Waterproof an iPhone on a Budget with a Zip Lock Bag

Feb 8, 2010 - 15 Comments

Did you know that you can put an iPhone inside a plastic bag and still use the touchscreen? Yes, that’s right, stick your iPhone in an airtight ziplock bag, and you’ll have an instant and amazingly cheap waterproof case for your iPhone. Well, waterproof may be a bit aggressive, and perhaps water resistant is a better term assuming you seal it off completely and are fairly delicate with it, but considering the extremely cheap price it’s hard to beat if you’re in a pinch and need some quick splash protection for the iPhone, whether that’s because you’re poking around in the kitchen or bathtub or simply because you’re spending a day at the beach.

waterproof iphone

It really is just a matter of putting the iPhone into a zip locked plastic bag that is mostly air and water tight. That’s fairly easy to check by squeezing the bag and seeing if the air escapes or bubbles up like it should.

Now, imagine the possibilities with a (semi) waterproof iPhone: Paint your house without painting your iPhone! Browse the web from the bath! Update Facebook in the pouring rain! Text your friends from the depths of the seas! Well, maybe not that extreme, but you get the point, though for the latter cases of swimming or diving with an iPhone there are actually true waterproof cases for iOS devices available if you don’t mind springing some serious cash on them.

While this may seem like a rather funny tip, but it’s actually really useful and I’ve already found myself using it a few times around the house for both the iPad and iPhone. Obviously you should make sure the seal on the ziplock bag is very strong, or else your iPhone will drown and end up with liquid damage. Don’t let that happen, but if it does, here’s how to save the iPhone from water damage.

The context of this tip originated in regards to cooking, which we have also recommended specifically for the iPad too as a way to keep it safe in the kitchen from splashes, ingredients, and dirty hands:

iPad in a zip lock bag

So, First & 20 says the same trick works with the iPhone in a zippy locked baggy too, and why wouldn’t it? Give it a go, it’s certainly much cheaper than a true waterproof enclosure!

Heads up to First & 20 for the iPhone picture, and to Eliza V for iPad.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Co says:

    Yep, been doing this exact thing because I’m constantly fumbling with my iphone on the job site and have lost a couple to a large puddle…

  2. Jimmy says:

    Not true. If the bag is truly airight it shouldn’t let water in. Period. Condensation will only happen if there is already air in the bag, and will happen in cold environments, not warm ones.

  3. John Smith says:

    Do NOT trust zip lock bags with your phone. I’ve tried numerous attempts to use zip lock bags to keep misc things (paper money, medicine, keys with alarm ect) Even using 3 or 4 bags, being very care, and mixed results, sometimes it was okay, mostly it failed.

    I’ve also tried may different waterproof cases and waterproof phone pouches. Tested each 3 times, all cases failed with in 2 attemps, most pouches failed at least once in 3 attempts…

    The ONLY waterproof pouch I found that the opening ALWAYS remained water and air tight, were waterproof pouches that were big enough for 2 or 3 phones, (even 4 or 5!). these pouches are kinda like industrial strengh zip lock on steriods.

    Sorry, I do not know the name, and found many sellers. They have a waist strap (not lanyard), the close with a double or triple zip lock style, plus after zipping all the closers, the top rolls up, providing that extra security they will not accident open.

    2 issues though, One of which you can’t really use your phone when it’s inside. Unless you find a perfectly clear bag, but I havent. And the other issue, some of these bags, after using them multiple times, the side seem tends to split. Making the pouches useless.

    BUT, if you are carefull, and don’t rough around with these bags, and pay attention to the closing of the opening, this are by far the best water protection. personally, I like using 2 of them at once, just in case the seam does split.

    AND, since I can not use the phone, I shut it off, just in case water does get in. If water gets in, As long as I keep the phone OFF, and use bag of rice trick for a couple days, it should be fine. (Unless you have a water proof phone, if your phone does get submerged in water, shut it off asap. Do not fall in temptation to “see if it still works” before it completely dries out.)

    Just my 2 cents…

    • Paul says:

      Yea a ziplock bag is helpful for protecting against splashes but it is not waterproof, it’s more like splash and gunk resistant. Good for kitchen use, put an iPhone or iPad in a ziplock bag and use it while you cook with dirty hands, etc.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Touch ID works with bag. Not EXACTLY waterproof, but prevents the sand from getting in.

  5. clara says:

    Thus does nit completely work. Just today I was I the bath and I had my iPhone 6 in a ziploc bag and I accidentally dropped it in the water and it messed up the speakers and it randomly huggers or lowers the volumes. Nite that I made sure it was completely sealed

  6. Austin says:

    I did this with my phone in the shower to listen to music and when I opened the bag there was tons of moisture inside and now my speakers don’t work. The phone is currently sitting in a bag of rice and I’m crossing my fingers. If you are planning on doing this you need to use at least 2 bags, but as for me I’m never using this method again.

    • Gubbo says:

      Condensation develops inside plastic from hot water and hot air.

      No amount of plastic is going to prevent condensation from developing from a hot shower. Put an air filled plastic bag in the shower and it will condensate on the inside as well. Putting an iPhone in a plastic bag is sufficient for preventing damage from splashes and other water contact, but humidity and heat and steam will condensate on any plastic, even a plastic case built for waterproofing an iPhone.

      If you want to listen to music in the shower, get a waterproof Bluetooth speaker set.

  7. Sacha says:

    Thanks for the tip. If you want to make an iPhone completely waterproof, just put it in a small zip lock bag, then put that zip lock bag in a bigger one and finally put that one in a bigger one. Then you have three layers of protection.

  8. Drestyk says:

    Im doing this trick in the bag right now. I knew about it before but last time when I was using it the bag broke and just a little water came in. If you get really strong bags they probably won’t rip (I used ziplocks small bag so it fits perfectly to the iPhone) but today I true rapping in plastick rap and then put the bag for extra protection, with both I then on you can still use the touchscreen. I would not trust my phone to actually go directly in the water but if it does i think you will be ok

  9. Ivan says:

    Errr, actually, it would loose signal underwater.

  10. RCB says:

    Works great at Six Flags. Never had any moisture get in after drenching rides like Thunder River, Log Flume, etc.

  11. DistortedLoop says:

    I’ve been putting electronics in ziplock bags for years as a quick and dirty water-RESISTANT protection when going into wet environments or out in the rain. I’ve even taken phones in the shower stall that way, but I’m not sure I would trust my $500 iPhone’s life to a $0.01 plastic baggie in terms of intentionally submersing it in water for photos. Too risky that cheap plastic might rip or the ziplock seal isn’t quite as sealed as you thought. I wouldn’t call this method water-PROOFING.

  12. inket says:

    Underwater pictures ? ^^

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