Surprise! Your new iPhone 11 can break if you drop it

It's no surprise that what is essentially two slabs of glass wrapped around some electronics can still break if it falls on hard ground.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
A lineup of broken iPhone 11 handsets

A lineup of broken iPhone 11 handsets


It will come as absolutely no surprise to you to hear that the new iPhone 11 can break if you manhandle it or drop it on hard ground. However, testing carried out by protection plan provider SquareTrade did find an improvement in durability. Here's the video showing the testing, along with the results:

Though the tests showed that the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Max's promoted more durable glass can still shatter when subjected to a major drop, the tests did find that the new iPhones handled small drops better than previous models.

In fact, during SquareTrade's TumbleBot tests, the iPhone 11 Pro made it through the tests with minimal scuffs, and it becomes the first phone to survive the tumbling test.

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What is interesting is that water still appears to be a problem for the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Max, with both suffering audio distortion following the dunk test.

The iPhone 11 Pro didn't have any issues after being submerged in water.

"After our robots dropped, dunked, tumbled and bent the devices, we found the new iPhone 11 Pro to be the most durable iPhone we've tested in generations," said Jason Siciliano, vice president, and global creative director at SquareTrade. "It's the first smartphone to survive our tumble test, which simulates the effects of multiple, random impacts experienced by a smartphone during long-term use. That's a real achievement when it comes to durability. However, dropping any of the new iPhone 11 models on a sidewalk without a case, face-down or back-down can still cause serious damage, as we saw with our drop tests."

Here are the results of the different tests:

  • Tumble Tests: iPhone 11 Pro is the first smartphone to survive SquareTrade tumble test, ending up with virtually no damage. However, the glass back panels of both the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max cracked during the test, with loose glass visible on the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
  • Bend Tests: iPhone 11 and 11 Pro bent at around 250 lbs of pressure, similar to the iPhone X. However, neither iPhone 11 or 11 Pro cracked while bending, showing added durability. The larger iPhone 11 Pro Max cracked at 230 lbs of pressure and was unusable.
  • Dunk Test: iPhone 11 Pro survived 30 minutes in five feet of water with no damage. The iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max suffered audio distortion issues after the test, which continued after drying out.
  • Face-Down Drop Tests: All three iPhone 11 models cracked on their first face-down sidewalk drop test. The iPhone 11 shattered, resulting in loose glass. The iPhone 11 Pro shattered and its screen malfunctioned. The iPhone 11 Pro Max shattered, its screen malfunctioned, and it became unusable.
  • Back-Down Drop Tests: All three iPhone 11 models cracked on their first back-down sidewalk drop test. iPhone 11 shattered causing damage to its camera lenses. iPhone 11 Pro shattered resulting in severe damage around the camera lenses and loose glass to appear. iPhone 11 Pro Max cracked causing damage to the camera lens. The camera continued to function on all models.

The bottom line is this: don't drop a thing made of glass.

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