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June 17, 2017

Waterproof iPhone 7 cases let you surf, swim, or splash without fear

by John_A

Update: We’ve added a waterproof case from OTBBA, and updated availability and prices for other cases.

The iPhone 7 is water-resistant, which is a new feature for Apple’s flagship, but there’s a difference between being water-resistant and waterproof. The iPhone 7 scores an IP67 rating. IP stands for “Ingress Protection,” while the 6 means that it’s dustproof and the 7 means that it can survive being submerged in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. In practice, it may survive longer than that or cope with greater depths, but Apple isn’t making any promises in that regard and we would strongly advise against putting it to the test.

If that water resistance isn’t going to cut it for you, and you want to be able to take your new phone surfing, swimming, or around the pool without having to worry, then you should snag a waterproof case. You should be careful when shopping for waterproof iPhone cases, however, because there are a few out there that only match the IP67 rating that the iPhone already has. The cases below offer a little something extra.

Lifeproof Fre Case ($60+)

This rugged case from Lifeproof boasts an IP68 rating, which means it can be immersed at a depth of up to 6.6 feet (2 meters) for an hour. It will also keep dirt, snow, and rain from damaging your iPhone 7. Drop protection is good, too, and your iPhone can survive drops of up to 6.6 feet (2 meters) unscathed when it’s wearing the Fre case. It’s a fairly bulky case with a built-in screen protector, chunky button covers, and port covers; but all your iPhone features are still accessible. Lifeproof is offering a wide range of different color combinations.

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Dog & Bone Wetsuit Case ($49)

Here’s another tough iPhone case that offers IP68 protection. This one combines silicone, polycarbonate, and rubber for a secure fit that also offers drop protection at up to 6.6 feet (2 meters). As you’d expect, there’s a secure port cover, button covers, and accurate cut-outs for the camera and Touch ID, but there’s no screen protector – this case forms a seal with the touchscreen. That ensures touch sensitivity isn’t impacted, but it does also leave your screen exposed. The rubber bumper and textured back add some grip and there are four colors to choose from.

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Catalyst Case ($80)

You won’t be surprised to hear that Catalyst’s case also scores an IP68 rating, but Catalyst tests each unit to greater than usual depths and claims that its cases are waterproof up to 33 feet (10 meters). You also get good drop protection, for falls from up to 6.6 feet (2 meters). The soft rubber exterior is comfortable to hold and adds some grip. You have easy access to the Touch ID, buttons, and camera. There’s a thin screen protector built in, which doesn’t seem to interfere with touch sensitivity, and a rotating crown dial for the mute switch. It comes in black or white, with a transparent back.

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Catalyst Amazon

Hitcase Shield ($70)

Waterproof cases don’t have to be ugly. The Hitcase frame is crafted from aluminum in colors designed to exactly match your iPhone 7. The flexible front panel includes built-in screen protection and makes it easy to fit. The case scores an IP68 rating and Hitcase says it’s good at depths of up to 10 feet (3 meters). It does also offer drop protection at up to 6 feet (2 meters), though the aluminum may chip or scuff. There are metallic button covers on the side and a dial for the switch.

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Tech21 Evo Aqua 360 ($90)

The Evo Aqua 360 scores an IP68 rating and offers protection at depths of up to 9.9 feet for an hour. It has a built-in screen protector, button and port covers, a dial for the switch, and cut-outs for access to Touch ID and the camera. The back of the case is also transparent to show off Apple’s design. It was launched alongside the basic Evo Aqua, which doesn’t have the screen protector built in and is good at up to 6.6 feet for an hour. Both offer solid drop protection from falls of up to 6.6 feet and they come in black or white.

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Tech21 Best Buy

Pelican Marine Case ($56)

This waterproof iPhone case scores an IP68 rating, so it can be completely submerged in water to a depth of 6.6 feet for up to an hour. Pelican has an impressive pedigree when it comes to protective cases and the Marine case will also safeguard your iPhone 7 against drops, bumps, and all the elements. It seals your phone inside, but the Touch ID, touchscreen, and camera work just fine. There are button covers for the controls and ports for audio, though you may find sound is a bit muffled at times. There’s a completely clear version, or you can opt for the bumper in teal or black.

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Vansky Floatable Dry Bag ($10)

If you only want waterproof protection for your iPhone 7 on the odd occasion, then it makes sense to consider a simple dry bag like this one. Pop your iPhone in the bag and seal it and it’s good to go. The case has an IPx8 rating, and the manufacturer claims it can handle depths of up to 100 feet. It has an adjustable lanyard strap, so you can hang it around your neck, and there’s an optional armband, too. Both the front and back are clear, and you can use your iPhone while it’s in the bag. The other advantage of this bag is that it floats, so if you drop your iPhone it won’t disappear into the depths.

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OTBBA Waterproof Case ($20)

This chunky, waterproof case will make your iPhone 7 look like an over-sized iPhone 5, but it also boasts an IP68 rating, which means your iPhone is submersible in up to 10 feet of water for up to two hours. OTBAA also promises rugged drop protection, and claims the case will help protect your device from falls of up to 6.5 feet. It comes with a built-in screen protector, too, and covers all of your phone’s buttons and ports. Your camera and Touch ID sensor will still work with the case on, but sound is inevitably muffled, as is the case with most waterproof offerings. The real attraction here, however, is the low price point.

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