Apple Patents Lightning Connector with Vacuum Seal, Provides Additional Waterproofing


When Apple first introduced water resistance on their iPhone lineup, consumers and critics gave plenty of positive reviews. However, there is still a lot that can be done to improve the waterproofing.

While it is possible to use a current-generation iPhone after you drop it in water, you can still use it, however, there are limitations. For instance, you shouldn’t plug in the device after it has been in the water until it fully dries.

Patently Apple has discovered applications for a patent that details a very simple route to further waterproof the iPhone. The patent details a lightning connector with a wedge design that would completely seal off the point of connection.

Another option, which was discovered by The Verge, details a method for creating a vacuum seal when the lightning connector is inserted into the device. The patent actually details pistons and a generator inside the device that make this possible.

It’s worth pointing out that a lot of things patented by Apple never actually make it to a product that is shipped to customers. However, the first patent mentioned here could be something Apple may introduce in a device as early as this year.


  • Mike

    When the phone is plugged in is probably when it’s least likely to fall in the water.

    Maybe they’re thinking about this for lightning headphones when people are out in the rain.

  • Flash

    Nah, the headphones via lightning isn’t something they want to continue, it’s all about the Bluetooth (which I agree with). I’m hoping the lightning port disappears completely soon and then we won’t have to worry about the ports getting wet

  • JW

    Fully Dries.

  • Mike

    Will still take them a few years to fully transition away. If this is quick and easy and a “feature” they can sell, they may throw it in for the next 2 phone cycles

  • Harold Mitchell

    I guess that this ends any hope for a universal USB C implementation for iPhones 🙁

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    The iPhone isn’t waterproof. It’s water resistant. So when the article says “further waterproof the iPhone” it makes no sense. Once something is waterproof, there is no need to “further waterproof” it, because it already is.

    “there is still a lot that can be done to improve the waterproofing” – yeah, like maybe make it waterproof. lol

  • Tony

    So does that mean I can charge my phone underwater for a short period of time in the future? Very cool… not really ? maybe charge my phone in the shower?

  • Dave Smith

    Spellcheck only goes so far. Apparently the writer Nick Salerni doesn’t proofread for errors or view comments. Sadly very common among online publications, even the national news sites.

  • Talon Mann

    I dropped my phone 8 plus in the ocean while kayaking in the Philippines and didn’t notice until I got back to shore. The next day we went snorkeling and I found it! It works perfectly fine too! I couldn’t believe it survived over night in the ocean.

  • There are many different levels of waterproofing. Electronics can be waterproofed to different depths, different lengths of time spent underwater, different types of water spray, etc. The iPhone is waterproof under certain conditions (just like the vast majority of waterproof devices are under certain conditions). It’s more than water resistant, Apple just doesn’t advertise it as waterproof as they don’t want users pushing their luck with the waterproofing since many people assume all waterproofing is the same and the term means the device will withstand any force or depth of water.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Yeah it’s semantics. I was just going by what Apple calls it – water resistant. I do think it’s a more accurate term though. You might think that the phones are “more than water resistant” despite what Apple says, but you might be misled by all the youtube tests showing how good it is. The fact most people aren’t aware of is that Apple also says the water resistance will DECREASE with time. So all the tests you’ve seen aren’t telling the whole story. The phone might survive a dip in the pool when new, but it might be a different story 6 months later.

    Given that, I think it’s more responsible to call it water resistant as Apple itself calls it. Waterproof to most reasonable people means that they can do everyday things with it, such as swimming, diving, bathing and using it underwater to take photos. Fact is, you can’t. All you have to do is give the phone a little squeeze while it’s underwater and its game over. There is enough flex that you will squeeze some air out, and after that the resulting suction will cause it to intake water. This is not waterproof. This is being able to safely withstand a splash. Your warranty will also be voided – unless you take your phone to Pacific Mall where they will replace the internal water damage stickers with new ones.

  • I water proofed my iPhone 4s long before Apple did with their newer iPhones. I put mine in a zip lock back and BAM… Water Proof!