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Ready for the summer beach? What you need to know about waterproof phones

Collage of a man in VR goggles surrounded by summer beach stuff and smartphones.

Sand, salt, and good ol’ H2O: the best things about Australia’s beaches can be some of the worst things for our smartphones. So if you’re keen on an aquatic summer lifestyle, is a waterproof phone worth it? Do they work? How about waterproof cases?

Let’s dive in.

Do waterproof mobile phones work?

A smartphone splashed with water.

Let’s get one thing straight: there is no such thing as a truly waterproof phone. Instead, gadgets these days aim to be water resistant, which means they can survive a certain amount of water exposure, whether a simple splash on their screen or a shallow puddle – but not deep, and not forever. 

So while it’s heartbreaking that it’s 2022 and we still don’t have waterproof phones, we can celebrate the strides water resistance technology has made. 

Most high-end water-resistant smartphones today are rated as IP67 or IP68, per the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). These codes stand for:

  • Ingress Protection (how easily something can get in).
  • 6: dust tight.
  • 7 or 8: water-resistant, with the higher the number, the more water resistant.

It’s up to manufacturers to test their products and decide how to classify them, so, unfortunately, no two ratings mean the same thing between smartphone brands. But generally speaking, IP67 means water resistant up to 1 metre for 30 minutes, and IP68 would be water resistant at deeper depths for longer.

RELATED: Common phone problems and how to fix them

Several important things to keep in mind:

  • Water resistance decreases over time with normal wear and tear. So if your phone’s a little long in the tooth and you’re concerned, you might want to consider investing in a smart case, upgrading, or trading in your old phone.
  • The warranty doesn’t usually cover liquid damage. In fact, damage of any kind isn’t covered by most standard mobile phone warranties
  • Integrity loss can affect water resistance. If your screen cracks or the frame dents, this can open up little ways for water to get in. Consider repairing or replacing your damaged smartphone to enhance its water resistance. 
  • Saltwater is worse for your phone than regular water. Particles in the water can affect your phone’s water resistance, so the standards don’t necessarily apply to soapy, salty, or ionised water (even alcohol). Be wary at the beach, friends!
  • Do not attempt to charge a wet phone or repair it yourself. Electricity + water = bad idea. If your phone has been submerged in water, it’s best to follow any drying instructions in the user guide and avoid tinkering with it yourself. Take it to an authorised repair centre as soon as possible to check for more serious damage.

List of water-resistant smartphones

Collage of hands holding smartphones amid blue wavy patterns.

Here are the water resistance ratings and features for today’s most popular smartphone brands:

iPhone 14 water resistance

  • Yep! Apple claims the new iPhone 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro, and 14 Pro Max are all splash, dust, and water resistant. 
  • Rated IP68 (maximum depth of 6 metres for up to 30 minutes).
  • The warranty does not cover liquid damage.

Read our guide for more details on the new iPhone 14

Galaxy S22 Ultra water resistance

  • Yep! Samsung claims the Galaxy S22 series is water and dust-resistant. The S Pen is also water resistant.
  • Rated IP68 (maximum depth 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes). 
  • Samsung warns against exposing the phone to moving water or water that isn’t fresh (i.e. alcohol, salt water, soapy water, or ionised water), as this decreases its water resistance.

Read our guide for more details on the new Samsung folding phone series

Google Pixel 7 water resistance

  • Yep! Google claims the Pixel 7 series is dust and water resistant. Be aware its accessories may not be.
  • Rated IP68.
  • The warranty does not cover liquid damage.

Read our guide for more details on the new Google Pixel 7.

Do waterproof phone cases work?

Collage of a person contained within a phone with a waterproof case.

Several brands like Lifeproof or Catalyst offer specialised phone cases that are both impact-safe and water-resistant. How effective these features are will depend on the brand, your phone, and the damage's source – after all, nothing is indestructible. 

However, you can check out reviews from fellow Aussies to see what they think, and for the most part, the verdict seems good! So if you’re looking to protect the phone you already have from liquid damage, investing in a quality waterproof case could be the way to go.

Collage of a hand holding a smartphone with a ducktaped social media heart.


Can I take my phone in the shower?

Depends! Most water-resistant phones rated IP67 or IP68 can withstand sitting in a cloud of steam – but if you’re in the habit of taking your phone in with you, investing in a waterproof case can help protect your phone’s life expectancy. 

The real danger is accidentally submerging your phone in water. Cracked screens or damaged frames can also allow water in, damaging your phone and posing an electrical hazard.

Phone manufacturers will also warn against taking phones into the shower since keeping them as dry as possible maximises performance.

Does the phone in rice trick work?

Alas, this myth has been busted. Rice does not absorb water from a wet phone – or at least, it doesn’t speed up the process. If you accidentally dunk your phone in water, turn it off, dry it carefully with a clean cloth, and let it air at room temperature. Consult the user guide from the manufacturer for more details.

What happens if I drop my phone in the toilet?

Oh no, not your precious phone-bby! But don’t worry: this accident is astonishingly common. And don’t panic, all is not lost. 

If you can, gently fish your phone from the water. Even if it’s beyond saving, you don’t want it to damage your plumbing. Turn it off and dry it with a soft cloth. Don’t worry about sanitising the phone yet, but ensure to wash your hands and surfaces. Finally, lay your phone on a flat surface to let it dry. Consult the user manual for any extra steps, including damage red flags.

Exposure to water may dull the sound quality of your phone's speakers, which can affect your calls. If volume or sound doesn’t return to normal after complete drying, consider taking it to a repair retailer to get it checked. You should also get it checked if the fall damaged the phone's screen or frame in any way.

Does putting your phone in a plastic bag make it waterproof?

Technically, yes. Wrapping your phone in a plastic bag can be an effective emergency waterproofing measure (for instance, if you get caught singin’ in the rain), but it isn’t a great long-term solution. 

Firstly, baggies tear very easily. Secondly, smartphones can overheat, so unless you seal the bag without any air pockets, a plastic bag can insulate it, prevent proper cooling, and run down your battery/damage your phone. Lastly, don’t expect your phone’s watery to cover a DIY solution, so if damage still occurs, you could be left out of pocket.

Interested in a new water-resistant phone? Here are some mobile plan options below.

Evlin DuBose
Evlin DuBose
Senior Money Writer

Evlin, RG146 Generic Knowledge certified and a UTS Communications graduate, is a leading voice in finance news. As Mozo's go-to writer for RBA and interest rates, her work regularly features in Google's Top Stories and major publications like