Ontrack video: Do you know the difference between waterproof and water-resistant when it comes to your phone?

11 April 2019 by Michael Nuncic

Ever wondered what the difference is between waterproof and water-resistant phones? In this video, our expert explains the difference and why you should still be careful around water with your expensive smartphone!


If you've lost data through a water-damaged phone, visit our website to see how we can help you recover your data.

Video transcript

Hi, I'm Mikey from Ontrack data recovery. In 2017 we saw around 16,000 mobile devices come through our data recovery labs throughout the whole year and around three-quarters of those phones that we saw were actually water damage and some of them were actually water resistant phones so in this video we're going to talk about what water resistant phones actually are and give you some advice on how to keep your data safe. Let's get started.

Okay, it's the first question... Is my phone actually waterproof? Well most modern smartphones are actually now classed water resistant not waterproof so being water resistant just means that something can prevent the intrusion of water dust or dirt but not completely and it's also not permanent so over time your phone's resistance to water or any other kind of particle is going to go down over time and especially if you smash the screen of your phone, for example, you drop it.

Okay, next question. How water-resistant is my phone? Water-resistant phones have what's called an IP rating and that's basically just a measure of how well it can keep our particles like water dust or dirt. As an example, the iPhone X is ip67 rated so that can keep out water for 30 minutes if it's submerged at a depth of 1 metre. If you've got a Samsung Galaxy S9 that can keep out for the same amount of time of 30 minutes it can keep out water if it's submerged at 1.5 metres of depth.

Ok, so the next question we got from Facebook and it is...Isn't water damage covered under warranty? No, it's not unfortunately so if you look at the terms and conditions of any standard Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy phone warranty and most phones really you'll find that water damage is not covered under a standard warranty even if your phone is water resistant.

Can I take my phone in the shower? You could but you probably shouldn't just to be on the safe side.

Okay, so on to the next one. Is it ok to take my phone swimming? Not really! So your phone was specifically tested in the lab with freshwater not any other type of liquid so swimming pools contain lots of chemicals and your phone isn't gonna like them.

Is rice my friend? Not really! So there's a bit of a long-standing myth that if you've got a liquid damage device if you put it in a container or something with rice in it then it's gonna solve the problem but in fact, it actually makes it worse and we've got a couple of glasses of water to show you exactly why that's the case. You can see here I've got some fresh water just from a tap and on here this glass I have water with rice in it you can see a difference in colour it's because of the starch in the rice. So if you do have your liquid damage device and you put it into a container of rice the rice is very good at absorbing the water out of the device however the starch comes along with it so that the residue is going to cause corrosion so unfortunately, rice is not your friend.

Okay, so onto our last question. My phone got wet and now it doesn't work what do I do? Okay, well the first thing to do is to switch off your phone as soon as you can and obviously don't try to charge it for obvious reasons. You can try air drying it first and try switching it on after that to see if it works. If it doesn't work you can contact a data recovery professional for some advice to see what to do next but always remember that even if your the phone doesn't survive because of the water damage your data might survive.

So that wraps up our video on water-resistant phones hopefully you learned a little bit more about them and our advice really generally is to think of water resistance as more of a safeguard and not a party trick so if you're out in the rain and you can finish your text if you're or you can keep looking at your phone in the rain. If you drop your phone while you're doing the washing up into the water you can fish it quickly back out again. If you drop it down the toilet then you might want to give it a bit of a clean first before using it again. It's really about the less you expose your phone to water or liquids the less likely there is are you going to cause some damage and seeing as your manufacturer does not cover it under warranty it really does pay to try and keep your phone dry wherever you can.