Home Tech What you should know about IP ratings before your phone gets wet

What you should know about IP ratings before your phone gets wet

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What you should know about IP ratings before your phone gets wet

it’s easy for a smartphone slipping out of your hands and ending up in unexpected places, whether it’s a quick dip in the toilet or a trip behind the couch to where only lint wanders. But how resistant is your device? Your Ingress Protection rating will give you some clues. First released in 1976, IP ratings were developed by International Electrotechnical Commission and are intended to highlight a device’s level of dust and water resistance.

IP ratings are a useful standard for comparing the overall resistance of new smartphones to destructive forces. However, please note that IP rating testing is performed in laboratory environments on new devices. Therefore, the protections could be significantly decreased if you throw your phone and scratch it or buy a refurbished device. If you’re reading this article because your smartphone is soaked, check out WIRED’s guide to storing wet phones before throwing them into any bags of dry rice.

What are IP ratings?

In 2024, one of the most common IP ratings for smartphones is IP68. Let’s analyze it.

After the first two letters of the rating, the next character is the level of resistance to dust and outside objects. This scale goes from 0 to 6. Depending on the IEC Classification Guidea 5 means “dust-protected” and a 6 means “dust-tight.”

The last character in the IP rating indicates water resistance, and this scale goes from 0 to 9. A smartphone that scores a 7 can be completely submerged in shallow water for a short period of time. Devices with a rating of 8 are certified to go a few meters deeper than those with a rating of 7, although the depth gain is variable. For example, although the iPhone 11 and iPhone 15 are IP68 rated, the maximum depth for the iPhone 11 is 2 meters and for the iPhone 15 it is 6 meters. The 9 rating for water protection can largely be ignored, as it is about resisting hot and high-pressure currents, not immersion.

Continuing to use the iPhone 15 as an example, its IP68 rating means the phone is sealed against dust and can be submerged in water. Looking at Apple’s websitewhich sets its IP ratings, the iPhone 15 can be submerged up to 6 meters deep for up to half an hour.

If an IP rating uses an “X”, that means the device is rated for water either dust protection, but not both. Companies choose to participate in the rating process and it is important to understand that X does not constitute a failed rating, but simply the absence of a rating.

How resistant is my smartphone to water and dust?

Curious about the level of water and dust resistance of your current device? Here are IP ratings for popular smartphones.

Until Apple devices Well, the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, By comparison, all newer models are IP68 rated. Within Apple’s IP68 rating options, older options are only rated for a maximum depth of 2 meters. You can submerge more recent releases up to 6 meters deep.

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