this underwater case is the ideal partner for all of your snorkeling adventures.
Designed to be used in conjunction with the matching ‘ProShotCase’ app, the app will be able to change your iPhone’s volume buttons into camera controls for complete ease of use. All you need to do is turn on ‘underwater mode’ to activate the app and you’ll be good to go.
Made with convenience in mind, the ProShot Touch is also compatible with all action camera mounts (including a GoPro mount). You can even attach a floating hand grip to your ProShot Touch Case to allow you to go hands-free! These external holes also double up as a place where you can attach a strap lanyard and attach it to your wrist for added security.
Don’t believe us? Check out this buyer’s review:
‘Worth every penny! For a long time, I was undecided about whether to buy this or not. I was looking for something to take on holiday, knowing I would be snorkeling. I am so glad I made the purchase.
It’s easy to use with my iPhone 8 Plus and it felt secure in the water. The GoPro mount meant I could use an old selfie stick and I was off looking for fish in no time at all.
As explained in the official blurb, make sure to use the App before you go underwater and then use the side buttons to navigate between the camera and video modes. No need to use the touch screen (doesn’t work underwater due to the water pressure). Really pleased with the purchase.’
iPhone Compatibility: iPhone 6S Plus, 7, 8, X, XS, XR, XS Max, 11 Pro
Depth Rating: 100 feet
Next up is the highly reliable ProCase Universal Waterproof Case. Not only is this underwater case super affordable, but it’s also IPX8 Certified and waterproof up to 100 feet. How impressive is that?
Unlike the ProShot Case we discussed above, this case is touch-friendly, so all you have to do is carefully slot your iPhone inside and you’ll be able to use it in the water the way that you normally would in day to day life. Plus, thanks to its innovative design, you can easily access the side buttons of your iPhone, as well as being able to take clear images thanks to the ‘window’ design.
To make your snorkeling experience as smooth as possible, this underwater case even comes with a neck strap for convenient carrying, while it's simple snap and lock access will not only keep your iPhone dry from the water but also make removing it after the session is over a breeze, too!
Don’t believe us? Check out this buyer’s review:
‘This product is incredible. I purchased it to use while in Key West for an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus, and Galaxy S6 edge and it fits perfectly for each phone [...] It is completely waterproof and takes great photos and videos through the case but you have to press record prior to submerging the case underwater.
My family went snorkeling and kept the case with the phone inside submerged almost the entire time and had no issues with leakage. My family and I got stopped numerous times being asked where we purchased this product.
Perfect even if just on the beach and you do not want to get sand or sunscreen on your phone and want to still take photos/text/browse the internet while on the beach. I will be purchasing this for everyone in my family as it has become a travel must-have! I highly recommend this product.’
iPhone Compatibility: 6S Plus, 7, 8, X, XR, XS, XS Max, 11 Pro
Depth rating: 30 meters (100 feet)
Another fantastic option is the JOTO Cellphone Dry Bag Pouch. Aside from having a design that fits most iPhone models, this waterproof case can also fit all smartphones up to 6.8”, making it a versatile choice to have at your disposal, especially if you’re planning a snorkeling trip with family or friends.
For starters, this cellphone dry bag is made from a soft, silicone-like material that has clear windows in the front and back, which allows you to take clear images and videos while inside the case. Thanks to this design, this also means that you can use your touchscreen with no issues.
Additionally, it's simple snap and lock system will be able to keep out dirt and water while you’re exploring, while its neck strap will allow for hands-free carrying. It’s got our seal of approval!
Don’t believe us? Check out this buyer’s review:
‘I purchased this case in July for an upcoming canoe trip with a friend, and as luck would have it, we flipped our canoe about an hour from our pick up point. Being the rebel that I am, I chose not to wear my phone around my neck, and so it, my ID and my debit card ended up at the bottom of the river and I just assumed it would be discovered a thousand years from now and placed in a museum as an ancient artifact.
Fast forward to earlier this week. I was contacted via FB by an Alachua County Sheriff's Office diver and guess what he found? Yup, my phone case with all of the contents intact and dry as a bone! He had to cut the case open, but there was not one single drop of water in it and he ended up purchasing a case for himself because he was just that impressed!
I’m not one who is easily impressed by much of anything anymore, but if you are planning a trip and need a waterproof case, this is the one to get!’
iPhone Compatibility: iPhone XR
Depth Rating: 6.6 feet (2m)
If you have this newer iPhone model (XR) and are on the lookout for both a stylish and high-performing option, this OUNNE waterproof case will allow you to take your iPhone XR underwater and make sure you look good while doing so!
Ideal for shallow water snorkeling, this IP68 waterproof case is fully submersible up to 6.6 feet thanks to its fully sealed design that is made of tough and sturdy TPU material that resists shock.
To make sure you get the clearest images and videos possible, the front cover features an integrated screen protector to prevent any scratches and to ensure every snap you take is of crystal clear clarity. As well as this, thanks to the snug design, you can also be confident that no air bubbles will appear among the screen and case.
Don’t believe us? Check out this buyer’s review:
‘Honestly, I have trust issues when it comes to “waterproofing” my phone. However, this case exceeded my expectations. I tested it three times before actually taking in the ocean with me. The clarity is unreal as if you don’t have a case on at all. No water leaked into the case even after 2+ hours of being tied to my wrist swimming in saltwater and fighting a current.’
Our advice for using an iPhone with an underwater case:
So, now you’ve read about our top underwater case picks, it’s time to learn a little more about some precautions to take before jumping into the water:
Backup your iPhone before it gets wet
Our first piece of advice worth remembering is to make sure that you backup your iPhone before you take to the water! Your iPhone contains plenty of valuable information that you don’t want to risk losing such as contacts, banking information, as well as precious photos and videos. When you go snorkeling, accidental flooding or leaking into the case is always a threat and you don’t want to lose all that important information. It will only take you a few minutes to backup your phone, but it will be impossible to retrieve all of your information once it has been destroyed!
Make sure that your phone is fully charged
The last thing you want to happen is to get ready for a snorkeling session, to only be hit by the ‘10% battery remaining’ notification as soon as you jump into the water! Instead of having the freedom to take your time to take in the experience and capture memories, you’ll have to rush to get as many pictures as you can before your phone dies, which will take away the magic of unexpected moments, as well as planned pictures. When you remember to charge your phone, you will have the luxury of being able to get the perfect angle of some pretty coral reef or even a spontaneous selfie with a school of fish!
Switch your phone to airplane mode
If you switch your phone to airplane mode, you will be able to preserve your iPhone’s battery as well as being able to ensure that no one disturbs you with a phone call or text.
Disable your password for the scuba diving session
Though this might not seem important, trust us when we say that you’ll be glad that you disabled your password! You’re not going to be taking pictures for the entire duration of the session because a good portion of your time spent below the waves will consist of you swimming around and exploring. For this reason, for portions of your snorkeling experience, your phone is going to be idle and the last thing you want is to have to keep putting in your password to gain access to the camera! This will be pretty frustrating, especially when you’re wearing your snorkeling gear and want to capture a special moment before it's gone.
Attach a wrist strap to the underwater case
Even though you’re going to be holding your iPhone (just like you normally would) it’s still better to be safe than sorry. If you attach a strap to the underwater case and place it around your wrist, you won’t run the risk of accidentally dropping your phone and losing it.
Tips for taking photos while snorkeling:
Point the camera downwards when taking pictures
This is all due to the way the light reflects from the surface of the water. When you’re scuba diving or snorkeling, you’ll have much clearer photos if the subject is below you, such as near the waterbed or within the reefs. If you tilt your iPhone upwards to take a picture, you’ll most likely find that the picture turns out a little blurry due to the interference of light reflecting from the surface.
Try and keep the camera still
For the clearest pictures and videos, try your best to keep your hand nice and steady to ensure you get the clearest and accurate visuals possible. We know this is easier said than done, especially while swimming, so we suggest taking slower movements each time you capture a memory.
Take images with a red filter
When you shoot with a red filter (there are plenty of apps that you can pre-download that will offer this feature for free) you will be able to capture images in more color, particularly seascape time images in which there is no clear subject, or the subject is at a distance. If you’re in a well-lit area, or your subject is pretty close to you, we suggest disabling the red filter as distortion can occur.
Try out the ‘Burst’ mode when capturing moving subjects
When you shoot with burst mode (a feature already integrated into your iPhone) instead of just taking one picture, your iPhone will capture a ‘burst’ of images taken seconds apart to give you more choice and to better capture moving objects.
Pros and Cons of Underwater Cases
- Underwater cases are both handy and affordable. They won’t break the bank and are designed to keep your expensive iPhone safe and sealed from exposure to water.
- Underwater cases are extremely user-friendly and don’t take much getting used to! As you already know how to use your iPhone, all you’ll have to do is carefully secure it inside the case and you'll be able to use it immediately without any issues or confusion.
- After your snorkeling session comes to an end, you’ll be able to immediately upload and share your snaps to social media or send them to friends and family. This is really useful because, unlike with a digital camera, you won’t have to go to the trouble of uploading them via a memory card to a laptop.
- Many underwater cases are compatible with a strap, which means that you can reduce the chances of any accidents from happening (such as you dropping your iPhone and losing it) because it will be attached to your wrist.
- Each underwater case comes with its own depth rating. If you’re doing a free-diving session or snorkeling in a deep body of water, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the depth rating of your particular case. This can vary from model to model, however, we strongly advise you not to push your case any deeper than it can handle, as this may cause more pressure than it can handle and the sealing system may break and allow water to enter the unit. On a plus note, being aware of the depth rating lowers the chances of exceeding it and running the risk of leaking.
- If you choose a solid underwater case, you may find that you have a little trouble navigating the touchscreen.
- Fog can occur inside the case, which can interfere with the quality of the images and videos that you are taking. This is because your iPhone creates heat, which makes it warmer than the water you're submerged within. To avoid this issue, we highly suggest purchasing anti-fog strips which will be able to reduce the effects of fog buildup inside the case and across the lens.
Additionally, after your snorkeling adventure, you need to remember to clean your case in order to ensure that it can be reused again. Upkeep of your underwater case will be pretty simple, all you need to do is soak and rinse it out with fresh water when you get back to your home or villa, making sure that it is still totally sealed so the inside remains dry.
You’ll also need to give the case a little wipe over with a dry cloth and, if the locking mechanism of your chosen underwater case uses an o-ring, why not lubricate it with some silicone grease once in a while? It will keep your case in tip-top condition and will ensure that it can serve you for many more underwater expeditions to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do underwater phone cases work?
Yes, underwater cases do work as long as you’re opting for a high-quality case that has been completely sealed and tested beforehand. While waterproof phone cases might make your phone thick and cumbersome, they are incredibly useful lifelines if you’re taking your phone anywhere near a body of water.
Some people even use their underwater cases in the shower or when traveling by boat - just in case. However, if you’re going diving and want to capture some memories under the water, you need to ensure that your underwater phone case works perfectly. #
To ensure that you’re getting a reliable underwater phone case, you should check the reviews before buying your own. Here you’ll find customer testimonials of whether anyone had any problems with their case and whether you should consider buying it for yourself. If there are an overwhelming number of bad reviews, perhaps consider opting for another case.
Can you take pictures underwater with a waterproof iPhone case?
The majority of waterproof case manufacturers understand that the main reason why people would want to take their phones underwater would be to take pictures of what they see. For this reason, most iPhone waterproof cases do allow you to take images through them.
However, there are a few things that need to be considered if you’re planning on taking pictures underwater with your iPhone. For starters, consider how clear the image is going to be. If you’re entering murky waters, your iPhone isn’t going to be able to achieve very clear pictures.
So, if you’re diving in unclear waters you might prefer not to take your phone in the water at all. This is so that you don’t risk damaging your phone with a faulty case when you don’t need it for pictures.
With that being said, if you’re entering clear waters that are ideal for taking photos from your iPhone, you should then consider the quality of the waterproof phone case. If the case is made from low-quality plastic, it might be cloudy and cover the camera, leaving your images a hazy mess.
If you want to take pictures through your waterproof phone case, make sure that it is crystal clear to ensure that you’re not disappointed with the quality of your pictures after you’ve finished diving.
How far underwater can a Lifeproof case go?
Lifeproof is one of the leading manufacturers of waterproof cases and they have two main waterproof cases: Lifeproof NǕǕD and Lifeproof FRĒ. These are both waterproof up to 6.6 feet deep into the water. This is not as impressive as you might expect from the market leaders.
The ProShot Touch Waterproof Case, or our number one pick, has a depth rating of 50 feet, which is much more impressive than 6.6 feet. The phone cases we’ve looked at from ProCase and JOTO have an even more impressive depth rating of 100 feet!
Do Ziploc bags waterproof phones?
A Ziploc bag is a thin bag made of two sheets of plastic heat-sealed around the edges. It can be zipped closed with a seam seal. The plastic is waterproof and therefore it can make your phone waterproof, but not for very long.
The longer the Ziploc bag is underwater, the more the harsh saltwater will corrode the plastic. Plus, the pressure of the water can also cause the bag’s seams to pull apart.
So, using a Ziploc bag to waterproof your phone is not the smartest idea. However, it is a decent option if you’re on a budget and are willing to risk your electronics. It might work perfectly, but it is a little risky.