Why You Shouldn’t Go Swimming with a Water-Resistant Phone

Water-resistant does not always mean waterproof.

So you bought a new phone and it’s water resistant. However, you should probably steer clear from taking your phone swimming with you. While water-resistant phones are safe from accidental spills, they can still stop functioning if they’re submerged in water for a long time. If you’re wondering why that is the case, we found out why for you. Here’s why you also shouldn’t use your phone while pumping gas.

Water-resistant does not mean waterproof

Most of us tend to think water-resistant equals waterproof. However, even if the two sound the same, these qualifications are actually vastly different.

“To understand why swimming with a water-resistant phone is a bad idea, you should differentiate between the terms ‘waterproof’ and ‘water-resistant.’ The first one implies the usage of certain materials that provide full protection and cannot be damaged by water or other liquids. Water-resistant phones, however, have certain weak points and cannot fully resist the water,” says Tom Winter, chief revenue officer and co-founder at DevSkiller.

It’s also important to know that not all water-resistant phones are water-resistant to an equal degree. Water-resistant phones are each measured with an Ingress Protection (IP) rating. The IP rating is a two-number value, with the first number for the level of protection against solid particles and the second number for the level of protection against liquids, according to Tarun Kalia, mechanical engineer & product designer at Outdesign. Plus, find out why you should never keep your phone in your car’s glove compartment.

Why you shouldn’t take your phone swimming

Even if your phone has a high IP rating, you probably shouldn’t risk immersing it in water for a long time. “The manufacturers test the phones in a lab in fresh water and controlled conditions. Swimming pools have chemicals and salts which can damage the seals and gaskets,” says Kalia. “Even though the exposed metal parts (like charging ports) have protective coatings, the salts and chemicals can corrode them over time. Sony Xperia phones, which were advertised to be able to be used in swimming pools, got in trouble after people’s phones got rusted and malfunctioned after being used in swimming pools.”

In addition, using your phone every day can damage your phone’s seals or cause cracks which can let the water in. It is also recommended that you do not press buttons underwater, as it’s not required that manufacturers actually use the phones during IP testing. Therefore, there is no knowing if pressing a button will lead to water damage, according to Kalia.

“When water leaks into a device, components that could be damaged [vary] from the LED display to the SoC [System-on-a-Chip] to the phone speaker. Basically, any component that consumes battery power is at risk of being burnt,” says Vance Tran, tech blogger for PointerClicker. Next, find out more things you do that shorten the life of your phone.