Understanding IP68 and IPX8 Ratings Is My Phone Waterproof?

Understanding IP68 and IPX8 Ratings Is My Phone Waterproof?

The Future of Water Resistance in Smartphones

Article by [Your Name]

Image Source

Water resistance was once a feature reserved for rugged phones designed for extreme conditions. However, the landscape has changed dramatically, and it is now common to find water resistance in mainstream smartphones. In 2023, popular devices like the iPhone 14 Pro, Galaxy S23 Ultra, and Google’s Pixel 7 Pro will all come equipped with some form of water resistance.

The value of water resistance in a phone becomes immediately apparent to anyone who has ever spilled a beverage on their device. It can mean the difference between a quick wipe with a napkin and an expensive trip to the store for repairs or a replacement. But not all phones are created equal when it comes to water resistance. Understanding the IP ratings used to measure water resistance is crucial in determining just how waterproof your phone really is.

Let’s break down the jargon and unravel the mystery surrounding IP67, IP68, and IPX8 ratings.

Decoding IP Ratings

IP, or ingress protection, ratings are a standard set forth by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), designed to classify the degrees of protection provided by the enclosures of electrical equipment.

The two numbers in an IP rating represent protection against solid objects and moisture, respectively. The first number ranges from 0 to 6 and indicates the level of protection against solid objects. The second number ranges from 0 to 8 and signifies the degree of protection against moisture or liquid.

Sometimes you may come across an IP rating with an X, like IPX8. This means that the device has been tested for water resistance but hasn’t received an official rating for protection against solid objects.

For example, the iPhone 14 Pro and Galaxy S23 Ultra both carry an IP68 rating, indicating protection against the ingress of dust and the ability to withstand being submerged in water. However, this is where things can get a bit confusing. While both phones meet the minimum requirement of withstanding submersion in at least 1 meter of water for 30 minutes, the fine print reveals variations in their water resistance capabilities. The Galaxy S23 Ultra can handle up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes, while the iPhone 14 Pro boasts an impressive 6-meter water resistance. So, always check the specifications to understand the full extent of your phone’s water-resistant capabilities.

Swimming with Your Phone?

As tempting as it may be to go swimming with your IP68-rated iPhone 14 Pro, it’s best to resist the urge. The IP rating is determined under controlled conditions and only accounts for still water, without factoring in additional pressure caused by movement or the presence of chemicals like chlorine found in pools. Saltwater can be particularly damaging to a phone’s internal components, including the charging port.

It’s important to remember that even the highest IP rating should be treated as a backup measure rather than an invitation to indulge in aquatic activities. While your phone is protected against accidental spills, it’s not designed for underwater adventures or high-pressure water environments. So, leave the snorkeling and high dive recordings to dedicated waterproof cameras.

Phones Without an IP Rating

Not all phones feature an IP rating, as obtaining the certification can be a time-consuming and costly process. Budget-focused models, like the Motorola Moto G50, may employ alternative methods, such as rubberized seals or water-repellent nano coatings, to provide a degree of water resistance without an official IP rating. While these phones may survive accidental exposure to water, it’s advisable to refrain from fully submerging them. Nevertheless, they should be perfectly safe to use during light rain showers.

If your phone makes no mention of water resistance or an IP rating, it’s best to assume that it lacks any form of water resistance. In such cases, take extra precautions around liquids to avoid any potential damage.

Understanding Protection Levels

To assist in deciphering IP ratings, here are charts outlining the protection levels set by the International Electrotechnical Commission:

Solid Protection Levels

IP Code Protection Object Size
0 No protection. N/A
1 Protection from contact with any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand. But no protection against deliberate contact with a body part, such as a finger. Less than 50mm
2 Protection from fingers or similar objects. Less than 12.5mm
3 Protection from tools, thick wires, or similar objects. Less than 2.5mm
4 Protection from most wires, screws, or similar objects. Less than 1mm
5 Partial protection from contact with harmful dust. N/A
6 Protection from contact with harmful dust. N/A

Moisture Protection Levels

IP Code Protection Test Duration Usage
0 No protection. N/A N/A
1 Protection against vertically dripping water. 10 mins Light rain
2 Protection against vertically dripping water when the device is tilted at an angle up to 15 degrees. 10 mins Light rain
3 Protection against direct sprays of water when the device is tilted at an angle up to 60 degrees. 5 mins Rain and spraying
4 Protection from sprays and splashing of water in all directions. 5 mins Rain, spraying, and splashing
5 Protection from low-pressure water projected from a nozzle with a 6.3mm diameter opening in any direction. 3 mins from a distance of 3 meters Rain, splashing, and direct contact with most kitchen and bathroom faucets
6 Protection from water projected in powerful jets from a nozzle with a 12.5mm diameter opening in any direction. 3 mins from a distance of 3 meters Rain, splashing, direct contact with kitchen and bathroom faucets, outdoor use in rough sea conditions
7 Protected from immersion in water with a depth of up to 1 meter (or 3.3 feet) for up to 30 mins. 30 mins Rain, splashing, and accidental submersion
8 Protected from immersion in water with a depth of more than 1 meter (manufacturer must specify exact depth). At least 30 mins Rain, splashing, and accidental submersion

Ultimately, water resistance in smartphones has become commonplace, allowing users greater peace of mind when it comes to accidental spills and rain showers. However, it’s vital to understand the limitations and avoid testing the limits of your phone’s water resistance feature.

This article serves as a guide to help consumers navigate the world of IP ratings and make informed decisions about their smartphone purchases. By understanding the IP codes and the capabilities of their devices, users can ensure they choose a phone that meets their individual needs in terms of water resistance.

Note: This article is updated periodically to reflect new devices and developments in water-resistant technology.