The Apple iPhone has been “waterproof” for a few generations (so this may apply to other models, such as the iPhone X), but the iPhone 11 isn’t worry-free in all situations. It is highly water-resistant to the point that, under normal circumstances and regular use, it might as well be waterproof. But IP68 is still considered water-resistant according to International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards – read on to learn more.
Understanding IP ratings
The iPhone 11 is rated IP68 under the IEC standard 60529. The IP rating is a standard of measurement created to show how resistant a device is to dirt, dust, and water. The first number in the IP rating (in the iPhone 11's case, "6") measures how resistant it is to solid material like dirt and dust. According to the IP chart, six rates as "protection from contact with harmful dust."
The second number ("8" on the iPhone 11) measures how resistant it is to liquids, or, the device's "water resistance." A rating of eight means "protected from immersion in water with a depth of more than one meter."
Although not included in all ratings, a time estimate is usually given — about half an hour in most cases. What this means is that the iPhone 11 is almost wholly resistant to dust and dirt and can withstand submersion in water up to 1.5 meters (about five feet) in depth for about half an hour. You do not want to leave it submerged in a large amount of water for an extended length of time, as there is a clear distinction between something being "waterproof" and "water resistance."
Keep in mind that the IP rating only applies to water. The iPhone 11 should be fine if a little water is spilled on it, but it does not apply to liquid damage from other things like soda, beer, milk, or coffee.
The iPhone 11's IP68 rating places it among the most water-resistant of devices. However, this doesn't mean you should intentionally expose it to liquid and moisture. The IP rating tests immersion in water on an intact device. Any cracks or breaks in the housing of your iPhone 11 can allow water inside and damage the internal components.
Can I use the iPhone 11 in the shower?
Using an iPhone 11 in the shower is a bad idea. While the ambient moisture might not cause damage, direct exposure to the stream from the shower-head likely will. If you need to have your phone in the bathroom, keep it on the sink and wait to answer that text until you're out of the shower.
Can I use the iPhone 11 underwater?
As for using the phone in the pool, the same concept applies. If the phone falls into the water, it might survive a quick dip if the pool isn't too deep. You should not try to take underwater photos. Sure, you might succeed without damaging your phone, but is it worth the risk? If you want to take underwater shots, invest in a waterproof phone case designed for that purpose.
Note: saltwater is even more damaging due to its corrosive and conductive nature. Dropping a device in the ocean is more dangerous than dropping it in the pool.
What to do if the iPhone 11 gets wet
There are two things you should if your phone gets wet.
- If you didn't use a waterproof case and your phone was exposed to water, you should immediately dry it off. Use a dry towel or cloth to wipe any moisture away from its exterior. If water has gotten inside the device, place it in a dry environment, and give it time to evaporate. The rice trick mentioned before is because rice grains can help absorb moisture, but a dry room will work just as well.
- Do not turn the iPhone on or plug it into a charger until it is completely dry. An electronic device can be damaged by water, but the real danger is when an electric current is running through it. Water is conductive, which can overload sensitive circuits and burn them out. You have the best chance of regaining use of the device without damage if you let it dry completely before you power it back on or try to charge it.
The iPhone 11 is a powerhouse of a device, but despite the safeguards in place to extend the longevity of the phone, it is not designed to be used in high-moisture environments. In short, there is no "waterproof iPhone" as of now. That said, an accidental spill or drop into a puddle probably won't destroy the phone, but it's better to treat it with care than to test the limits of its IP68 rating, and try to avoid ever submerging an iPhone entirely underwater. It may also be a good idea to purchase a waterproof case, which can be found through multiple retailers online.