Apple fined $12M by Italy over iPhone water-resistance claims

Italy's national competition authority says some iPhones aren't as water-resistant as Apple claims.

Sareena Dayaram Senior Editor
Sareena is a senior editor for CNET covering the mobile beat including device reviews. She is a seasoned multimedia journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience producing stories for television and digital publications across Asia's financial capitals including Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. Prior to CNET, Sareena worked at CNN as a news writer and Reuters as a producer.
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Italy has fined Apple 10 million euros (about $12 million) over "aggressive and misleading" business practices surrounding the iPhone's water-resistance, according to the country's national competition authority.

In a statement published on Monday, the Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato said Apple has marketed several of its iPhones as water-resistant for years, but has failed to clarify that it only applied under certain circumstances. The AGCM says that some iPhone models did not prove to be water-resistant for 30 minutes at a depth of up to 4 meters (13 feet) depending on the model, as Apple has advertised. Those claims, it said, only held up in lab-controlled tests with pure water as opposed to real-world conditions. 

Apple's claims span several generations, including the iPhone 8 and iPhone 11 lines, according to AGCM. The Italian regulator also labelled Apple's practice of not covering water damage of iPhones under warranty as "aggressive."

Read more: iPhone 12 water test: We tested it way beyond the claim

Watch this: iPhone 11 extreme water test

Apple could not immediately be reached for comment, but the company has long advised against swimming and bathing with its iPhones in its fine print and support pages

This is not the first time Apple has fallen afoul with the Italian watchdog. In 2018, Apple was hit with a 5-million euro fine for releasing software updates that "significantly reduced" the performance of its iPhones.