When Apple announced the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus would be water-resistant, iPhone fans across the world rejoiced in unison. An IP67 rating means accidental drops in the toilet – I mean, unexpected rain storms – will no longer spell the end of your pricey smartphone. But what does IP67 mean and just how much can you get away with? Find out in our iPhone 7 water test.
What does IP67 mean?
First up, the IP rating. IP stands for Ingress Protection and it assigns two numbers to a device. The first refers to dust protection and the second to water resistance. A ‘6’ on the scale means dustproof, making the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus impervious to dust particles. The second number refers to water protection, and while the scale goes all the way up to ‘9’, the highest we’ve yet seen on a smartphone is an ‘8’.
A ‘7’ rating here means that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus can – theoretically – survive immersion in up to a meter of water for up to a half hour. I say “theoretically” because the exact testing conditions of an IP rating are typically defined by the manufacturer, not an external body, so the exact definition of IP67 for the iPhone 7 may differ from other devices. It’s probably safe to assume though that Apple is working along the broadly understood definition of IP67.
iPhone 7 water test: Showers
First up, we thought we’d give the iPhone 7 a quick shower to see if it was at all affected by a steady stream of fresh water over a prolonged period of time. Not surprisingly, the solid state home button, lack of headphone jack and many other external openings meant that the iPhone 7 worked perfectly after spending a few awkward moments in the shower with me.
30-minute bucket test
Next, we thought we’d test the commonly accepted standard for an IP67 device and left the iPhone 7 in a bucket of fresh water for over 30 minutes. Again, the iPhone 7 never skipped a beat and we recorded video of the entire time it spent underwater which you can see in the video above. But we had come all the way to Australia for the iPhone 7 launch and no trip to Sydney would be complete without a visit to the iconic Bondi Beach, which just so happened to be at our doorstep.
Now, it must be mentioned that in no way does Apple want you taking your iPhone 7 to the beach for a frolic. Salt water (and chlorine for that matter) do very different things compared to fresh water when it comes to water-resistant phones and an IP rating is not tested with anything other than fresh water.
But, because this is real life and we know that regardless of the way manufacturers would like us to treat their products, we’re always likely to do something else. So we thought we’d see if the iPhone 7 could handle some Bondi Beach action. That meant sand, salt water, lots of sunshine and some rather clumsy swimming on my part. So did it survive?
In fact, yes, it did. I spent around 15 minutes flailing about in the surf with the iPhone 7, snapped a few photos in the water and shot a little video. The phone wasn’t underwater the entire time, but it was for the majority and there was a lot of water, sand and tanning lotion to contend with.
The iPhone 7 performed tremendously. Not only was the iPhone 7 working fine even after we had put it through all of these tests in the same couple of hours, I didn’t even rinse it out with fresh water when I got home.
It is actually really important to rinse off any salt or sand that may have crept into any of its openings and I would absolutely recommend you rinse off your iPhone 7 if you ever happen to take it for a swim. But it’s good to know that even if you don’t it shouldn’t come out any worse for wear.
Now, dust particles and sand are very different things and only time will tell if the iPhone 7 is as resistant to dust and water in the long term as it seems to be in the short term. But at this early stage it looks as though Apple’s first water-resistant iPhone is indeed up to the task. At the very least it can handle taking a shower with you or getting caught in the rain, but i’d still try to avoid other soggy activities involving different kinds of water.
Did you expect the iPhone 7 to survive? Will you look after yours or abuse it like we did?