Today I learned that you can try the water resistance of an Android mobile without throwing it into a giant pool. All you need is a water resistance test app, like the one that has been circulating on Reddit.
The Water Resistance Tester app is available for Android smartphones on the Google Play Store. Test your phone’s IP67 and IP68 water resistance seals using the barometer built into your phone. Two Redditors in the Samsung community, where the post originated, confirmed and later deleted a note saying that the methodology is similar to how OEMs test the seal on their mobiles. We reached out to Samsung to confirm if that’s really the case.
How to do the water resistance test with your Android mobile?
To begin the test, place your phone on a solid, flat surface. Then place your thumbs on the screen where indicated. Once you apply some pressure, the test will begin. The app will show a green check mark if everything looks as sealed as the day you took the phone out of the box. And if not, you will have trouble starting the test, and then you will get a giant red exclamation point to let you know that your phone is not waterproof. Android Police also point out that if you run the test with an open SIM tray, the test will fail, as there is a huge gaping hole through which water could theoretically leak.
The barometer inside a smartphone measures the relative pressure of the air around the mobile. In the days when mobiles were being equipped with premium features, the idea of a barometer inside such a small mobile seemed like a distant ideal. Barometers are typically water-based or use a copper alloy solution that expands and contracts based on atmospheric pressure. But that’s too mechanical for a smartphone. Instead, a digital barometer is used to perform this test. It is a simple pressure sensing transducer, often found on the dedicated GPS chip. It measures the pressure in pascals, which is what “hPa” means in the results of the water resistance tester. Telephone barometers are so powerful that you could even make your own scale if you wanted.
I tested the app with a OnePlus 9, which has IP68 rating for water resistance. I also tested it with the OnePlus N200 5G, which it is not. In both cases, the app was accurate in pointing out that the OnePlus flagship could handle water and budget that OnePlus can’t.
As you live and breathe with your smartphone in hand, the water pressure seals can weaken over time. An app like this can help you evaluate a second-hand phone, for example, to make sure its seals haven’t been compromised due to normal wear and tear.
You can also help inform yourself before approaching a seductive body of water. It’s summer, and with climate change looming, there’s at least a way to test whether your phone can handle the inevitable rush of water that will gush out once the polar ice caps have completely melted. We are heading into difficult times. Make sure your smartphone is compatible.