What do the IP Certification mean for Water & Dust Resistance / Waterproofing

by Chetan Bhawani 1

Sony IP55 IP58 Phone

The high-end smartphones from the different brands have been coming up with the water resistance, dust resistance and water proofing, but most of them are being wrongly marketed with just the names such as “Waterproof smartphone” when in the actual conditions, the phone might damage if it slips into a pool. There’s a lot to be learned about the resistance to the water pressure, the vents in the devices and the certification they are given based on the tests. Below we discuss about the different ratings that are given to the smartphones.

The ratings given for the weather resistance are termed by IP Codes, and IP is Ingress Protection. This is the degree of protection provided against the intrusion, dust, water or any such factor by the electronics. The rating is given in number with two digits, which are broken down in the following way:

  • Solid particle protection: Single numeral 0-6
  • Liquid ingress protection: Single numeral 0-9
  • Mechanical impact resistance: Single numeral 0-9

IP Rating Table

Number Solid Particle Protection Liquid Ingress Protection
0 No protection No protection
1 >50mm, any large surface of the body, i.e. back of the hand Dripping water – Vertical falling drops, 10 minutes
2 >12.5mm, Finger or similar objects Dripping water when tilted up to 15-degree
3 >2.5mm, Tools and thick wires Spraying water, at an angle of 60-degree from vertical – for 5 minutes, 0.7 liters per minute, Pressure of 80–100 kPa
4 >1mm, Most wires and screws Splashing of water, for 5 minutes, 10 liters per minute, Pressure of 80–100 kPa
5 Dust Protected – Ingress not totally prevented, but doesn’t interfere with the functioning, complete protection against contact Water jets – projected water by a nozzle (6.3mm), for at least 15 minutes, 100 liters per minute, Pressure of 100 kPa at a distance of 3 meters
6 Dust tight – No ingress of dust, and complete protection against contact Powerful water jets – projected water by a nozzle (12.5mm) for at least 3 minutes, 100 liters per minute, Pressure of 100 kPa at a distance of 3 meters
6K Same as above, but 75 liters per minute and Pressure of 1000 kPa at a distance of 3 meters
7 Ingress of water in harmful quality shall not be possible under water in defined conditions – 30 minutes, 1 meter depth from bottom, 15cm from above
8 Immersion beyond 1 meter, continuous immersion for up to 3 meter
9K Powerful high-temperature water jets, protected against close-range high pressure and high temperature spraying of water

Now, to explain the three standards which people are familiar to – IP55, IP58, IP67

IP 55 rating

The first 5 in this rating indicates about the solid, i.e. the device is dust protected and thus, the entry of dust although is not totally prevented, the quantity is not so much it would affect the satisfactory operation of the equipment, and complete protection against contact, i.e. dust proof.

The second 5 in it, is for the liquid ingress protection where it indicates that the equipment is protected against water jets. According to Wikipedia, Water projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects. The pressure of 30 kPa at distance of 3 meters is well resisted.

IP 58 rating

Here, the first 5 is the same as above, but the difference is about the 8, i.e. water ingress which is even more severe in this case. The device is tested and said to survive in full water immersion when we talk of IP58 rating. Here, the depth is generally up to 3 meters, and the time is not specified but when a device is able to resist the immersion easily, the time won’t matter much.

For the actual devices that are being included in this list, i.e. the Sony Xperia Z1 and Z2, the company had tested them at a depth of 1.5 meters for over 30 minutes, and the functioning wasn’t altered.

IP 67 rating

The 6 indicates that the device is able to prevent the ingress of dust in a better level. There is no ingress of dust, and there is complete protection against contact, i.e. makes it dust tight. The 7 indicates that the phone is able to resist the water immersion up to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes.

Samsung IP67 Phone

The Samsung Galaxy S5 was announced with the IP 67 rating, where the phone was being shown with the splashes, washes and being used on the beach, which easily shows that the phone can be played around with, in different weather conditions.

The rating given for each device, was initially put into idea by International Electrotechnical Commission, a standards organisation, but the actual details about the time and depth are given by the manufacturer of the device. For example, Sony tested its latest Xperia devices by immersing them in water at a depth of 1.5 meters and claimed the same, but this could have been even 2 meters or higher if the company tested and claimed the same.

How does the warranty work along with the Water and Dust resistance in the phones?

According to Sony, as said in their manual, they would take the internal hardware under warranty only if they do not detect any liquid inside the device, i.e. under the cover or ports. And the fact remains, all the water and dust resistance is applicable only if those ports for the USB and cards are closed down with the provided doors. These, if not sealed correctly, would be providing a direct entry for the liquid and it could lead to the voiding of warranty.

Smartphone Port Door Protection 1

Of course the brands won’t blame you directly because the ports are not the only source for the entry of dust or liquid, and this is tested by the service centers by pumping of air jets to test if there was some other source for the entry.

Are Apple phones water resistant?

No, for now, till the latest iPhone (5s) none of the Apple devices are water resistant and thus, you will have to take utmost care before trying to use the device in extreme weather conditions, i.e. even under the rain. Last year, when Apple was about to launch the iOS 7, there were rumors that a software update could make the phone resistant to water immersion but that was all just a spoof and a lot of users damaged their iPhone in both, software and hardware front.

Images taken from Sony.com & Samsung.com

Chetan Bhawani

Chetan Bhawani is a dentist, a tech blogger and a passionate writer in the field of technology. He keeps himself connected to the web for the entire day, of course except when he's dozed off! Add +Chetan Bhawani on Google Plus for more!

  • Joshua Akinsola

    Another phone not water resistant is the note 4 which is surprising since s5 had ip 67 and note 4 removed particle protection. But luckily for me i dont swim 😉