Early iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus water submersion tests have been impressive, with one casual test showing the devices last an hour under water. What did Apple do this time around to allow this to happen?
Teardown specialists iFixit got curious, so they dismantled both devices again to take a closer look. What they discovered was a reworked frame that spanned a slightly thicker lip and frame at 2.21 mm (versus 1.89 mm on the iPhone 6) to make way for new gasket-like sealing:
First, Apple takes this gasket business pretty seriously: they didn’t just run a strip of glue around the existing display like they were caulking a bathtub. Instead, it appears the iPhone’s frame has been subtly reworked to accommodate the new gasket. We noted a slight, but measurable, increase in the width of the lip running along the perimeter of the frame—it’s about 0.3 mm wider than on the iPhone 6, making it just wide enough for that little gasket to land on. One-third of a millimeter may not seem like much, but given how tight the iPhone’s tolerances are nowadays, the change is big enough to see with the naked eye. And it’s almost certainly enough of a change that other components had to be subtly tweaked to match. Make no mistake, Apple gave this careful thought.
Also new was the addition of tiny seals around all logic board cable connectors, the area most susceptible to water as they are quick to short out.
While the new iPhone 6s models come with finer speaker mesh grilles, that did not make any difference. No evidence was found of waterproofing in the headphone jack, power or volume rocker buttons, or SIM tray either.
Again, while you may not want to test dunking your shiny new iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus in water, it is reassuring it could potentially last more than a second when submerged under water (like if you were to accidentally drop it into the toilet; disinfecting it is another story).