So the Pixel’s not waterproof — there are workarounds!
For most people, the Google Pixel’s lack of waterproofing isn’t a total dealbreaker, and most folks will pick up a Pixel or Pixel XL without giving waterproofing a second thought.
Then there are those of us who have dropped our phones in the toilet at some point or have a loved one who has (like a certain writer’s wife), so we know the perils that can come from a not-so-waterproof phone. Even if you’ve had cell phones since the 90s and have never had a phone damaged by water, you might believe waterproofing your phone is just good sense.
And it is, just in case.
The Pixel’s IP rating
First off, the Pixel isn’t entirely vulnerable to water. It has an IP53 rating. This means that it’s nearly impervious to dust (5) and can handle light sprays of water (3), like a light drizzle or mist.
No phone can ever be called truly waterproof, since there’s no consensus on what constitutes a “waterproof” rating, so the best any manufacturer or you can do is try and make your device water-resistant. Here’s how to up your Pixel’s water resistance.
For time’s sake, I’ll say “waterproofing” throughout this article, but I really meant “adding water resistance”.
Get a water-resistant case
The most logical option for waterproofing your Pixel is to slap on a water-resistant case. This way you still get full use of your phone without having to hide it away from the elements. Here are some of the best waterproof cases you can get:
The LifeProof FRE is your answer to protecting your Pixel or Pixel XL from everything. LifeProof claims these cases are waterproof, dirt-proof, snow-proof, and drop-proof (from up to 6.6 feet), so you’ll never have to worry about your Pixel — it’s in good hands.
LifeProof’s FRE is rated IP68 for ingress protection, which is as high as it gets, meaning that you’ll have to work pretty hard to get any dirt or dust in there, and your Pixel would have to be submerged in 3 feet of water for more than half an hour to risk damage. Each case also passes the U.S. Military Standard test for drops and vibrations, so you’d be hard-pressed to rattle your Pixel’s cage.
This is likely the best case for you if you’re looking to waterproof your Pixel and protect it from whatever else might befall it.
For now, the FRE only comes in Asphalt Black and starts around $60.
Grab a sack… A water-resistant sack!
Universal water-resistant phone bags are an awesome way to keep your Pixel totally dry and are perfect for folks living the active life or vacation. Water-resistant bags aren’t a practical solution, so you likely won’t use one every day, but for times when you’re at the beach, hiking, or know you’ll be out in heavy rain, they’re excellent for keeping your phone a phone and not a brick.
JOTO universal dry bag
JOTO’s waterproof bag is rated IPX8, which is as good as it gets for ingress protection. It basically means that your phone can be safely submerged in this bag for an indeterminate amount of time. JOTO even says it’s good to 100 feet deep!
There’s a clear window on the front and back, so you can continue to use your Pixel and even take photos with the case/bag on. These bags fit phones up to 6 inches diagonally, so your Pixel XL is good to go, but you might have to remove a protective case if you have one on already.
The snap and lock closure is easy to use, and while securing your Pixel tightly, it’s easy to put it in and take it out without much fuss. There’s also a handy lanyard attached, so you can secure it to your swim trunks or cargo shorts and off you go!
You might as well grab a few, since these are only $7 apiece.
If you don’t feel like shelling out $90 for a LifeProof case and a waterproof bag doesn’t really suit your lifestyle, then you’ll just want to do your best to your keep your Pixel as dry as possible.
Don’t take it out in the rain
This may seem like a no-brainer, but the urge to check a text while walking down the street on a rainy day can sometimes overcome you. Yes, the Pixel has an IP53 rating, so a little rain won’t bring it down, but if you’re looking to keep it pristine, inside and out, then keep it pocketed in the wet weather.
Bring a comic book!
Don’t bring your Pixel into the bathroom with you. Yes, playing Two Dots on the can is a great way to… “pass” the time (badum tshhh!). Not only is it grody, but what if you’re running a bath while you’re on the John? You rest your phone on the edge of the tub just for a second so you can finish off and wash up. As you stand, your knee grazes your phone. Splash! Au revoir, Pixel.
OK, so maybe it’s not that dramatic, but just leave your phone outta the bathroom and bring a comic book instead, huh?
If it gets wet, dry it off
That may seem like another no-brainer, but if your Pixel gets a little wet, wipe it down with a soft cloth or, at the very least, the sleeve of your shirt, especially if your phone’s in a case. No, it’s not likely that that water will get inside and do any damage, but do you want to take that chance?
Front pockets only
If you have to pocket your Pixel, make sure it’s the front pocket only. There seems to be this trend (especially among women) of folks keeping their phones in their back pockets. My wife kindly explained to me that women often do this because their jeans aren’t made with big front pockets because they’re so tight. Fair enough. Put it in your purse or anywhere else that’s not your bra.
If you go to sit on the toilet with your phone in your back pocket, you may just drop it in when you pull your pants up or down. Trust me. It happens. And you might have even just bought her an awesome case that was probably a little more expensive than cool phone cases should be, and when she got a new phone, she got the next iteration, so the awesome case didn’t fit.
Front pockets or purses only (or jacket pockets or whatever; just no parking in rear)!
Your best option for waterproofing your new Pixel or Pixel XL is the LifeProof FRE, but if that’s too expensive for you, get a waterproof bag for traveling, and just be careful otherwise.
Updated August 2017: The LifeProof FRE is still the only waterproof case for Pixel, but it’s come down about $20!
- Google Pixel and Pixel XL review
- Google Pixel XL review: A U.S. perspective
- Google Pixel FAQ: Should you upgrade?
- Pixel + Pixel XL specs
- Understanding Android 7.1 Nougat
- Join the discussion in the forums!