Immersion allowed: What the IP rating reveals about your cell phone
Many modern mobile phones have so-called IP certifications: what does that mean and how do you read them? We explain it to you here.
In a world where cell phones have become indispensable companions, it is vital that they are protected from the challenges of everyday life. Water, dust, and other environmental influences can affect or even destroy our loyal and often expensive companions.
This is where IP certifications come into play. These mysterious codes, which can be found on the technical data sheets of most modern mobile phones, provide information about the degree of protection against water and dust.
Incidentally, this is not only found in mobile phones but also in many other devices and objects that can benefit from such a protection certification.
Learn how to read the IP rating and how it protects our phones here.
What does IP even stand for?
IP stands for Ingress Protection. In German: Protection against the ingress of damaging elements, especially foreign bodies and liquids. The IP certifications are defined by the international standard EN 60529 established by the International Electrotechnical Commission.
Before the IP ratings we know existed, one company could claim their device was waterproof, another could claim their phone was “moisture proof.” Such definitions are vague and can vary widely.
The IP certifications create clarity.
What do the two numbers in the IP rating stand for?
The certifications found on cell phones and other electronic devices consist of the letters IP followed by two numbers.
The first number describes the protection against the ingress of solid objects such as dust, sand, and other particles.
|First digit l||Description|
|X||No data available or not tested|
|0||No protection against the ingress of solid foreign bodies|
|1||Protection against objects larger than 50 mm|
|2||Protection against objects larger than 12.5 mm|
|3||Protection against objects larger than 2.5 mm|
|4||Protection against objects larger than 1mm|
|5||Protection against the ingress of dust in harmful quantities|
|6||Sealed against ingress of dust|
The second number describes how good your device is against liquid ingress.
|X||No data available or not tested|
|0||No protection against moisture and water|
|1||Protection against water droplets or light rain in an upright position|
|2||Protection against water droplets or light rain when tilted|
|3||Protection against ingress of sprayed water|
|4||Splashproof: Water splashed against the device from any direction cannot damage it|
|5||Weak water jets (4.4 psi) from a nozzle with a maximum diameter of 6.3 mm will not damage the device|
|6||Strong water jets (15 psi) from a nozzle with a maximum diameter of 12.5 mm cannot damage the device|
|6K||Strong jets of water with a maximum pressure of 150 psi cannot damage the device|
|7||Waterproof for up to 30 minutes and a depth of one meter|
|8th||Water resistant to a depth and duration specified by manufacturers. Usually up to 3 meters. For an IPX8 certification, the protection must be proven to be better than IPX7.|
When a phone like the Samsung Galaxy S23 or iPhone 14 is IP68 certified, that means it’s sealed against the ingress of dust and can safely remain underwater for extended periods of time without being damaged.
A cell phone with an IP54 certification, such as the Nothing Phone 1, is sufficiently well protected against the ingress of foreign objects and against splashing water. However, you shouldn’t take it with you into the bathtub.
Finally, one should know that higher IP certifications do not include the lower ones. An IP certification describes that the device has been tested specifically for this.
We hope this little guide can help you! Did we miss something or do you have any requests for additional guides? Tell us in the comments!