Stop doing stupid stuff with your smartphone!

While many modern smartphones claim a high level of water- and dust resistance, it is not recommended that you immerse them in pool water or sea water and get sand into all their crevices.

Must read: iPhone, iPad, and Mac buyer’s guide: July 2019 edition

Summer is here, so people are heading off to the beach for fun. And what better way to spend that time than with a smartphone in your hand… wait, no.

OK, I know that it’s hard, almost impossible, to leave the smartphone at home these days because they have become a focal point for our lives, but beaches and pools are harsh environments for electronic devices, even ones that claim to be water and dust resistant. But even if the ads show you that it’s safe and fun to go swimming with your smartphone  – even if the maker itself says on its website that the water resistance measures are only designed for fresh water – it’s just not a good idea.

The first issue is that pool water, sea water and sand are incredibly bad for electronics. These are harsh substances that can abrade and corrode vital components. Get a single drop of seawater of chlorinated pool water into a device and it is history. I’ve seen the damage that even a tiny, almost imperceptible, amount of sea or pool water can do, and it isn’t pretty.

Another thing to bear in mind is that seawater and pool water is conductive, and if that gets into an electronic device it can create short circuits and possibly cause the battery to overheat and catch fire.

Sand also sucks. It can clog charging ports and speaker grills, not to mention abrade metal, plastic, and glass.

But you’re probably wondering how pool or sea water is going to get inside a smartphone that’s rated to be water resistant.

Well, a lot of things can affect water resistance, from forgetting to insert the SIM tray properly to damage caused by bending or dropping the device, to just plain old wear and tear. Also, remember that water resistance tests are carried out in still water, and that moving water – anything from rivers to the sea to things like waterfalls – all create more water pressure, and that additional water pressure can find its way into the tiniest of gaps.

Yes, you can probably get away with dunking your modern IP68 rated smartphone into a pool or the sea, and you will quite probably get some cool shots, but if things go wrong then you’re down a smartphone.

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