Water and smartphones should not come into contact too often. This is valid for waterproof phones as well.
Indeed, waterproof phones should not be affected if you use them outside while it’s raining or if you drop them in water but you quickly get them dried. Obviously, you should not keep your phone wet for too long to prevent water damage.
If your phone’s manufacturer says your smartphone is waterproof, don’t run your own tests to see how long your device can last in heavy rain. Also, please don’t drop it in the pool just to see if it still works after an hour.
So, how long can a waterproof phone stay underwater? Waterproof phones can stay underwater for a limited period of time. Usually, this time period ranges from 5 to 30 minutes. However, you should avoid getting your waterproof phone wet in the first place in order to avoid hardware damage.
If your phone is waterproof this doesn’t mean that you can get it wet without breaking it. Waterproofing is not a feature, it’s an emergency measure only.
Phone accidents happen a lot in swimming pools or at home. The idea is to manufacture a phone that can repel water rapidly when exposed to it so that you can quickly dry it off.
That doesn’t mean that your phone can stay underwater for days without suffering water damage. If you often use your phone near bodies of water, get a waterproof phone bag for extra protection.
What is IP67 and IP68 waterproof rating?
Most waterproof smartphones are rater whether as IP67 or IP68 devices. In laymen terms, this means that they are protected against the negative effects of immersion into water to depths between 15 cm and 1 meter.
However, we’re talking about a temporary immersion. Samsung underlines this fact on its support page:
With an IP68 rating, they are water-resistant to a maximum depth of 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes and are protected from dust.
Note that ‘up to 30 minutes’ part. If you keep your waterproof phone submerged for more than 30 minutes, you’ll break it completely and you’ll have to get a new one.
It is worth mentioning that this rating refers strictly to fresh water. It does not apply to other liquids of any kind (alcohol, salt water, soda, etc.).
Are waterproof phones really waterproof?
Keep in mind that there’s a difference between ‘waterproof’ and ‘water-resistant’. A waterproof device is completely impervious to water no matter how long you keep it submerged. On the other hand, a water-resistant device can stop water from entering it but only temporary.
There are no waterproof phones, although we like to describe them as such. There are only water-resistant phones that can’t remain submerged indefinitely.
Can I use my waterproof phone in seawater?
NO! Under no circumstance do not throw or drop your waterproof phone in seawater or ocean water for that matter. Absolutely no waterproof phone can go in the sea due to the high salt content that is specific to this type of water.
Now that we’ve seen smartphones aren’t technically waterproof, let’s see how long modern smartphones can stay underwater.
How long can phones stay submerged under water?
Most water resistant phones can stay under water for 30 minutes. However, keep in mind that wear and tear and reduce your device’s water resistance capabilities. Avoid submerging your phone under water in the first place to stay on the safe side.
- Sony Xperia XZ – 30 minutes
- Samsung Galaxy S8 – 30 minutes
- Lenovo Vibe P1M – 0 minutes, this phone is only splashproof
- HTC U11 – 30 minutes
- LG G6 – 30 minutes
- Motorola Moto G5 – 0 minutes. The phone is splashproof only, just like the Vibe P1M.
- HP Elite x3 – 30 minutes
- Google Pixel 4, 5 and 6 – 30 minutes
- iPhone 7 series – 30 minutes
- iPhone 12 series – 30 minutes
- iPhone 13 series – 30 minutes
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – 30 minutes
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Active- 30 minutes
- Samsung Galaxy S20 and S21 – 30 minutes
- Samsung Galaxy Ultra S21 – 30 minutes
Keep in mind that liquid damage is still not usually included in your manufacturer’s limited warranty. Although certain phone models can be submerged in water for a maximum of half an hour, this action may cause permanent damage to the device’s hardware components.
I strongly advise you against deliberately testing your phone’s water resistant capabilities. This may result in irreversible damage to your phone. As stated above, this is an emergency only feature that comes in handy when you accidentally spill water on your phone.
What should I do if I spilled water on my phone?
If your phone has been exposed to water, coffee or other liquids for that matter, power it off as soon as possible in order to prevent any short circuit issue. Use a lint-free cloth to dry off the device. Gently tap the phone in order to remove water droplets. Make sure water doesn’t drain in the ports.
Then, remove the battery as soon as possible. Simply open the case and take out the battery. Some phone models come with a built-in battery so you won’t be able to take it out.
Let the phone dry off for at least 6 hours before using it or charging it again. Ideally, let it dry overnight.
You can also rescue your phone by stuffing it in dry rice. Many confirm this strange method worked for them so it’s worth giving it a dry. I suggest you wrap the phone in a thin piece of paper (toilet paper works as well) in order to prevent rice mush from getting stuck in the ports.
Don’t blow dry your phone. Excessive head may cause further hardware damage.
Frequently asked questions about waterproof smartphones
1. Can I swim with my phone in the sea?
The short answer is ‘No’. Sea water is highly corrosive. So, even if you drop your phone in seawater for only a few seconds, it will get water damaged due to the high salt concentration. The same applies to pool water due to high chloride concentration.
2. Can I submerge my phone in alcohol?
Again, the answer is ‘No’. The IP67 and IP68 ratings apply only to clean water. Alcohol is acid and will leave marks on your LCD as well as activate the liquid damage indicator.
3. What is the liquid damage indicator on a phone?
As its name suggests, this is an indicator located in or on your phone’s battery that activates when you expose your device to liquid. Usually, the indicator turns red after contact with water.
Your phone manufacturer will check the LDI every time you bring the device to a repair center in order to check whether the problem was caused by water damage or something else.
Usually, your phone manufacturer won’t repair your device if the LDI has been activated as water damage voids the warranty.
4. What phones are waterproof?
There are no waterproof phones available on the market. ‘Waterproof’ means that the respective devices can stay submerged indefinitely without any water damage. There are only water-resistant or splash proof phones, although many users often refer to their phones as “waterproof”.
I hope this article answered all your questions related to waterproof phones. If you have any suggestions related to this post, let me know in the comments below.
Last updated in October 2021 to add notes about the latest phone models.