Sun. Dec 10th, 2023

The Google Pixel phones are among the best in the Android market, but are they waterproof? Does Google provide a similar protection for all the models, or do the older models fall behind? Here’s everything you need to know about your Pixel’s water resistance and what not to do to prolong its life.

Waterproof or Water Resistance?

Close look at the three rear camera sensors on the back of the Google Pixel 8 Pro
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

You might have heard your friends say their new smartphone is “waterproof,” but that’s not entirely true. If you want to safeguard your purchase, you must know the difference.

There’s a reason why phone makers use the term “water resistance” instead of “waterproof.” When we say something is waterproof, we mean that there’s no way moisture can permeate the outer surface and get inside. On the other hand, when something is “water resistant,” the object can withstand ingress for a limited amount of time and depth, and it is the resistance level that we see as different ratings.

Like iPhones and other smartphones, the Google Pixel has electrical components that don’t go very well with water. To protect them from exposure to moisture, Google relies on strong adhesives that seal shut the phone and prevent any water from seeping in. However, even this solution doesn’t “waterproof” your phone and is only effective to a limited extent.

Which Pixel Phones Are Water-Resistant?

Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro

The Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro are IP68 water and dust-resistant. The first number (6) tells us the device is dustproof, and the second number (8) means it can withstand any damage due to water submersion up to 1.5 meters (about 5 feet) for up to 30 minutes.

The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro from 2022 also carry the same IP68 rating. However, the most affordable option of the series, Pixel 7a, offers IP67 water and dust resistance. The “7” means it can survive submersion up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. Its elder “A series” siblings, the Pixel 6a and Pixel 5a, have the same protection.

Older Google flagship devices, the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 5, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 3, and Pixel 3 XL, share an IP68 rating. However, if you own these phones, dropping them in a pool or the sink is probably unsafe, as water resistance decreases with time and regular usage.

The older “A series” models, the Pixel 4a and Pixel 3a, don’t offer any water resistance at all. Last but not least, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL came with an IP67 rating in 2017. The original Pixel and Pixel XL, though, don’t have any protection against moisture.

What Could Damage My Pixel Phones?

Pixel 8 in the Ghostek waterproof case splashing water

Now that you know whether your Pixel is water-resistant, let’s discuss what it can survive and what would probably kill it. The IP68 or IP67 Pixel phones should be good if exposed to sudden splashes, light rain, a drop in the sink, or even the swimming pool, provided you drop it in the shallow corner and take it out as soon as possible.

Although some models come with industry-standard water resistance, you shouldn’t take it for granted. Instead, you should think of it as an assurance or safety net, if you may. Further, you should never expose your phone to soapy water in the shower or bathtub, pressurized water from a washing nozzle, or carry it in the pool.

Your Pixel can protect itself against fresh water ingress, but if the water contains chemicals like soap, shampoo, detergent, or chlorine, it can mess with the exposed components, like the charging port. Prolonged exposure to salt water can also weaken the adhesive seal protecting your phone. And if your phone ends up drinking some water, the company won’t help you, as water damage isn’t covered under the standard warranty.

Is There a Way to Prevent Water Damage?

Close up of the two rear camera sensors on the back of the Google Pixel 8
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

The easiest way to prevent water damage is to avoid carrying your Pixel phone around the most common places where they could take a dip. Even if you drop your phone, act quickly and lift it out of the water. Turn it off, dry it with a soft, lint-free cloth, and set it flat to dry at room temperature. Don’t use a blow dryer or put the phone in a bowl of rice. Give it time to fully dry before you attempt to turn it on.

If you insist on taking your phone to, let’s say, a water park or the beach, get yourself a waterproof pouch or an IP-rated protective case. For instance, the $39.98 Ghostek Nautical Slim case for Pixel 8 protects up to 6 feet underwater, and the $19.99 Lanhiem Waterproof Case for Pixel 7 protects up to 6.6 feet.

Ghostek water proof case for Pixel 8

Ghostek Nautical Slim Google Pixel 8 Pro Case

Rugged Waterproof Pixel 8 Pro Case. Great for Underwater Photography and Videos.

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By John P.

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