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Water-resistant vs. waterproof: What's the difference when it comes to phones?

Woman using waterproof phone in pool

Waterproof and water-resistant phones have become commonplace, which is good news for anyone who's ever spilled a glass of water on their device or accidentally dropped it in a pool. But just how waterproof is a waterproof phone, and how is a waterproof device different from a water-resistant device?

Here at Asurion, we help you get the most out of your tech, whether it's troubleshooting an iPad® that won't update or educating you about tablets and viruses. Here's our guide to waterproof phones and their water-resistant counterparts.

What is a waterproof phone?

A waterproof phone will still work even after being completely submerged in water—for a set period of time.

What is a water-resistant phone?

A water-resistant phone protects against a few drops or sprays of water, but it probably won't survive a dip in the tub.

How much water can my phone withstand?

A good way to tell how much water your phone can withstand is its Ingress Protection (IP) rating. This may sound technical, but it's actually simple. Your phone's IP rating refers to how well it keeps out dirt, dust, and liquid. The rating consists of the letters “IP" followed by two digits:

  • The first number refers to resistance against solids, like dust. It's on a scale of 0 (lowest) to 6 (highest).
  • The second number rates liquid protection on a scale of 0 (lowest) to 9 (highest).

If a phone purports to be waterproof, it should have at least a 7 rating for water resistance—anything lower holds up against splashes and sprays but can't withstand immersion. The higher both numbers are, the more durable the phone is. A phone with no IP rating, or one that's been treated with water-repellent coating, probably won't work after being submerged in water.

You can find your phone's IP rating in the instruction manual or on the manufacturer's website.

Is my phone waterproof?

Here are the IP ratings for a variety of popular phones:

IP68

Phones with an IP68 rating offer water protection up to at least 3 feet. However, some manufacturers—including Apple®—use IP68 to mean more than twice as much water protection. Here are some examples:

  • iPhone® 13 series (max depth of 19.7 feet up to 30 minutes)
  • iPhone 12 series (max depth of 19.7 feet up to 30 minutes)
  • iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max (max depth of 13.1 feet up to 30 minutes)
  • iPhone 11, XS and XS Max (max depth of 6.6 feet up to 30 minutes)
  • Samsung Galaxy® S22 series (max 5 feet of fresh water up to 30 minutes)
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 5G, S21+ 5G, S21 Ultra 5G and S21 FE (max 5 feet of freshwater for 30 minutes)
  • Google Pixel™ 6 series (max depth of 5 feet of freshwater for 30 minutes)
  • OnePlus™ 10 Pro — only on U.S. T-Mobile version (max depth of 5 feet for 30 minutes)
  • Oppo® Find X5 Pro

IP67

Phones with an IP67 rating are protected if submerged in 3.3 feet of water for 30 minutes. Here are some examples:

  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
  • Google Pixel 5a (max depth of 3.3 feet for 30 minutes)
  • Samsung® S5 Active, A52 5G, and A53 5G

IPX8

Phones with an IPX8 rating are protected against up to 5 feet of freshwater for 30 minutes, but they are not dust-resistant.

  • Galaxy Z Fold3 and Z Flip3

The best waterproof phone cases

If you're boating, snorkeling, or planning to (purposefully) submerge your phone underwater, give it an added layer of protection with a waterproof phone case.

Best phone case for underwater photography

For deep-water shooting with an iPhone, try the Catalyst® Waterproof Case, which provides up to 33 feet of underwater protection and 6.6 feet of impact protection.

The Spidercase® Waterproof Case is a more affordable option, offering protection up to 6.6 feet for 30 minutes. The ProShot Waterproof iPhone case protects your phone up to 50 feet deep.

The Willbox Professional Diving Case is compatible with iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, and works at up to 50 feet deep. The Ghostek® Nautical waterproof case is another option for the Samsung Galaxy S21 series, offering protection up to 20 feet for 1 hour. For the Google Pixel 5, try the Lanheim IP68 waterproof case, which provides protection up to 6 feet for up to 1 hour.

The Vansky® Floatable Waterproof Case is a great pick that fits any phone on the market up to 6.5 inches, offering protection down to 100 feet for up to 30 minutes.

Best phone case for water sports

In addition to protecting phones down to 100 feet underwater, the Vansky Floatable Waterproof Case, mentioned above, also floats, making it a reliable and affordable option for rafting, boating and other water sports. The CaliCase® Universal Waterproof Pouch accommodates all phones up to 6.1 inches.

Protect your phone

For more than 25 years, Asurion has helped 300 million customers protect, connect, and enjoy the tech they love most. And smartphones are no exception. Your life is on your device, make sure it’s protected. Learn more about Asurion phone insurance plans today.


*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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