Improved Water Resistance of iPhone 6s Attributed to New Gaskets and Seals

iFixit began its teardown of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus after the new smartphones became available last Friday, discovering the specifics of the smaller batteries, Taptic Engine, and 3D Touch display. After a few iPhone fans began extensive water resistance testing over the weekend, iFixit decided to revisit its teardown of the new devices with a renewed focus on components placed by Apple that could point to the company's interest in a more liquid-proof smartphone.

The site closely inspected a strip of glue that acts as a gasket surrounding the entire inside edge of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, accounting in total for a slight 0.3mm increase in width when in comparison to last year's models. Described as "a string of sticky goop," iFixit theorizes that if Apple hadn't placed the gasket there to hold components in, perhaps "it was designed to keep liquids out."

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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.

Even the logic boards of the new iPhones appear to be updated to at least partially protect against liquid intrusion, with all cable connectors on the logic board -- "from the battery and display, to the Lightning port and buttons" -- surrounded and reinforced with a small silicone barrier. As iFixit points out, the logic board's various connectors are the most vulnerable to water within the iPhone's body, so the fact that Apple has appeared to safeguard them against liquid damage is definitely notable.

Otherwise, the rest of the internal components of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus -- like the headphone jack, speaker, power, and volume buttons -- didn't showcase any forms of waterproofing by the Cupertino-based company. Today's news follows a few days of water resistance talk about the new iPhones thanks to a handful of video tests created by various YouTubers, along with a new rumor pointing to the "iPhone 7" adopting a fully-waterproof body when it debuts next year.

Tag: iFixit
Related Forum: iPhone

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Top Rated Comments

iWillNotUpgrade Avatar
115 months ago
The work and craftsmanship in design, of these devices, and people destroy them just so they can look at "tear down porn". Such a waste of perfectly good iPhones.
Unscientific drop tests are a waste of a perfectly good phone, not a careful disassembly.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmichaelb Avatar
115 months ago
That's nice, but if it falls in the toilet, I'm still never using it again.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kds1 Avatar
115 months ago
The work and craftsmanship in design, of these devices, and people destroy them just so they can look at "tear down porn". Such a waste of perfectly good iPhones.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Oblivious.Robot Avatar
115 months ago
C'mon water resistant iPhone 7! :D
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
115 months ago
The work and craftsmanship in design, of these devices, and people destroy them just so they can look at "tear down porn". Such a waste of perfectly good iPhones.
How is it a waste when iFixit does a tear down? They're a company that specializes in iPhone and other electronics repair. It's easy for them to put the thing back together just as well as it was before.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
115 months ago
It's great that Apple finally decided to do this, but strange that they didn't advertise it. Perhaps this is a test for the iPhone 7. If the sealing goes well, Apple can improve upon it even more next year and advertise it as a feature without hearing from tons of users about how they fried their phone. The iPhone 7 is likely to be an even more simplified design, so waterproofing it should be even easier. At the very least I think they'll advertise the next iPhone as water resistant—kinda similar to the Apple Watch. Could you dunk it? Yeah, but they don't come out and recommend it in case something happens.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)