OnePlus’ latest phones made quite a big splash at the beginning of 2024, offering flagship-level specs and features at much more modest price tags compared to the competition. The company has long been known for its “flagship killer” moniker, which it coined and earned in the glory days of its rise when the OG OnePlus phone was launched.

Well, the OnePlus 12 and OnePlus 12R are carrying this spirit without a doubt, and one of their standout features is something OnePlus is calling Aqua Touch technology. If you haven’t heard about it already, you might guess what it refers to solely by its name. Simply put, OnePlus has made the displays of its latest phones in a way that allows them to continue working even when they are extremely damp.

But what is Aqua Touch to begin with, and how exactly has this “magic” been achieved? Is OnePlus the only manufacturer that has phones that can work when their displays are wet? Let’s take a closer look at this.

What are touch-sensitive displays?

Before we can even start to figure out how a phone’s display can continue working after it’s been sprayed with lots of water, we first need to understand how it works in a normal, dry state.

There are mainly two types of touchscreens that modern gadgets use — either resistive, which is what you will find on an ATM machine, or capacitive, which is what our phones have.

Resistive touchscreens

Resistive displays are cheaper to manufacture, which is why they are typically used in products meant for mass use. They are usually less precise and responsive to touch, with the top layer being a clear flexible material that is almost always made out of plastic, with a layer of glass sitting beneath it.

Both layers are covered with a conductive substance, so when you press on the flexible part, you practically bend it enough for it to touch the glass beneath, and the two connect. The point at which the layers connect is then recognized by the device, telling the software to respond depending on the area you touched.

Capacitive touchscreens

Capacitive screens began to increase in popularity in 2007 when Apple launched the original iPhone. Since then, the main ingredients of the formula have generally remained the same for all phone models, with tough glass as the top protective layer, the driving and sensing lines that help determine your finger’s position and the LCD or OLED screen.

How does Aqua Touch on OnePlus work?

Typically, the capacitive touchscreens that our phones use have a difficult time dealing with water droplets on top of them. That’s because these displays rely on the electric current we emit through our fingers in order to determine which part of the display was touched. Well, most water, like from rain or your sink at home, disrupts that electrical current, which results in the phone recognizing random inputs when you touch it while it is wet. This makes typing, swiping, or any other hand gesture unreliable and inaccurate.

You might think that, as a response to this issue, OnePlus has added or tweaked some of the hardware making up its latest phone’s displays, but you would be wrong. The company has figured out a way to make the phones recognize when they are wet or being touched by wet hands, which triggers a change in the display’s responsiveness.

OnePlus has not revealed what exactly goes behind the scenes, but more likely than not, we are looking at some kind of algorithm here and not just an increase in sensitivity.

The fact that this is a software solution also means that even if you scratch and crack the display, it should continue to function the same way while wet, as it does even when it is undamaged. Interestingly, Samsung’s Galaxy S24 series also seems to perform almost as well as the Aqua Touch display on the OnePlus 12 and 12R, so this might not be as exclusive as the OnePlus made it out to be. Apple’s iPhones, on the other hand, don’t appear to have this innovation just yet, as we say in popular YouTuber JerryRigEverything’s video very recently.

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The post OnePlus Aqua Touch display technology explained: How it works and the issue it solves first appeared on

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