In case you didn't catch the big event in Cupertino, Apple just unveiled two of the most cutting-edge phones ever made — the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X. Out of the many glorious specs that were rattled off on stage, one stands out for being just a little confusing: Both models are rated IP67 under the IEC standard 60529.
First, let's get that IEC 60529 stuff out of the way. This is simply a standard published by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association — in other words, a test with specific rules and regulations. Depending on how a device fares in this test, it's given an IP rating for dust and water resistance. To quote the standard:
This standard describes a system for classifying the degrees of protection provided by enclosures of electrical equipment for two conditions: 1) the protection of persons against access to hazardous parts and protection of equipment against the ingress of solid foreign objects and 2) the ingress of water. The degree of protection against these two conditions is designated by an IP Code.
The "IP Code" mentioned at the end there technically stands for "International Protection Marking," but it has colloquially come to mean "Ingress Protection." In other words, how well a device is protected against elements like water and dust.
But here's where things get interesting. The number you'll see after the "IP" prefix is actually two separate ratings — one that shows how well the device protects against dust and solid particulates, and another to show how well it can prevent water from seeping in to the sensitive electronic parts enclosed. Put simply, the first digit is the "dust-proof" rating, and the second digit signifies how "waterproof" a device truly is.
Both of Apple's new flagship devices earned an IP67 rating in the tests that were outlined by the IEC 60529 standard. This means that they are water-resistant, but not waterproof. But it's actually a pretty high score, so let's break it all down:
- IP: This stands for "Ingress Protection," which is the rating system for the dust- and water-resistance of electronic devices.
- 6: The first number signifies the dust protection rating. In the case of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, "6" means the phones are entirely dustproof, so that's pretty awesome.
- 7: The second number is the water resistance rating. A "7" here means that the new iPhone models 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 8 and iPhone X should both survive if you dropped them in the toilet, spilled your drink on them, or even if you got stuck in a full torrential downpour. But other factors, such as the corrosiveness of 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. You see, saltwater and chlorine can damage your phone's finish, and even corrode the rubber seals that make the IP67 rating on the new iPhone models 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 will probably not be covered.
Speaking of warranty coverage, Apple makes it clear in the fine print that they won't be held responsible for any water or dust damage. Citing the fact that the water-resistant seals on the new iPhone models may fail due to normal wear, they state that liquid damage will not be covered under warranty, in no uncertain terms.
iPhone X is splash, water, and dust resistant and was 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.
Another important note in that statement is how Apple has explicitly stated that you shouldn't charge your iPhone 8 or iPhone X while it's wet. That might sound like common sense, but it's definitely something to keep in mind.
So you can definitely rest a bit easier knowing that your next iPhone will withstand a few splashes and even complete submersion, under most circumstances. But in the end, you should still be careful to avoid testing the limits of that IP67 certification.