How to Waterproof Your Phone for the Summer

Illustration of a man in a fishing boat with his cell phone in his hand.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s 2019, aren’t our phones waterproof yet? The answer is unfortunately, no. While new iPhones and Androids are designed to resist some kinds of water and dust damage—if treated properly—they are limited.

So before you head to the pool, beach, or river this summer let’s talk about some things you can do to help prevent accidental water damage to your phone.

Check your smartphone’s IP rating

For the most part, we’re going to discuss ways to protect your phone from accidental water damage. However, if you’re a deep-sea diver, lifeguard, or the type of person who jumps into the deep end of a pool before checking their pockets (guilty party here) you should check out your phone’s IP rating. 

IP stands for Ingress Protection and is a type of certification issued by the  International Electrotechnical Commission; they specify how resistant a device is to fresh water, dirt, dust, and sand. The Samsung Galaxy S9, for example, is IP68 certified, which means it is water-resistant up to 30 meters deep and for 30 minutes, whereas the iPhone X is rated IP67 for a depth resistance of just one meter for 30 minutes.  

Get a hard case

Hard cases are good for rugged outdoor activities because they can protect against shock, sand, dirt, rain, and snow. Some cases are even built for deep water photography. But make sure you check for these 3 aspects of any case you buy: 

  1. Waterproofing depth: How deep can you go before the waterproofing fails? Is it three feet? thirty feet? Or 100 feet?
  2. Time: How long can your smartphone be underwater? One minute? thirty minutes? An hour?
  3. Manufacturer’s guarantee: if the brand doesn’t guarantee its waterproofing, that means it doesn’t believe in the effectiveness of its own product, and you probably shouldn’t either.

 Popular brands for hard cases are the: the LifeProof FRE series,  NÜÜD series, OTBBA, iThrough, and ORDTBY.

 Get a smartphone dry bag

This solution is for the more budget-conscious consumer. A smartphone dry bag is just a thin bag in which you can seal your smartphone. At a cost between $7-30, it is a great option if you are looking for a limited use solution such as a day at the beach or pool. But there are a few downsides you should be aware of:  

  • These bags are susceptible to tearing. The foldable material that makes them easy to pack is made of plastic, which means the seal will deteriorate over time. This is especially true in saltwater.
  • The neck cords can break, causing you to lose your phone. 
  • You may experience poor sound quality because the bag covers the phone’s speakers.
  • The phone must be removed from the bag before it can be charged.  
  • If used incorrectly, the bag is ineffective.

Some popular brands include JOTO, CaliCase, TeaTronics, Vansky, and Mpow.

 Make your own waterproof pouch

Some people make fun of the Ziploc-type bag phone case, but this cheap solution actually works. Waterproof phone pouches work especially well at the beach because they keep both sand and water away from your smartphone. 

Here’s a video tutorial that shows how two bags provide superior protection by securing the initial seal. And if you think this option is enticing, you are going to love this upgraded option involving a vacuum-sealing device like the Food Saver. 

Experiment with your new device

Before you go running towards the open water with your newly protected device, be sure to test it in a sink or basin filled with water. Once you’ve tested the device, you’ll be primed to capture amazing underwater images of your epic waterborne adventures. 

What to do if your phone does come in contact with water

Check out our post, 5 Things Every Smartphone User Should Know, where we’ve detailed what you should do if your phone does come in contact with water. 

Enjoy the summer

Now that you’ve properly protected your phone, it’s time to lay back, enjoy the summer, and relax.