Apple has announced the third-generation AirPods are IPX4 sweat and water resistant. What exactly does that mean for the normal user? Let’s take a look at what these numbers mean and decipher the AirPods IPX4 rating.
What Is the IP Rating?
In this situation, IP stands for Ingress Protection. International standard IEC 60529 is the document defining these ratings and how to test for them. It’s how well a device can keep out unwanted solids and liquids. The rating begins with the letters IP, followed by a numerical rating for the protection against solids, then a similar rating for liquids. Solids would usually refer to dust particles, and liquid refers to water and/or sweat.
With headphones, there’s rarely a need to protect against dust. If the device offers no ingress protection against solids, the rating replaces that numeral with the letter X.
So, in the case of the IPX4 rating given the new AirPods, we know there’s no protection against dust. Apple’s third-generation AirPods have a liquid resistance rating of 4.
The Numeric Ratings
For water ingress protection, here are the ratings, from 0 to 9.
- IPX0: The device has no protection at all.
- IPX1: The accessory can handle vertical dripping water, like the rain dripping from your roof.
- IPX2: Your device can safely withstand vertical dripping water, even when tilted tilted up to 15 degrees into the water.
- IPX3: With this rating, you can safely assume your accessory will be okay when subjected to spraying water at a 30-degree angle.
- IPX4: Splashes of water, from any angle, won’t hurt the device.
- IPX5: This rating means protection against low-pressure water jets at any angle.
- IPX6: Such devices are safe even when subjected to high-pressure water jets from any angle.
- IPX7: This accessory would be protected against immersion in water up to 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes.
- IPX8: This rating means the device is safe from the effects of water under pressure for extended periods.
- IPX9: The ultimate protection, a device with this rating can withstand close-range, powerful, high temperature water jets.
Your AirPods Are Safe in the Rain, Not the Swimming Pool
All of this means that AirPods can handle exposure to rain and sweat without any problems. You cannot go swimming with them on, though.