Whether you’re an adventurous sporty type person that regularly engages in aquatic activities or an unlucky soul prone to accidents, having a waterproof phone is important.
And If you’ve shopped for a phone or mobile device, undoubtedly you’ve noticed specs that show off fancy terms IP67 or IP68 waterproofing?
Brands like Samsung, LG, and Sony include water resistance, dust proofing, and other protective specs, a feature often showcased in articles with a phone and sometimes its owner taking a dip in a pool or lake, then emerging wet but unharmed.
Most of these mentioned brands even advertise by showing off fancy terms like IP67 or IP68 waterproofing. But how can you determine the mystery behind these ratings and which waterproof phone is good enough for you?
Let’s take a look.
IP67 vs IP68 Waterproof Meaning?
In order to understand what IP67 and IP68 stand for, you need to first learn what IP is and why it was established as a recognized safety standard.
What is IP Rating and who established it?
IP (stands for Ingress Protection) Ratings was established by the International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) to define the ability of electronic devices to withstand freshwater as well as harsh materials such as dust, sand, and soil.
The IP rating system, in essence, is a ruggedness scale, with a numbering system that indicates resilience to the elements.
The IP Code, or Ingress Security Code, IEC standard 60529, establishes these guidelines. Each classification necessitates a company’s product to be built to a standard established by the authority and then submitted for inspection.
The technical specifications vary depending on the target code.
Most manufacturers choose not to submit their products for this process as they have to pay for the classification/tests which need to be done.
Apart from smartphones, an IP ranking can also be found on most wearables and headphones. The latter, on the other hand, tends to stick to the lower IPX4/7 score, which only guarantees mild sweat and splash resistance.
Difference between IP68 vs IP67 Codes
To start with, there is a clear distinction between being waterproof and being water-resistant.
Waterproof means that the device is impervious to water regardless of how long it is submerged, while water-resistant means that a product can keep water out to some extent but not completely.
So if someone says their device is waterproof its means they’re lying (or they have not read this article yet).
The First Number – Solids
The first number in the IP rating refers to Solids. This number can range from 1 to 6, with the lower end of the spectrum offering either little to no protection.
For better understanding, you can refer to the table below which defines each rating.
|IP Code||Solid Protection|
|1||Provides 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|
|2||Provides protection from fingers or similar objects|
|3||Provides protection from tools, thick wires, or similar objects|
|4||Provides protection from most wires, screws, or similar objects|
|5||Provides partial protection from contact with harmful dust|
|6||Provides full protection from contact with harmful dust|
So in our case, both IP67 and IP68 protect the device from harmful dust
The Second Number – Liquids
While the first digit in the IEC IP rating system indicated protection against solids, the second digit indicates its water resistance.
Like solid protection, the scale begins at 1 which offers little to no protection and goes up to 9. A device with a rating of 7 on the liquids IEC IP rating system indicates that a device should be suitable for immersion in up to a meter of water, or 3.3 feet, for up to a half-hour.
A rating of eight provides protection from immersion in more than a meter.
For more understanding of this subject, you can refer to the table below:
|IP Code||Liquid Protection|
|1||Provides protection against vertically dripping water|
|2||Provides protection against vertically dripping water when the device is tilted at an angle up to 15 degrees.|
|3||Provides protection against direct sprays of water when the device is tilted at an angle up to 60 degrees.|
|4||Provides protection from sprays and splashing of water in all directions.|
|5||Provides protection from low-pressure water projected from a nozzle with a 6.3mm diameter opening in any direction.|
|6||Provides protection from water projected in powerful jets from a nozzle with a 12.5mm diameter opening in any direction.|
|7||Provides protection when immersed in water with a depth of up to 1 meter (or 3.3 feet) for up to 30 mins.|
|8||Provides protection when immersed in water with a depth of more than 1 meter (manufacturer must specify exact depth).|
|9||Provides protection against close-range high pressure, high-temperature spray downs.|
Do note that not all liquids are the same.
The International Electro-technical Commission has tested its ratings for freshwater. That means it doesn’t guarantee protection from submersion in other liquids – saltwater, beer, soda, and coffee.
So can your IP67 or IP68-rated device withstand a dunk in a frothy pint glass or morning coffee?
Theoretically yes, the device should be functional but with a hint of the pungent smell. Nevertheless, the IEC doesn’t guarantee water-resistance against anything but freshwater.
The IEC IP Scale: Putting it Together
Now that we have complete knowledge of the IP rating system, we can finally decipher the meaning behind these two codes.
So based on the above table, we can understand that an IP67 device can sustain being dropped into the water up to a meter deep for about 30 minutes and an IP68 device can offer protection in over a meter of water for a manufacturer-specified time and with a rating of 6 on the scale of the solid, both IP67 and IP68 devices protect themselves against dust.
As previously mentioned, there is a major difference between waterproofing and water resistance, and all these IP code ratings are assigned as per the device’s protection against water resistance and not waterproofing.
IP67 vs IP68: What Do I Choose?
If you’re confused between an IP67 and IP68 device, you’ll be happy to know that both devices will carry full dust resistance.
An IP67 device can remain safe up to 1m of water for 30 minutes.
For an IP68-rated gadget, in addition to dust resistance, you will also get the benefit of full immersion in over 1 meter of water for a device manufacturer-specified time.
Essentially, the difference between the two comes down to water exposure.
Top phones based on water-resistance rating
- iPhone 12 Pro Max – Water Resistance Rating: IP68
- iPhone 12 – Water Resistance Rating: IP68
- iPhone 11 – Water Resistance Rating: IP68
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra – Water Resistance Rating: IP68
- Samsung Galaxy S20 FE – Water Resistance Rating: IP68
- OnePlus 8 Pro – Water Resistance Rating: IP68
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra – Water Resistance Rating: IP68
- Samsung Galaxy S21 – Water Resistance Rating: IP68
- Google Pixel 5 – Water Resistance Rating: IP68
- iPhone SE (2nd Gen) – Water Resistance Rating: IP67
Things to remember
- The majority of resistance testing is done in freshwater. Unless the manufacturer specifically states otherwise, devices are not guaranteed to withstand salt water or any other liquids.
- Before submerging your device, make sure all flaps (such as those for charging ports) are closed.
- Unless the manufacturer specifies otherwise, you should avoid pressing buttons on the device while it is submerged. This could allow water to get into the device’s casing and cause damage.
- Make sure the device is completely dry before charging.
- Before taking a phone, smartwatch, or fitness tracker into the shower or the pool, always check the manufacturer’s website.
Can IP67 Be Used For Swimming?
Long answer short, it’s not recommended. IP67 devices are fully protected from any dust ingress and immersion between 15 centimeters and 1 meter in depth which means that they can be used in the rain, while having a shower or while kayaking.
What Is The Highest IP Waterproof Rating?
The highest IP Rating is IP69. This rating is applied on devices that are required to be sanitized and offers protection against ingress of dust and high temperature, high pressure water.
What Does The ‘X’ Stand For?
Occasionally you may come across a rating like IPX7 or IPX8, this basically means that there’s not much data to determine the protection rating. Those devices that have an X-rating will surely offer water-resistance of up to 1meter and dust protection.
With the understanding of the IP code rating system, we can easily navigate and help ourselves understand all the marketing terminology like water-resistant, waterproof, dust-proof, and shock-proof and know which is true.
Sony, for example, released promotional photos in 2015 showing a new IP68-certified Xperia handset being used to take a photo underwater. After numerous reports of damage, it controversially changed its stance, warning buyers not to use the device underwater.
A thorough understanding of IP codes aids in comprehending a device’s rugged capabilities and limitations, as well as demystifying marketing terms and advertisements depicting underwater phone photography.
Daniel Moore is the Founder & Editor-in-chief of Private-Spy, an experienced hacker, lecturer and an all-round fun guy! A writer by day and reader by night, he holds a Master’s degree in Computer applications and believes that privacy is our god given right. Daniel has been known to have published in-depth guides and tutorials that have been used by millions of people across the world.