How Water Proof is Your iPhone?

There are many stories around about people dropping their very expensive iPhone into swimming pools, the sea and even toilets!  The first question is always about the survival of the iPhone after this dunking.  In most cases the answer will relate to the depth of the water and the amount of time the iPhone was in the water.

Water Proof iPhone or Water Resistant iPhone

It is important to note the difference between these two terms.  Water resistant means the object is not able to completely withstand water penetration, and water proof means the object is impervious to water.  In many ways these two terms are about marketing and legal aspects. The difference between the two terms could be the difference between you getting a free replacement or not.  Unless you have taken out an accidental damage insurance policy and your iPhone stops working due to damage from water, you will be paying for the replacement.

International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

A group known as the International Electrotechnical Commission, provides ratings for mobile devices which are designed to be dust proof and/or water proof.  The rating has ‘IP’ (ingress protection) and is followed by a number with two digits.  The first digit indicates the level of protection from dust, and the second refers to the level of protection from water.  iPhones 7 and 8 from last year and this year, as well as the iPhone X, have a rating of IP67.

What does IP67 mean?

The ‘6’ is the highest rating possible and relates to the phone and dust.  The second number, ‘7’, is two points below the highest, which is ‘9’.  A ‘7’ isn’t so bad and basically means the device should be okay after up to one minute under water – further conditions, such as water pressure will also impact any possible damage.  So, if the rating is ‘7’, the iPhone could be in water up to one metre deep for 30 minutes and still be OK.

Apple Support

The Apple Support web page further explains these ratings.  It notes that the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were tested under laboratory conditions under the specific IEC standard of 60529.  The site also points out that normal wear might decrease the resistance to water, and dust.  It also states that the warranty does not cover liquid damage.  It is important to note the point about resistance decreasing as time passes.

If your iPhone is in contact with water – some advice

Don’t take your iPhone with you when swimming or bathing.  Don’t take it with you into the shower, or a sauna or steam room.  Don’t deliberately submerge your iPhone into water.  Make sure your phone doesn’t get caught up in the washing.  Check your pockets before putting the into the washing machine. 

If your iPhone does get wet….

If your iPhone does get wet, and won’t power on, what is the advice from Apple?  The first thing to do is to wipe the device with a soft lint-free cloth.  Before you open the SIM tray make sure the phone is dry.  Tap your phone gently against your hand with the Lightning Connector (at the bottom of the phone), facing downward, to dry and remove any excess liquid.  You could use a fan blowing cool air into the Lightning Connector to speed up the process of drying.  Don’t use heat, and don’t insert cotton buds or paper towel into the Connector.  Don’t plug in a cable while the phone is still wet.  Don’t power it up just to see if it works. Once you think it is dry, wait another 5 hours before attempting to turn it on or to charge it.

One Last Tip

One of the best drying agents for reaching those hard to get to places is raw rice.  Place the phone in a container of uncooked rice, so the rice completely covers the phone.  Allow it to sit like this for at least one day, so the rice can soak up any internal moisture.  After a day or two, take it out and try the power button.

Other Protection

One other option is a water proof case.  They make the phone more bulky but will provide the best possible protection against water damage.

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