The new water resistant iPhones

Apple launched the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models this week, the first iPhones claiming to be “water resistant”, joining a handful of other handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S7. But how much water can they take?

Electronic devices are rated with an International Protection Marking, or IP Code, which is made up of two numbers. The first pertains to how resistant the device is to dust, while the second is how resistant it is to water ingress. The code is typically written as IP**, using the following ratings.

For dust:

4 = particles great than 1mm in width

5 = prevention of dust interfering with satisfactory operation

6 = no ingress of dust at all for at least eight hours

For water:

4 = splashing water won’t harm the device

5 = protection from water jets from a 6.3mm nozzle

6 = protection from more powerful water jets from a 12.5mm nozzle (6K is higher pressure rated)

7 = protection from immersion in up to 1m of fresh water (typically for 30 minutes)

8 = protection from immersion in at least 1m fresh water (typically 1.5m for 30 minutes)

9K = protection from close-range high pressure water jets

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are rated IP67, which means they can be exposed to dust for 8 hours and not ingress any, and can be immersed in 1m of fresh water for up to half an hour. To compare other smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S7 is IP68 rated, so slightly better in this regard than the new iPhones.

Pressure is another factor. Jumping in a swimming pool, for example, means you’re impacting the water at a high speed, which is more pressure than simply submerging a phone. The Apple Watch, on the other hand, is suitable for swimming – it’s waterproof to up to 50m, rather than water resistant.

When it comes to warranty, it gets a little tricky. While some manufactures will cover water damage, Apple nor Samsung cover water damage under their warranties. While it’s marketed as water resistant, if it does get badly damaged, it’s seen as your fault.