Italy Fines Apple $12 Million for Misleading iPhone Water Resistance Claims

Apple has been slapped with a 10 million euro ($12 million) fine by Italy's antitrust watchdog for unfair commercial practices related to its iPhone marketing in the country.

One of the Apple ads cited in the Italian watchdog's proceedings (credit: setteBIT)

Specifically, Apple is being charged for misleading claims in promotional messages about how deep and how long iPhones can be submerged in water without being damaged.

In marketing materials related to ‌iPhone‌ 8, ‌iPhone‌ 8 Plus, ‌iPhone‌ XR, ‌iPhone‌ XS, ‌iPhone‌ XS Max, ‌iPhone‌ 11, ‌iPhone‌ 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, Apple said its iPhones were water resistant at a depth of between one and four meters for up to 30 minutes, depending on the model.

However, according to the country's competition regulator, the messages did not clarify that the claims are only true under specific conditions, for example during controlled laboratory tests with the use of static and pure water, and not in the normal conditions of use by consumers.

The regulator also took issue with Apple's warranty terms, which do not cover damage caused by liquids. The authority considered it inappropriate to push an "aggressive" commercial practice highlighting water resistance as a feature, while at the same time refusing to provide post-sales warranty assistance if the ‌iPhone‌ models in question suffer water damage.

This isn't the first time Apple has fallen under the radar of Italy's antitrust watchdog and subsequently been punished. In 2018 Apple was fined 10 million euros (about $11.5 million USD) for "planned obsolescence" of its smartphones, following the regulator's investigation into reports of iPhone battery slowdowns.

(Via setteBIT.)

Popular Stories

Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

10 Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Monday July 8, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models simultaneously, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different – already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iPhone 15 Pro Cameras

iPhone 17 Pro Max Will Be First Model to Feature Three 48MP Cameras

Thursday July 11, 2024 12:20 am PDT by
Next year's iPhone 17 Pro Max will feature an upgraded 48-megapixel Tetraprism camera for enhanced photo quality and zoom functionality, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In his n-iphone-tetraprism-upgrade-ca62dd37e364">latest investor note published to Medium, Kuo said the key specification change would be a 1/2.6" 48MP CIS sensor, up from the 1/3.1" 12MP sensor expected to be used...
iPhone 16 Pro Front Update Blue

iPhone 16 Pro Rumored to Support 40W Fast Charging and 20W MagSafe

Wednesday July 10, 2024 3:57 am PDT by
Apple's forthcoming iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will support 40W wired fast charging and 20W MagSafe charging, claims a rumor currently swirling around China. Right now, iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models are capable of up to 27W peak charging speeds with an appropriate USB-C power adapter, while official MagSafe chargers from Apple and authorized third parties can wirelessly charge...
AirPods Pro Beta Firmware

Apple Releases New AirPods Pro 2 Beta Firmware With Support for iOS 18 Features

Tuesday July 9, 2024 11:46 am PDT by
Apple today released a second beta firmware for the AirPods Pro 2, including both the Lightning and USB-C versions. The updated firmware has a build number 7A5244b and it is available to developers at the current time. This is the second firmware update that Apple has released since announcing new AirPods Pro 2 features in June. There are several new features that are coming to the AirPods...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID

iPhone 16 Models Rumored to Have Face ID-Related Design Changes

Tuesday July 9, 2024 9:15 am PDT by
iPhone 16 models coming later this year could have some Face ID-related "design changes," supply chain publication DigiTimes said this week. The original source of this information is British newspaper The Telegraph, which six weeks ago reported that Face ID component supplier Coherent was considering selling or repurposing a manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe, a small town in...
orka desktop

MacStadium Releases Free Orka Desktop macOS Virtualization Software

Wednesday July 10, 2024 6:55 am PDT by
Mac cloud services provider MacStadium today unveiled Orka Desktop, a free virtualization tool that allows Mac users to create and manage macOS virtual machines locally via an easy-to-use admin panel. Orka users can create or download custom macOS images locally for their own personal use, or to collaborate with team members using a familiar workflow, versioning, audit, and review controls....

Top Rated Comments

MaxBurn Avatar
47 months ago
I always thought it was BS to claim any sort of water resistance and then deny any form of warranty liquid claim.
Score: 114 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mazz0 Avatar
47 months ago

this is idiotic
Your post? Yes, it would appear to be.
Score: 56 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BaltimoreMediaBlog Avatar
47 months ago

this is idiotic
No it's not. I fell down while swimming this summer and my iPhone only briefly went in shallow water and would not charge for days before being ok. I almost junked it as I thought it might be hopeless. So these waterproof claims are seriously bogus. And we're not talking meters here either. I'm talking only splashing inches into the water and that made it fail! to charge anymore!

And guess what the solution was? Spraying more water on the connector and then putting it back in the tray of rice! HAHA!
Score: 48 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MaxBurn Avatar
47 months ago

No it's not. I fell down while swimming this summer and my iPhone only briefly went in shallow water and would not charge for days before being ok. I almost junked it as I thought it might be hopeless. So these waterproof claims are seriously bogus. And we're not talking meters here either. I'm talking only splashing inches into the water and that made it fail!
Exactly. Either the device has some sort of meaningful water resistance that a consumer will encouter like rain, sink splashes, even a falling in a pool sort of situation or you shouldn't get to claim water resistance at all.
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xenitassos Avatar
47 months ago
This can’t be stressed enough. Face ID broke on my iPhone XS (still had warranty) because a glass of water fell on it. You can’t advertise improved water resistance as a selling point (they made a big deal of it in the XS reveal) and then deny warranty.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
profets Avatar
47 months ago
Many of these lawsuits are rather frivolous, but the water resistance aspect is interesting.

I believe other manufacturers do the same - they advertise certain water resistance, but then they can still deny warranty claim / repair if water sensor is tripped or water damage is found.

I’ve been burned myself for a repair on an iPhone where Apple claimed there was water damage but I know it had never been submersed or in water.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)