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I would like to bring my IP68-rated phone with me on long rides where the weather might be very wet.

As I understand, IP68 means it can withstand immersion at a depth of 1 metre for 30 minutes.

However, does this also mean that the phone will be fine for extended periods in very wet conditions? Can I keep it in a waterlogged pocket for 12 hours? Or on the handlebars in extended heavy rain?

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    this doesn't seem to be a bicycle-specific question. I suggest you look at the particular phone's guarantee from water damage and water immersion testing including disassembly some weeks later to see evidence of water ingress.
    – thelawnet
    Oct 9 '20 at 11:46
  • You could just get a phone bag.
    – DKNguyen
    Oct 9 '20 at 20:46
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    Your understanding if IP68 is not quite correct. It means it can withstand continuous immersion at some specified pressure (or depth), but the pressure is not part of the IP68 code and should be specified separately for the device. However, since IP68 should be "better" protection than IP67, the depth for IP68 should be at least 1 meter.
    – alephzero
    Oct 9 '20 at 21:49
  • @DKNguyen That's what I've always done, but it's super inconvenient if you want to take a photo while it's raining, they need replacing periodically, and it's easy to forget when the weather looks nice and then get caught out when it starts raining. What I'm asking is whether I can just ditch the bag altogether. Oct 10 '20 at 6:06
  • IP 67 means submersion up to a meter. IP 68 means submersion over a meter. The difference between 67 and 68 is quite a bit actually. That phone should resist anything excluding pressurized hot water if it's as good as the rating makes it out to be. The thing should survive the water of a hurricane. If the rating is accurate. And that's the real question.
    – Mast
    Oct 10 '20 at 12:44
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It should be. That's how I navigate on all my rides, wet or otherwise (phone on the bars). I've done this for a few years, but not completely without incident.

Some tips:

  • Make sure all port covers are tightly closed; I even grease mine very lightly.
  • Consider how you will charge if necessary (I might otherwise plug in to a battery pack or my dynamo while going along)
  • It's possible for phones to leak after taking damage, even seemingly cosmetic damage. My last phone did this after coming off the bars one too many times*. I dried it out successfully a couple of times but then needed to replace the screen. It's now my backup phone and not waterproof.
  • If it fails, how bad is it? Will you be lost in the cold and wet, down a large sum of money for a phone, or will you be able to ride home on known roads and repair it? Should you have a backup map/route sheet?
  • Touch screens don't respond well when wet - will you need to touch the screen while riding? I made a little windshield that keeps the rain off while I'm moving, but on steep hills or in stop-start traffic it gets annoying.
  • If you're considering putting it in a waterproof pouch for further protection, I've found they aren't all very waterproof, and anyway the clear plastic fogs to the point you can't read the screen if you let in even the slightest moisture (the window is colder than the phone).

BTW Garmin only claim IPx7 for their dedicated devices, so it's up to how well you trust the manufacturer and whether the seals have suffered over time.


* It's too heavy for most phone mounts and tends to find the weak spots and snap them, too fat for others so doesn't clamp securely. The screen turned out to have slightly come away from the shell after the last impact with the ground at 35km/h. It already looked battered. The replacement has a lanyard clipped to the bars

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    It's not enough for my own answer, but a tip I'd add: put the phone in a ziploc bag (preferably the thicker plastic ones). The screen is usable through it, and it has protected my phones in far more extreme situations. It also just doesn't hurt to carry a few ziploc bags because they come in use for a variety of things.
    – anjama
    Oct 9 '20 at 17:53
  • Can you add a picture of your windshield? Sounds like I might wanna make one too :)
    – MaxD
    Oct 9 '20 at 18:32
  • @anjama I prefer the thin bags as they cling to the screen better, but they make the clamping less secure and these days I clip on a lanyard
    – Chris H
    Oct 9 '20 at 20:56
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    @MaxD Mk1, with my old phone. The mount it's attached to is one that snapped (a metal part) and dropped my phone on the road. The new windshield is 2mm polycarbonate, which is less easy to bend using a heat gun but still OK if you're patient. Next time I wouldn't go for tinted plastic. It reflects the sun as much as clear, and blocks more light from the screen. Attaching depends on the mount; on the current one I drilled a hole through the metal and used a screw & locking nut, plus hot glue to stop it rattling when it flexes
    – Chris H
    Oct 9 '20 at 21:07
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    Note that your phone is only guaranteed to survive a heavy downpour or light immersion, it's not guaranteed to be fully usable in that condition. My IP68 phone's speaker stopped working in the heavy rain, so I couldn't hear the GPS cues (the speaker recovered after drying out). And as others have noted, your touch screen doesn't work in heavy rain either. Oct 10 '20 at 16:28
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You’ll be fine assuming you have a recent phone. They’re entirely glued and sealed shut on the inside, and there’s no battery hatch or anything to worry about either. I ride with my iPhone 7 (only IP67!) in the rain, which I’ve had for 4 years now with no issues. Heck, I wash the thing in the sink and it’s still going strong.

If you’ve ever had a battery replacement or other internal work, especially by a non-OEM shop, you might not want to trust the rating anymore. The glue and sealant might have been compromised and not replaced.

You could consider a waterproof case like an Otterbox or something. Also be aware that wet usually also means cold, and batteries lose capacity in the cold.

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    Good point on the cold. My last phone (mainly screwed together but I'm the one who repaired it and made it no longer waterproof) did this particularly badly: in the cold it went from 15% battery to turning itself off in less than 5 minutes.
    – Chris H
    Oct 9 '20 at 21:11
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I'd never trust the ratings - after all if it fails to survive, you're up for a new phone. There's no guarantee it will perform.

My phone is a samsung S5 Active, with a similar waterproof "rating" but over time the various seals have taken wear, so its going to leak. I would not expect it to perform at its rating.

Just carry your phone inside a couple of plastic bags, or stay home and do an indoor ride if you have the gear.

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    Or buy a cheap IP-rated phone; they're less than 1/2 the price of a Garmin and do a very nice job of navgiating
    – Chris H
    Oct 9 '20 at 9:26
  • Have you observed the leaks and wear, or do you just predict them? I was rather hoping to be able to use my phone in rainy conditions, which a plastic bag makes quite difficult. I'm talking about all-day (or longer) rides, where you have to assume that the weather won't stay dry, and where using a phone is necessary at times (e.g , navigation, looking up shops, accommodation, etc.). Oct 9 '20 at 19:23
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    @WillVousden Like anjama above, I've had great success using the touchscreen through a ziplock bag.
    – Michael
    Oct 9 '20 at 20:48

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