What you need to know about water-resistant smartphones?
Long ago, I was the proud owner of a simple Nokia 3310. No problems with it. Until a cold day at the coast, where the phone slipped from my hands and fell into the water. I managed to get it out of the water, but you guessed it, the well-known ‘indestructible 3310’ was no more. All contacts, text messages and Snake top scores away: a real disaster.
Mobile phones have since moved far with their built-in cameras, the possibility of video calls and mobile internet, features that have become self-evident to many. But now, the majority of modern smartphones have added a new * quality. Some say it will change the way we use our cell phones. At least I know that I would have liked to have it for my old 3310. I am of course talking about new ‘water-resistant’ smartphones. In this post I want to explain what this exactly means, what you need to look out for and what you can do to prevent your device from being damaged and / or that you are suffering data loss.
Water resistant vs. waterproof
First of all: ‘water-resistant’ is not the same as ‘water-tight’. If something is water-resistant, it means that it can stop water, but not completely. It is also not forever; the water resistance decreases as the device is used a lot (eg after dropping, with a broken screen, etc.). Open openings for external SD / SIM cards are also not resistant to water.
Although many modern smartphones now claim to be water-resistant, water damage is normally not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. If you have an Apple smartphone, read what they say about the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus:
“IPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are splash water, water and dust resistant and have been tested in a controlled laboratory environment with an IP67 rating based on IEC standard 60529. Splash water, water and dust resistance are not permanent conditions. The resistance may deteriorate during normal use. Never try to charge a wet iPhone. Refer to the user manual for cleaning and drying instructions. Damage from liquids is not covered by the warranty. ”
In the previous section the designation IP67 is mentioned, but what does this actually mean and why is it important? Most new phones have an IP code ( International Protection Rating , sometimes Ingress Protection ), in fact, the extent to which the device can keep out foreign particles. Recent examples are the iPhone 7 (IP67) and the Samsung Galaxy S7 (IP68).
The first digit indicates the degree of protection against dust and dirt. Both examples have a ‘6’, which means that the phones are dust-free and touch-proof, determined after an 8-hour intensive laboratory test.
The second figure is the degree of protection against moisture. The iPhone 7 has a ‘7’ (coincidence or not?) And can be submerged safely to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes. The Samsung Galaxy S7 has an ‘8’, which means that it can be submerged only up to 1.5 meters.
Read this article for more information about the codes, but we can conclude that both phones can prevent water from entering under the recommended conditions. It is important to take into account the fact that these codes are given on the basis of controlled laboratory environments. This prevents some vloggers from seeing what is possible beyond these limits. (Warning: do not try this at home!)
Differences in water quality
The IP codes apply only to fresh water. This means that if you drop your phone into sea or chlorine water, your phone is most likely to be damaged. Salt water in particular is a culprit, and the science behind this is as follows; salt water is a much better conductor of electricity because of the high content of sodium and chloride ions, and because of all electrical currents running through the phone there is a much higher risk of damage if the internal parts and connections come into contact with salt water .
It is estimated that about three of the four phones that arrive to us for data recovery have suffered water damage and our engineers often see devices that have fallen into the sea. After research it is often visible and not unexpected that important parts have been destroyed by the rust and the electrical conduction of the destructive salt water. In all cases, specialized techniques are needed to clean the device and to bypass the defects to arrive at the data.
What if my phone has water damage?
If you think your phone has suffered water damage, it does not automatically mean that your data is lost. It is best to turn the device off immediately and not try to charge it . If possible (sorry iPhone users), it is also better to remove the battery. You can try to completely dry the device and then turn it on again, but it is advisable to approach a professional data recovery company immediately after the event . They can give you the best advice on the basis of your situation and tell you which steps you should take to maximize the chances of successful data recovery.
Always be careful
Our advice? Treat your water-resistant phone as you always did before there was even water resistance on smartphones. Although it is technically possible to call in the shower, it is wise to avoid situations of this kind in order to prevent the risk of damage and thus data loss. Consider the water resistance more as a security than as a cool feature. If the rain erupts you can finish your message. If you drop your phone in the sink, pick it up and call ahead. Do you drop your device in the toilet? Well, then first of all clean it up properly! The less contact with water, the less chance you have of water damage. And if you consider that water damage is not guaranteed by most manufacturers, it is worthwhile to keep your phone dry