Why you shouldn’t use your smartphone in water (even if it’s waterproof)

The democratization of the smartphone has made it possible to do without the good old compact camera during the holidays. When you travel, there’s no reason to take a camera with you unless you’re a professional or semi-professional photographer or videographer.

Technological advances allow smartphone manufacturers to equip them with increasingly sophisticated optics, also aided by the power of processing algorithms. In fact, you can completely immortalize your vacation with high-resolution photos or 4K videos using a simple smartphone.

In the summer, it is not uncommon to see some users diving into a swimming pool with their phone to photograph or film their wet memories. This phenomenon has become widespread as the majority of phones sold are certified waterproof (to various levels).

However, even though they are waterproof, your smartphones cannot follow you in the water. This applies to the sea, but also to swimming pools. We explain why.

IP certification, what does it mean?

You are in the swimming pool, do you want to capture a moment with your family, your friends, your loved ones? Does your smartphone have IP certification? That doesn’t mean you can go there.

IP certifications (for protection index), promise to make your smartphone waterproof and dustproof. The number placed just behind indicates the sealing level.

The 6 means that the device is protected against dust. So 5, 6, 7 or 8 indicates the level of water resistance. The 5 indicates that your phone can survive splashes, 6 powerful water jets, 7 immersion up to one meter for 30 minutes, 8 more than one meter for one hour.

Anyway, we advise you not to dive with your smartphone one meter away to film your loved ones underwater, even if your phone is IP68 certified.

pressure stroke

When the first high-end models were released, OnePlus ensured that they were as waterproof as IP68 certified models. Yet they were not officially certified.

At the time, the brand’s managers explained to us that the certification caused problems with customer satisfaction. In fact, users believed that this water resistance allowed them to use their smartphone in water. When the smartphone was broken, they then accused the manufacturer of false advertising or broken promises. This gave rise to disputes, which the brand wanted to avoid.

One of the founders then explained to us the nuances of sealing certifications. An IP68-certified smartphone can withstand immersion of more than one meter for one hour but not if the smartphone is in motion. And therein lies the whole problem.

When you use a smartphone underwater, you move. These movements increase the water pressure on the phone. But when the pressure rises, the water seeps into the smartphone, as the certification tests are only performed on immobile phones.

In addition, the tests performed to obtain certification are performed with clear water. In the sea, the water is salty. Salt is a very strong oxidant, so it can damage phones. Ditto with the chlorine in the swimming pool which can touch the unit.

Therefore, it is better to avoid using your smartphone in water.

What are the risks if you use your smartphone in water and what should you do in case of an accident?

If you do decide to use your smartphone in water, it may not support it. If water seeps in, it can oxidize several components and renders your mobile companion totally useless. In addition, the non-waterproof models often turn off a few minutes after falling into the water.

If you still decide to submerge your phone in water, take the time to dry it off when you get out. For this there is no miracle method. Forget any devices such as a fan or hair dryer, they will repel water droplets inside the phone, which can affect components located on top of the phone. The hair dryer can even heat up and damage components when they may not have been touched.

The best method is therefore to place the phone in a ventilated place. Do not place it in direct sunlight: it will dry out, but under the hood the components will overheat and again risk damage. Then pray very hard for everything to work perfectly.

Sealing, a matter of warranty

Please note that the sealing certification is also a matter of warranty. If you go to your dealer or contact the brand’s after-sales service, they will not pay for the repair or replacement of your smartphone if you explain that you used it underwater.

On its official website, Apple is very clear. “To prevent liquid damage, avoid intentionally immersing your iPhone in water”, we can read in the small lines that refer to the iPhone’s water resistance. The other manufacturers have also taken these precautions in their conditions of sale.

You’ve been warned, the waterproof certification isn’t there to allow you to play Spielberg in the middle of a remake of Sweet teethbut instead to promise a guarantee in the event of an accident (falling into a puddle, a swimming pool or the large classic WC).

To photograph or film safely underwater, only accessories designed for this purpose allow you to do it freely. We are thinking, for example, of the transparent pockets that can be hung around the neck with a strap (sold for around 15 euros). So much for quickdraw, “safety first”.

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