Apple’s iPhones are actually a lot tougher than they look. Despite their glass enclosures, Apple’s use of extremely durable smartphone glass means that they hold up surprisingly well under real-world conditions and drop tests alike.
In fact, when Apple released the iPhone XS last year, it touted it as having the most durable smartphone glass ever made, and a series of drop tests last fall showed that it held up surprisingly well, beating out even the prior iPhone X at surviving not only drops from pocket height, but also head-height drop tests.
Although Apple doesn’t talk about specifics in terms of the glass it uses, the company has a long-standing partnership with Corning, and it’s generally believed that the most recent iPhones use Corning’s newest Gorilla Glass 6.
Raising the Bar
Earlier this year, another set of drop tests showed that the iPhone XS Max even beat out Samsung’s newest flagship, the Galaxy S10+, in terms of overall survivability of typical drops. While the iPhone XS Max wasn’t unfazed by most drops, the Galaxy S10+ definitely fared much worse.
However, as 9to5Mac reports, PhoneBuff has now pitted the iPhone XS Max against Samsung’s newest flagship, the Galaxy Note 10+, the latter of which definitively features Gorilla Glass 6 on both the front and the back of the device, and it seems that the Samsung device has now been crowned the new champion at surviving drop tests.
Specifically, while the Note 10+ fared worse when it landed on its back or its corners, it did much better when dropped on its front, or dropped repeatedly, with the entire touchscreen remaining usable even after 10 consecutive drops.
However, this title may not last for long, since Apple’s 2019 iPhones are expected to land in only a couple of weeks, and along with a whole list of other expected features, Bloomberg is reporting that the new models will “hold up better when they’re dropped due to new shatter-resistance technology.”
It’s not clear exactly how Apple will accomplish this in terms of the glass manufacturing process — Corning’s Gorilla Glass doesn’t appear to have been significantly updated, but it’s also possible that the two companies are working on an iteration of the glass technology that will enhance it in this one area, or it could simply be related to other structural changes within the body of the iPhone itself.
Do Drop Tests Prove Anything?
The real world experiences we’ve all had would suggest that many of these drop tests don’t really pan out under real-world conditions, but it’s also fair to say that you probably don’t remember the times you’ve dropped your iPhone and didn’t damage it, but you’ll always remember that one time that you did.
Still, most of the drop tests we see on YouTube are far from scientific — in fact, they’re more for entertainment value than anything you should be drawing conclusions from — and even if a drop test was able to show a 100% rate of survivability of the new iPhone 11, we’re not about to walk around without putting a case on it, and we don’t think you should either — unless of course you’re Tim Cook and can have your iPhone replaced with the snap of your fingers.