IP and ATM waterproof ratings explained: What do different IP and ATM ratings mean for your smartphones, earbuds, wearables, and more?

You may also see IP ratings and ATM ratings or military certifications on your devices. Waterproofing tech has come a long way from being featured exclusively in expensive devices to being widely used to protect the technology we use in our daily lives. A water resistance rating can be found on a wide variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, earbuds, wearables and other electronics, and electrical appliances such as geysers and instant water heaters. Some of these ratings indicate how well the device is protected against water and dust, while others deal with the durability of the products. In this article, we’ll explore what IP and ATM ratings and military certifications mean for your smartphones, earbuds, wearables, and more.

What is the IP or ATM water resistance rating of your smartphone or wearable?

IP or “ingress protection” ratings are defined IEC Technical Committee. The rating standard defines the level of protection a device enclosure (such as a smartphone or wearable body) provides against water and dust. The IP rating, in particular, consists of two numbers – the first number indicates protection against solids and the second number indicates protection against water. Furthermore, this rating also indicates how easily the critical components of the device can be accessed within the specified enclosure.

Apart from IP, there is another rating standard called “ATM” (Atmospheric), which is used by manufacturers to indicate how much atmospheric pressure a device can handle when in still water. This special rating standard is commonly found in wearables such as smartwatches and fitness bands.

List of IP Ratings

level Solids (No. 1) Liquids (No. 2)
0 No protection No protection
1 Protection against objects larger than 50mm Protection against vertical water drops
2 Protection against objects larger than 12.5mm Protection against water drops falling at 15 degrees from vertical
3 Protection against objects larger than 2.5 mm Protection against water splashes from vertical up to 60 degrees
4 Protection against objects larger than 1.0mm Protection against water splashes from any direction
5 Dust-proof (may collect some dust particles) Protection against water jets
6 Dust-tight (completely protected from dust particles) Protection against powerful water jets
7 Protection against temporary water immersion
8 Protection against continuous water immersion
9 Protection against high water pressure and water jets

Types of IP Rating

As you can see from the table above, IP protection comes in different protection levels. As explained above, the first digit/number in the IP rating describes the protection rating against solids, while the second indicates protection against liquids. For example, an IP68 rating provides complete protection against dust and water immersion. In some cases, you’ll see an ‘X’ instead of a number in the IP rating, which means the device hasn’t been tested for that purpose.


An IP00 rating provides no protection against water or dust. Take extra care of the device and keep it away from water and dust.


IP11 protects against objects larger than 50mm such as hands. Furthermore, it is protected against vertical water drops. It is not very reliable.


IP22 provides protection against objects larger than 12.5mm, for example, fingers. Additionally, it provides protection against 15 degrees of vertical water drops. Slightly better than IP11, but avoid exposing your device to water or dust.


An IP33 rating provides protection from objects larger than 2.5mm protection, for example, tools and wires. Furthermore, it is protected from water splashes up to 60 degrees from vertical.


An IP44 rating means your device is protected against objects larger than 1.0mm, including small wires and other small objects. The rating additionally ensures protection against water splashes from any direction.


The IP55 rating provides dust protection, but some dust particles may still enter the enclosure. Furthermore, the rating ensures that the device can handle water jets.


An IP66 rating means that the target device is completely protected from dust particles – it is dust-tight. Moreover, it gets protection from powerful jet water


An IP67 device is completely dust-tight and protected against temporary water immersion – typically up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.


An IP68 rated device is dust-tight and protected against continuous water immersion – usually more than 1 meter, but the exact depth is defined by the specific manufacturer.


The IP68 rated device is dust-tight and protected against high water pressure and water jets.


An IPX6 rating means the device is protected against powerful water jets. It has no protection against solids like dust.


IPX7 provides protection against temporary water immersion up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. It also does not provide any dust protection.


With IPX8 the item can be submerged in water, usually to a depth of more than 1 meter. There is also no dust protection here.

List of ATM Ratings

rating water depth (pressure) purpose
1ATM 10 meters The device can handle a water depth of 10 meters
3ATM 30 meters The device can handle a water depth of 30 meters
5ATM 50 meters The device can handle a water depth of 50 meters
10ATM 100 meters The device can handle a water depth of 100 meters

Types of ATM Ratings

ATM ratings are commonly found on wearable electronics such as smartwatches and fitness bands. As you can see in the table, each ATM rating brings different levels of protection when placed at different water pressure levels. The ATM rating allows users to wear the device while doing shallow water activities such as swimming.

For example, a 5ATM rating means the device can handle up to 50 meters in still water. Below is a description of each ATM rating commonly used by manufacturers around the world.


Devices with a 1ATM rating can handle a 10-meter water depth pressure; Usually up to 10 minutes.


3ATM rated device can handle 30 meters water depth pressure.


5ATM rated device can handle 50 meters water depth pressure.


Devices with a 10ATM rating maintain water pressure equivalent to a water depth of 100 meters.

Military Certifications: What Does It Mean?

Some devices on the market carry military-grade certifications instead of IP or ATM ratings. For example, most laptops these days come with military certification like “MIL-STD 810H”, a rating system used by the US military to guarantee the durability of devices even under harsh conditions. A MIL-STD 810G or new MIL-STD 810HA -rated device – be it a smartphone or a laptop or any other device – must meet 26 consecutive durability tests to guarantee a certain level of durability that can withstand harsh environments. These tests include temperature tests, low-temperature tests, drop tests, humidity tests, altitude tests, vibration tests, and more.

Water Resistant vs Water Proof: What’s the Difference?

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The terms water-resistant and waterproof are sometimes used interchangeably in the tech world, but here’s the difference. A waterproof device is not required Waterproof in nature. Manufacturers often use the term water resistance for IP and ATM ratings. The latest example is the latest Apple Watch Series 8It has a water resistance rating of up to 50 meters It conforms to ISO standard 22810:2010. In general terms, a water resistance rating is a must That is – a device that can handle splashes of water or is safe to use when performing shallow-water activities such as swimming at certain water pressure levels – but isn’t Fully protected From water from all situations.

In addition, many manufacturers test devices under laboratory conditions. For example, the manufacturer may have tested the device’s water-resistant capabilities in fresh water or distilled water (a term for ultrapure water) but not in salt water. In other words, although IP water resistance ratings provide a certain level of protection against water, you should keep your smartphone away from water as much as possible, even if it has a high IP or ATM rating.

Salts in water are something you should keep in mind when they come into contact with water. When water gets inside the device, either through high water pressure levels or through broken or damaged seals protecting the smartphone, these salts can accumulate in the internal circuit over time and cause a short circuit, which can permanently damage the device.

How to protect your phone from water and dust

While most smartphones these days come with at least some level of protection from water even without an IP or ATM rating, how do you protect and/or protect your device if water ever gets into it? Below are some pointers that will help you protect your device if the smartphone accidentally gets water.


  • As soon as you suspect that the smartphone has water leakage, the first step here is to switch off the smartphone as soon as possible. This is done to prevent short circuit from occurring.
  • The next step is to remove any connected peripherals, such as USB adapters and wired headphones. And ideally, remove the battery if the smartphone has a removable battery.
  • Dry the smartphone with a dry cloth and wrap it in a tissue paper or towel. You can place the smartphone in warm sunlight to dry the water. Or place the smartphone in a bowl of rice, but while turning on the device, make sure no grains of rice get stuck in the ports causing a short circuit.
  • Backup any important data from your smartphone as soon as you turn on the device.
  • Finally, you can take the smartphone to the manufacturer’s service center to determine if there is any damage to the device.
  • And as a precautionary measure, if you think your smartphone might get water, use waterproof pouches.


  • Do not turn on the phone if you suspect there is still water inside.
  • Do not shake the smartphone and keep it as still as possible. You don’t want water getting deeper into the smartphone circuit.
  • Don’t go into smartphones for the same reason that water doesn’t get inside.
  • Do not use a hair dryer/blow dryer to dry the smartphone. Smartphones don’t like too much heat.
  • Avoid pressing any keys like volume and power buttons. This can push water deep into the smartphone circuit.
  • Do not plug your USB accessories and especially your charger into the smartphone. Wait for the phone to turn off.

Source by 91 Mobiles

Written By Sabhitech

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