Things to know about IP ratings before your phone gets wet

It’s easy to give a smartphone slips out of your grasp and into unexpected places—whether it’s a dip in the toilet or a journey behind the couch to where only the dust bunnies roam ladder. But how durable is your device? Its Ingress Protection rating should give you some clues. First released in 1976, IP ratings were developed by International Electrotechnical Commission and aims to highlight how dust and water resistant the device is.

IP ratings are a useful standard for comparing a new smartphone’s general resistance to destructive forces. However, keep in mind that IP rating tests are performed in a lab environment on brand new devices. So protection can be significantly reduced if you throw your phone around and scratch it or buy a refurbished device. If you are reading this article because your smartphone is currently wet, take a look WIRED’s guide to saving a wet phone before throwing it into any bag of dry rice.

What is IP rating?

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

After the first two letters of the rating, the next letter is the level of protection against dust and external objects. This scale goes from 0 to 6. According to IEC Assessment GuideNumber 5 means “dust protected” and number 6 means “dust tight”.

The last letter in the IP rating represents water resistance, and this scale ranges from 0 to 9. A smartphone scoring 7 can be completely submerged in shallow water for a short period of time. Devices with a rating of 8 are certified to go several meters deeper than devices with a rating of 7, although the increase in depth may vary. For example, although the iPhone 11 and iPhone 15 Both are rated IP68, the maximum depth for the iPhone 11 is 2 meters and 6 meters for the iPhone 15. The 9 rating for water resistance can largely be ignored, as it relates to resistance to currents. hot, high-pressure water, not immersion.

Continuing to take the iPhone 15 as an example, its IP68 rating means the phone is dustproof and can be submerged in water. Look Apple websitegiven its IP rating, the iPhone 15 can be submerged up to 6 meters deep for up to half an hour.

If the IP rating uses “X”, it means the device is rated waterproof or dustproof, but not both. Companies choose to participate in the rating process and it is important to understand that X is not a failing rating, it is just no rating.

How water and dust resistant is my smartphone?

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

As far as Apple devices go, iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, X, XR, second generation SE and third generation SE all achieve an IP67 rating. For comparison, all newer models are rated IP68. Of Apple’s IP68 rated options, older options are only rated for a maximum depth of 2 meters. You can submerge more recent releases to a depth of up to 6 meters.


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