When Apple announced its new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models in San Francisco, one of the biggest new features was an "IP67" water-resistance rating. Couple that with a few official renderings that show the new iPhone covered in water, and you'd probably arrive at one logical conclusion: The iPhone 7 is waterproof.
But this isn't actually the case. In fact, the iPhone 7 is only water-resistant, and there are several other disclaimers hidden behind that IP67 rating that mean you still have to be careful around water. So let's break it down:
- IP: This stands for "Ingress Protection," which is a rating system for the dust- and water-resistance of electronic devices.
- 6: The first number signifies the dust protection rating. In the iPhone 7's case, "6" means the phone is entirely dustproof, so that's pretty awesome.
- 7: The second number is the water resistance rating. A "7" here means that the iPhone 7 can be fully submerged in water as deep as 1 meter for a period of up to 30 minutes.
Ultimately, this means that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus should both survive if you dropped them in the toilet, spilled your drink on them, or got drenched in a rainstorm. But other factors, such as saltwater or the chlorine in pools, mean you should still be careful.
The IP code only specifies how well a device protects against water and dust penetration, but it doesn't factor in chemicals or particulates that may be dissolved in said water. Apple hasn't made any official statements about potential saltwater or chlorine damage yet, but if Samsung's earlier IP67-certified devices are any indication (the new Note7 and S7 models are IP68), we already know what to expect.
You see, saltwater and chlorine can damage your phone's finish, and even corrode the rubber seals that make the iPhone 7's IP67 rating possible. So to be on the safe side, try not to drop your new iPhone into a pool or take it with you while surfing, as ensuing damage may not be covered.
Speaking of warranty coverage, Apple makes it clear in the fine print that they won't be held responsible for water or dust damage. Citing the fact that the iPhone 7's water-resistant seals may fail due to normal wear, they state that liquid damage will not be covered under warranty, in no uncertain terms.
iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are splash, water, and dust resistant and were tested under controlled laboratory conditions with a rating of IP67 under IEC standard 60529. Splash, water, and dust resistance are not permanent conditions and resistance might decrease as a result of normal wear. Do not attempt to charge a wet iPhone; refer to the user guide for cleaning and drying instructions. Liquid damage not covered under warranty.
One more thing we can glean from that statement is that you shouldn't charge your iPhone 7 while it's wet. That might sound like common sense, but it's definitely something to keep in mind.
So yes, you can rest a bit easier knowing that your iPhone 7 should withstand a few splashes, and even complete submersion. But in the end, you should still be careful to avoid testing the limits of the new IP67 certification.