iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max IP68 Water-Resistant Rating Explained: What It Really Means

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 12 Sep 2018

The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max might sport the same design as the iPhone X but they do offer one key improvement in this department: an improved IP rating. Unlike the iPhone X’s IP67 certification, the iPhone XS and XS Max feature an IP68 certification.

What does this certification mean though? Does it mean the iPhone Xs and Xs Max are waterproof? Read below to know more.

iPhone XS IP68 Water-Resistant Certification Explained

First, let me explain to you what the IP68 certification of the iPhone XS stands for. The IP in the ‘IP68′ stands for Ingress Protection, while the ’68’ refers to the level of protection. IP68 is the highest level of certification that a consumer device can get.

The ‘6’ in IP68 stands for protection against dust ingress while the ‘8’ stands for protection against liquid ingress. Both are at the very highest level possible which means the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max offer among the best dust and water-resistance possible. Yes, water-resistant and not waterproof. There’s a world of difference between the two terms and you should treat your iPhone accordingly.

The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max water-resistance capabilities are not as good as the Apple Watch Series 3 or Series 4 which means you should not take the phone swimming with you.

In typical Apple fashion, the IP68 certification of the iPhone XS is better than what you will find in other IP68 devices. In fact, Apple even says the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are beer, tea, and coffee repellent.

Why the iPhone XS IP68 Certification Is Better Than Galaxy S9’s IP68 Certification

iPhone Xs iPhone Xs Max Best Features 8

While IP68 is the maximum certification possible for a consumer device, the maximum level of protection that can be offered here depends on the OEM. Most OEMs offer a depth ingress protection of anywhere between 1-1.5m for up to 30 minutes for their IP68 certified devices. Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S9, and Note 9, for example, carry IP68 certification which certifies them to be water-resistant in 1.5m depth for up to 30 minutes.

Apple, however, claims that the IP68 certification on the iPhone XS and XS Max is good enough for 2m depth for up to 30 minutes. Plus, the company has tested the water-resistance capabilities in other forms of liquid, including beer, as well which is always a good thing. Just for comparison, the iPhone X and iPhone 8 carry an IP67 certification which means they are water-resistant for up to 30 minutes in a depth of 1m.

There’s a Catch

Despite the improved water-resistant capabilities, Apple’s standard warranty still does not account for any liquid damage. This means that if you somehow end up liquid damaging your iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max, Apple will not repair or replace the device for free. Instead, you will have to shell out money from your own pocket to get the device repaired.

However, if you live in the United States, Europe, or any other developed market, chances are Apple will end up fixing or replacing your iPhone Xs for liquid damage under warranty. It is recommended that you use this option only as a backup and you should avoid unnecessarily throwing your iPhone XS into the water every other minute.

It’s also important to note that the water-resistance rating of a smartphone can actually go down over time due to wear and tear. Plus, if there’s too much pressure, the liquid might be able to breach the seal and flood the internals of your iPhone Xs or iPhone Xs Max. If you continuously expose your iPhone Xs to high-pressure water or take it swimming with you in the ocean or swimming pool, the internal sealing will weaken over time thereby eventually breaking under the immense water pressure. Similarly, if the chassis of your iPhone Xs is damaged in any way due to a drop or ding, you should avoid taking the phone in water. This is because the chassis damage can compromise the strength of the water-resistance sealing.

With great power comes great responsibilities. Similarly, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max might come with IP68 certification but that does not mean you will go around showing them off. Instead, you should consider them as failsafe or backup and avoid any kind of water or liquid contact with the phones as much as possible.