If a smartphone gets wet, this means certain death in electronic waste for most devices. But how do consumers recognize waterproof mobile phones, what do the different IP certifications mean and what should be considered when the iPhone

Water has always been the nemesis of sensitive electronics such as those installed in smartphones or cell phones. If the inside of the small computer came into contact with the element, it was their death sentence – at least when the electronics were switched on. Apple, Samsung

The international protection standard “International Protection” IP for short reveals how waterproof these shells really are. One thing in advance: Of course, no waterproof smartphone will survive extensive and deep dives. In the swimming pool, pool, sea and lake you never want to go swimming with your smartphone without a protective cover. Let’s get back to IP certification.

IP certification: what do the two numbers mean?

It results from two digits of the DIN EN 60529 standard for foreign bodies and liquids. A classic example is the IP69 certification. Each number has its own meaning: the first indicates how a device is protected against foreign objects (e.g. dust or dirt particles) and touch, and the second how resistant it is to liquids.

In the specific example of IP69, the “6” means that no dust can penetrate the smartphone or mobile phone. In addition, there is complete protection of the interior against contact. The engineers who worked out the protective standard mean that such “contact” means, for example, penetrating the interior with a small wire.

As explained, the second digit provides information on how well a smartphone or mobile phone is protected against liquids. The “9” indicates that a technical device is protected against a targeted jet of water, such as from a high-pressure cleaner. If the device were IP68 certified, the “8” indicates to consumers that the smartphone or cell phone survived being submerged at a depth of up to 1.5 meters for a maximum of 30 minutes.

A technical device can be IP68 and IP69 certified at the same time – but it doesn’t have to be. The table below provides an overview of which number means what.

That’s how waterproof iPhones are

For premium smartphones in 2021, an IP68 certificate is de rigueur. iPhones are no exception. The iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12, and iPhone 12 Mini are all IP68 waterproof and can survive at depths of up to six meters for up to 30 minutes, according to Apple.

The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are also waterproof according to IP68. According to the manufacturer, however, they only survive a depth of four meters for up to 30 minutes. The iPhone 11, which can only withstand two meters for 30 minutes, is a little weaker. The same applies to iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

The cheaper iPhone SE, on the other hand, is “only” certified according to IP67. The same applies to iPhone XR, iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. They survive at a depth of one meter for up to 30 minutes.

This is how waterproof the top models from Samsung are

Competitor Samsung is in no way inferior to Apple in terms of waterproofness. The new generation of its Galaxy S smartphones are all IP68 certified. These include Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra. And even the previous models offer certified protection against liquids.

Namely, these devices are the Galaxy Note 20, Note 20 Ultra and Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, S20 Ultra and S20 FE. And even their predecessors Galaxy Note10, Note10 Plus and Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10 Plus are IP68 certified. Probably the most robust smartphone from the South Koreans is the Samsung XCover Pro, which is even IP69 certified.

The folding smartphones from Samsung are an exception. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 does not offer certified protection against liquids. You want to keep it away from water in any form.

Underwater photography with the smartphone?

No matter how nice the certified water protection of a smartphone may be, none of the devices are suitable for underwater photography. An additional protective cover is required for this. One thing should be said in advance about underwater photography with a smartphone: Compared to a compact camera, the sensor of a smartphone camera is many times smaller. And that means that smartphones usually need a lot of light to take nice pictures. And light is known to be scarce underwater.

The market for cheap protective covers for mobile phones is relatively large. However, the cases are more of an additional protection when you are on the go or want to snap underwater pictures in the pool. Most of the models among them are only sufficient for a depth of up to 15 meters. They are therefore not suitable for long and deeper dives. If you want to take underwater pictures of extensive dives with your smartphone, you have to bring out the bigger guns and dig deeper into your pockets. A suitable protective cover for the endeavor would be the Weefine Smart Housing One Size. However, it is not enough with her alone.

The manufacturer offers other underwater photo and video equipment such as special brackets, lenses and lights. Nice: The housing communicates with the smartphone via Bluetooth. However, a special app is required for this. In addition, not all smartphones fit in the Weefine Smart Housing. The equipment isn’t cheap either: Underwater photographers quickly spend more than 1000 euros with a case, rig, lenses and light. Every diver has to decide for himself whether such an investment for the smartphone makes sense at all. Especially when you consider that there are action cams with waterproof housings that are significantly cheaper.

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Sources: Computerbild.de; Tauchen.de