iPhone durability ?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Dr. Striker, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. Dr. Striker macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2011
    Hello, long time lurker first time poster. The iPhone 5 will be my first smartphone. I'm really excited about getting one, but in reading some of the post on here people talk about the need to upgrade because their 3GS has died or even that their IP4 is on its last leg.

    I am not someone who upgrades every year. Heck I am still rocking a Sony Ericsson w600i which I know is older than many of the iPhone models and its still going strong. I tend to take good care of my electronics, but I need to know what is the general consensus regarding iPhone durability as it will be my phone for at least two or three years. Thank you for your replies in advance.
  2. aohus macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2010
    iPhone 4 has horrible accident rate. Thats what happens when you make a phone made of all glass.

    If you want durability, I'd get a Blackberry. Those phones are tanks. Or the Motorola Defy. Its waterproof.
  3. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    My ip4 is perfect no scratches marks or anything. Batter life is great and I don't leave home without it!

    Every phone has durability issues, that is the owner! Look after your phone and it'll last. Abuse it and well need I say more!
  4. PapaStu macrumors member


    Jan 8, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    I'm in pretty much the same boat OP, except my Audiovox POS is going on 6.

    I think some of it has to do with the OS of a device (some of those 3G's are long in the tooth and are just bogged down by the OS to a level of being useless) or the few years of relatively heavy use and batteries that can't just be switched out (yes you can change them, but its not as simple as a open the back of your dumb phone and pop in a new battery).

    That coupled with the general abuse any portable device gets (my phone has some good scars on it) could push it over the edge. I've got a coworker w/ a 3GS thats got some nasty cracks in the case and a less than responsive SIM card reader now. One good crack of a piece of glass (front or back) and your phone looks like it's taken a bullet, just like the HTC android phone another coworker has that got dropped within the first week he had it. That spider web crack has only gotten bigger with time and additional use and to replace the glass vs getting a new device has been why he didn't toss extra at a phone he really hasn't ever liked all that much.
  5. Ivabign macrumors 6502


    Mar 27, 2011
    I have a 4 and have had it for 12 months - take off the case and the screen protectors and it is as new - extrapolate that over 24 months and I think I will still have an as-new phone - I take very good care of my electronics.... Now that doesn't take into account dropping the phone, or leaving it in a dirty environment (I hear about home button issues - some repaired with a vacuum) - Bottom Line, if you take care of it - it will last.
  6. Vundu macrumors 65816


    Jun 10, 2009
    Manchester, UK
    All depends how well you look after it. My wifes 3G is still going strong.
  7. edk99 macrumors 6502a

    May 27, 2009
    If your not going to put a case on it don't get an iPhone. 2-3 years without a case it will shatter eventually especially if the iP5 has the glass back like the iP4.
  8. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    The iPhone will last you fine as long as you don't treat it badly. If its going to be tossed all the time without any protection, it certainly won't last.
  9. MaxBurn macrumors 65816


    Nov 25, 2010
    I think the 3GS was an excellent durability design but the 4 sure doesn't seem to be. No problems myself but I am always aware the 4 isn't as durable as my other blackberry.
  10. nefan65 macrumors 65816


    Apr 15, 2009
    Years ago I a had a Nokia bar phone. I dropped it, and guess what? IT BROKE! Fast forward to 2005; had a BlackBerry 8800. Had it in my hand getting out of the car, and bumped it just right. Fell on the seat, bounced and hit the pavement glass first. Guess what? IT BROKE!

    Sorry for the silliness of the stories, but my point is that anything dropped can/will break. The iPhone 4 is no exception. Granted, both sides are glass, so there's a better chance of broken glass. But it's not more prone to breaks than any other phone, when it's dropped.

    If you take care of it [and I don't mean baby it], and clean it regularly it'll be fine. I've had my 4 since release, and it's fine. Never dropped it, so it's fully in tact, and no scratches...

  11. msb3079 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 20, 2010
    collingswood. nj
    Mine and all of my friends are in fantastic condition. Don't just make assumptions.


    And if anything... in some situations, the glass can help, since it will give and break, but possibly protect the rest.
    You can have the broken glass back replaced for $30 or possibly FREE. But with another phone, you may not be able to do that.

    Personally, I like the glass back.
  12. NJFP macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2009
    My wife has hers in a rubber bumper cover. Dropped it on the tile floor, it tumbled and tumbled. But it's fine.
  13. aohus macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2010
    its not an assumption. its fact. whats hilarious is that your evidence is from a few people you personally know


    Here is the MacRumors link. http://www.macrumors.com/2010/11/09...iable-least-rugged-among-popular-smartphones/

    iPhone4 is the least rugged handset out of its competitors.



    where is your evidence? oh you don't have any empirical data to back your claim up.
  14. Ivabign macrumors 6502


    Mar 27, 2011
    I had a Motorola StarTac 7868 (Still do, somewhere in my desk) that I left on the top of my car - I drove to work. I didn't see it in my rearview mirror until I was on the I-5 South going 60.... I doubled back and there it was, near the center divider - NOT BROKE... Amazing build quality - but it was just a phone - although I remember being able to follow sports scores on the internet on that tiny screen....

    Not all phones are as fragile as the 4 - take care of it.

    I am older and wiser now - and don't put my phone on the car anymore. Or won't admit to it.
  15. Thetonyk123 macrumors 68000


    Aug 14, 2011
    The durability is awesome I know some people who have had it since launch with just a simple silicon case and its still in awesome shape.
  16. Number 41 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2009
    You could say this about anything -- "Take care of it and it'll last." A phone made of Balsa wood would last if you took care of it properly.

    The issue is, how does the iPhone fare on an accidental drop? A quick trip to google gives me all the answers I need about the benefits of glass construction:


    Glass = Fail
  17. zachlegomaniac macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2008
    My wife is pretty easy on her 3GS (exactly 2 years old), and the home button sometimes doesn't respond anymore. Also, the vibrate switch doesn't work as of two months ago.

    I dropped my iPhone 4 the one time I took it out of it's case (of course), and the glass shattered.

    However, I bought a case called "Ballistic HC," (online/at ATT store) because I run a gardening business, and it's kept my iPhone 4 in great shape even when I remove the case. It's pretty bulky, but it works great, and the phone looks good.

    Also, I tend to sell the most current model on craigslist for almost the same amount I pay for it under contract renewal each year. That way I get a brand new piece of hardware that won't fail on me for work for about a $50 upgrade each year!

    It has always seemed to me that the cheap phones I have purchased in the past are bulletproof, but taking care of a more delicate and advanced piece of equipment has been worth it to me.
  18. Interstella5555 macrumors 603


    Jun 30, 2008

    Yet you somehow think a graph on the internet is "empirical data"? Give me a break, just because you learned a new word in science yesterday doesn't mean that you know how to use it. Considering my 3 iPhones are all in perfect working condition and have never been in a case, I too can make anecdotal claims about durability...which will hold about as much weight as your empirical data.
  19. aohus macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2010
    study was done by squaretrade, a reputable source. its not some random hocus pocus study there bud. so wait, you're saying that MacRumors is posting information that isn't valid neither? MacRumors posted this themselves. So you're questioning them too?

    Read up on the study here: http://www.squaretrade.com/pages/cell-phone-comparison-study-nov-10

    /shaking my head....

    its clear you're in grade school. 'learned a new word in science class.' LOL. cute.
  20. Number 41 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2009
    Someone should go back to science class if they want to argue that anecdotal claims hold as much weight as empirical data. :eek:

    Besides, we can all play that game -- I know 5 people who have shattered their iPhones and either had to get new phones or pay for replacement glass.
  21. PNutts macrumors 601


    Jul 24, 2008
    Pacific Northwest, US
    Even without the charts (great job aohus) I don't think there is any great concern about the guts. One year is enough to shake out any issues and AppleCare gives you another.

    I would never recommend someone not get an iPhone :) , but I agree with edk99 and say a case is highly recommended. Either that or be prepared for repair costs. I won't use mine without a case. I have an otterbox when the kids use it and an Apple Bumper when I want to enjoy the form factor.

    Sorry, I don't understand the "just take care of it" comments. This is the first slim slick (as in less resistance to friction and pretty darn cool) glass phone I've owned and it has slipped or tried to slip out of my pocket on more than one occassion. Life happens whether it slips out of your pocket or something knocks it out of your hands or you fumble it once. I take good care of my electronics but accidents happen.
  22. msb3079 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 20, 2010
    collingswood. nj

    I know that mine shows MUCH LESS wear and tear than any of my previous iPhones. It's much easier to keep in better shape. I said what I said because I feel like people exaggerate the iPhone 4 breaking because of the glass back. Even so... like I said in my other post... if the back of the iPhone 4 breaks - it's easy to replace. If the back of an iPhone 3GS CRACKS... well it is NOT easy to replace.

    I'm glad that data gives you a boner... but to me that's not real world and I don't see much of a dramatic difference. Also, much more of the general population has bought the iPhone 4 compared to previous models.

    To each their own. People just need to take care of their belongings, IMO.
  23. blairh macrumors 68040


    Dec 11, 2007
    To the OP:

    I always felt that the hard plastic backing of the 3G/3GS was surprisingly strong. I went case-less because it felt nice in my hand and I was careful with it.

    With the iPhone 4 I tried going case-less and couldn't pull it off. The glass back is insanely slippery and the flat nature of the backing is not conducive to holding it in your hand during phone calls (at least not for me). I've been using a silicone case since week 1 and yesterday I got an Otterbox Defender (which I love) because I want even more protection.

    I was relieved to sell off the iPhone 3G last summer because the upgrade to iOS 4 (I believe) essentially ruined the performance of my iPhone. This was a common complaint among 3G iPhone owners.

    My iPhone 4 is a year old and physically (due to using with a case) is in mint condition. It also is very snappy with respect to the latest iOS and hopefully this will continue with iOS 5.

    As for how long you can squeeze out of one iPhone. The truth is no one can answer your specific inquiry because no one knows for sure what the iPhone 5 will be or look like. We would need confirmation of what it entails before answering you question.

    I'll tell you what I know. If the iPhone 5 has a glass back like the iPhone 4, then yes, you need to be careful with it. Personally I find it to be much more difficult to use sans case than the 3G/3GS. So if the iPhone 5 is glass, get a good case. Trust me.

    If the iPhone 5 is some other material like hard plastic, aluminum, etc, the story might be different.

    With respect to software updates, I've got to think this shouldn't be too much of an issue. People are still buying up new 3GS's so clearly they can handle the iOS updates just fine. If you take care of your iPhone I'm confident you can easily get 2 years out of it. Maybe even 3. I would purchase the next iPhone with total confidence. Just use common sense with how you treat it, which I'm sure you will.

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