How to Use a Phone in the Shower (without water damage)

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to safely use a phone in the shower without it breaking apart because of all the water. And yes, you can even use non-waterproof phones in the shower!

That being said, you do have to follow a few precautions and before bringing the phone into the shower.

Beware of the steam, not the water

Many modern smartphones, especially high-end ones such as iPhones and Samsung Galaxies, come with an IP68 rating, which means they are waterproof and dustproof and can be submerged under water for up to 30 minutes. Read more here about IP ratings.

To check your smartphone’s IP rating, simply google “[your smartphone model] IP rating” and it should be the first result.

However, even phones with IP68 are protected only against water, not steam.

This is because steam (basically water in a gas state) is made of much smaller particles than liquid water.

Water particles are too big to pass through the seals and chemical coating applied to waterproof smartphones.

However, steam particles are small enough that they can sneak through microscopic holes in the waterproof coating, and can then reach into the sensitive electronics inside damaging them.

As such, if you plan to use a smartphone in the shower, you’ll have to worry more about the steam rather the water.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to minimize the risk.

1.      Prevent steam from forming in the bathroom

If you want to use the phone in the shower, make sure there’s as little steam as possible.

The easiest way to do that is to simply open up a window. This creates air flow and gives the warm, damp bathroom air a means to escape.

Next, showering with warm water instead of hot will help a lot, since there will be much less evaporation and steam.

Things get a bit trickier if you don’t have a bathroom window, but there are some options such as:

  • Fit in an extractor fan. This pulls out humid air from inside the bathroom and expels it outside.
  • Buy a shower dehumidifier. Can cost anywhere from $50 to 200 depending on the model.

If you’ve followed all these steps, you’ll know it’s safe to use a smartphone if the glass on mirrors and windows are mostly dry and without condensation.

This means there is little to no steam in the bathroom, so any risk of water damaging your smartphone is minimal, especially with IP68 or IP67 rated smartphones.

2.      How to use non-waterproof phones in the shower

Assuming you’ve solved the steam problem, the other major important thing you need to worry about is water.

As mentioned previously, many high-end smartphones nowadays have an IP68 rating, meaning they can be safely dunked into water for a few minutes.

An IP67 rating also means that a phone is waterproof, but to a much lesser degree. In fact, most manufacturers consider IP67 to be “splash proof” and IP68 “waterproof”.

This means an IP67 phone won’t have much of an issue if splashed with water or if you accidentally drop it in the bathtub but immediately pick it up.  

However, an IP67 phone can’t reliably cope with being submerged in water for any extended period of time.

Finally, if your smartphone isn’t waterproof in any way (meaning no IP rating), then you’ll have to make sure water doesn’t touch your phone at all.

The easy but risky way to do that is to just be extra careful and not let water touch the phone.

The more expensive but safe way is to buy either a waterproof case for your phone (more expensive) or an affordable universal smartphone waterproof pouch ($8-10).

That particular pouch has a touch sensitive protective screen so you can actually use the smartphone and not just look at a video while it’s playing.

Finally, also make sure you properly rinse your hands of soap, since even waterproof smartphones aren’t protected against soap.

3.      To listen to music, consider getting a waterproof Bluetooth speaker

If you just want to listen to music, then consider getting a waterproof Bluetooth speaker instead.

Simply place the Bluetooth speaker in a part of the bathroom where water and steam don’t reach as easily and let them play the music as you’re showering.

Even if you’ve never needed one so far, know that they are super convenient and even the cheapest ones have better sound quality than the best smartphones.

Also, some models are quite affordable (meaning $30-50), including the ones rated IP68.

Their biggest advantage however is that you can use them in many, many other ways and not just listening to music while in the shower.