Is water-resistant and waterproof the same when we talk about smartphones?


When it comes to smartphones, we often read that they are water-resistant. The question now is – is that the same as waterproof and if it isn’t what is the difference between these two terms?

The most common problems for smartphones is water damage. Most of us have experienced it and for that reason having a phone that is protected from accidental water spills is more than desirable.  Technically speaking, a water-resistant device is able to resist the water penetration when we accidentally spill water or any other liquid on it. However, such devices are not meant to be used underwater.

On the other hand, when a device is waterproof it means that you can submerge it into the water and there will be no damage at all because the water can’t enter inside the device.

However, in the last few years, these two terms have been used so often that most people today don’t really know the difference. But now when you read that your new phone is water-resistant it is good to know what you can expect if sudden spills happen.

IP Rating – What does it mean?

When you buy a new smartphone, you can notice in the specs that it is labelled as IP67 or IP68. This signifies its resistance to solid materials and liquids. IP in this case according to Audio Reputation stands for Ingress Protection or International Protection and the two numbers after that have a specific meaning as well. The first digit represents the protection from solid materials like dust and similar and it is good to know that the higher the number is, the protection is better.

For example, if the first number is 6, it means that your smartphone is completely protected from dust. This is very important if you are into hiking or mountain biking or anything that gets you in contact with dust.

The second digit represents the protection from liquids and the number range, in this case, starts at 0 and goes up to 9. Once again, the higher, the better.

So, can you swim with your phone?

Let’s say you have an iPhone XR. Based on the specifications it is water-resistant and it is rated at IP67. Based on its IP rating we can see that it is completely dust-proof and that it can be submerged into 1-meter deep water for about half an hour.

The latest iPhone 11 and many Samsung smartphones are rated at IP68. This practically means that they are completely dust-proof as well, and they can be submerged for half an hour in 1 to 3 meters deep water.

Well, even though your smartphone is rated at IP68 and it takes only a few seconds to take a photo, it is not recommended to do this intentionally to take underwater pictures. The main reason for this is that these tests where a certain device gets its IP rating are performed in a very controlled environment. The smartphones are usually put into standby mode and they aren’t used during the tests.

The IP rating, we have mentioned before, IP67 and IP68 practically mean that if someone pushes you into the pool or you accidentally drop it into the water, there are great chances that your phone won’t be damaged. Now when you know what the IP ratings on your smartphone mean, you don’t have to worry too much the next time you go fishing or by the pool.