iPhone XS and XS Max Survive Liquid Dunk, but Shatter Immediately in Drop Test

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Following new iPhone releases, the devices are always subjected to a range of durability tests, and the iPhone XS and XS Max are no exception. Over the weekend, warranty company SquareTrade conducted several tests on the two new smartphones, checking Apple's claims of IP68 water resistance and more durable glass.

According to Apple, the iPhone XS and XS Max are using "the most durable glass ever in a smartphone" and have improved IP68 water resistance, meaning they can withstand water up to two meters deep for approximately 30 minutes.


In SquareTrade's tests, the two iPhones stood up well to liquids, but the more durable glass didn't prevent them from shattering when dropped.

It only took a single back down drop test from a six foot range onto a hard surface for the iPhone XS to shatter entirely, resulting in broken, loose glass across the back of the device. Like the iPhone X, the iPhone XS and XS Max feature glass on the front and back to enable wireless charging.

The result was the same for the iPhone XS Max, with back glass of the smartphone shattering after being dropped from a six-foot height. The stainless steel frames Apple uses for the iPhone XS and XS Max protected the two devices during a side drop test, but the face down drop test also resulted in breakage.

When dropped face down, the iPhone XS suffered a shattered and malfunctioning display, while the iPhone XS Max was impacted with hairline cracks and loose glass but still had a usable display.

After a 60 second tumble test, both the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max were covered in hairline cracks, scratches, and featured loose glass after the damage, and in a pressure-based bend test, the iPhone XS cracked at 250 pounds and the screen failed entirely.

SquareTrade also tested the water resistance of the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max in a novel way, using a 5-foot 30 minute dunk test in a tank filled with 138 cans of beer. Beer was the liquid of choice for the test because Apple mentioned beer resistance during the keynote when the two devices were announced.

Both the iPhone XS and XS Max survived the extended beer bath and were entirely operational afterwards, confirming Apple's water resistance claims.

SquareTrade assigned each iPhone a "Breakability Score" taking into account performance on each of the tests, as broken down in the image below. iPhone XS earned a Breakability Score of 86, classified as "high risk," while iPhone XS Max earned a Breakability Score of 70, classified as "medium risk."


All in all, SquareTrade believes the iPhone XS and XS Max are stronger than the iPhone X, but are still prone to breaking easily given that both devices shattered on the first drop during the drop test.
"We were super impressed with the iPhone XS Max, which is much stronger than its discontinued predecessor, the iPhone X. However, as with the iPhone X, our tests show the all-glass design of the iPhone XS and XS Max make them highly susceptible to cracking, particularly from drops, the most common cause of damage, said Jason Siciliano, vice president global creative director at SquareTrade.

"Repair costs for the new iPhones are expected to be around $399 to replace a front screen and $599 to replace a shattered back. Considering $599 was the cost of the most expensive version of the very first iPhone, repair costs are now something to consider when buying a new iPhone. They're beautiful phones. Just hang on tight."
As with the iPhone X, non-warranty repairs for Apple's all-glass devices are expensive. Without AppleCare+, getting the screen replaced on the iPhone XS costs $279, while a screen repair for the iPhone XS Max costs $329.

Damage to the back of the device falls under the "Other repairs" category, which costs $549 for the iPhone XS and $599 for the iPhone XS Max, making AppleCare+ or a sturdy case a good idea.

Article Link: iPhone XS and XS Max Survive Liquid Dunk, but Shatter Immediately in Drop Test
 
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ksec

macrumors 65816
Dec 23, 2015
1,274
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That is the biggest concern for me. I buy an $1099 phone and I am expected to paid $549 when the back glasses broke? I mean the TCO ( Total cost of ownership ) has literally double or more from the iPhone 7 Plus era two years ago. You can buy an $199 Apple Care+ which pushes the phone to $1298, and for $256GB that is $1448.

I often wonder, at what sort of salary range are Apple targeting for iPhone Xs?
 

Chrjy

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2010
794
1,147
UK
Once again, glass breaks....who'd have thunk it!

On a side note, don't you need to do this test more than once to determine the result? If 5 identical phones all suffered the same consequences (no doubt they would being glass) doing exactly the same tests you have your evidence.
 

4jasontv

macrumors 68020
Jul 31, 2011
2,392
2,445
As someone who had a 6+ I am more concerned about that bendability score than discovering that glass breaks when dropped.
 

alexgowers

macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2012
1,334
886
So if you have Apple Care what are the prices? Or are they covered?

I Also have to mention that most people will be casing up their phones and these bare naked test seem mostly redundant. The only ones I'm interested in are water resistance and bend tests. The glass can only be harder and more brittle or softer and more break resistant. If apple is "making them stronger" I suspect they're also increasing brittleness or fail catastrophically like a Prince Ruperts Drop.
 
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FilipeTeixeira

macrumors regular
Mar 10, 2013
105
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I don't get it. A company which sells insurance for iPhones and so on, "tested" a device to prove that it breaks easily, meaning that probably you should insure it?
Isn't this a bit like when tobacco companies used to claim that smoking was good for your health, or am I missing something here?
 

Romeo_Nightfall

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2018
639
672
Vienna
I don't get it. A company which sells insurance for iPhones and so on, "tested" a device to prove that it breaks easily, meaning that probably you should insure it?
Isn't this a bit like when tobacco companies used to claim that smoking was good for your health, or am I missing something here?
yes - you are missing the videos, which are objective - the interpretation is subjective!
see the difference - now?
 
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AlexisV

macrumors 68000
Mar 12, 2007
1,603
95
Manchester, UK
Seems pretty moot.

I dropped my iPhone 6 and broke it because the aluminium back was really slippery.
I haven't dropped my iPhone 8 once - the glass black is surprisingly grippy. The moisture in your fingers seems to create a bond, which you didn't get with the metal.

So even if a X shatters, you're less likely to drop it in the first place in my experience.
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
33,222
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I think six feet is an odd height to use for testing a phone drop. Very few people hold their phones over their head before they drop them.
Drops are never regulatory. It’s all based on angle, impact and surface type. There are so many variables and instances where a drop can affect a phone, someone may drop their phone from 6 feet and it could survive and someone else might have the opposite experience, its All based on how it landed and the other variables mentioned above.
 

mhuggett

macrumors member
Sep 2, 2012
34
23
Prince Edward island
I think six feet is an odd height to use for testing a phone drop. Very few people hold their phones over their head before they drop them.
Not really, scenario, you're walking down the street and step on a slippery substance. As your feet spin out from under you, your hands swing upwards releasing your phone. Laying on the ground, still trying to catch your breath and orientate yourself, your watch has detected a epic fall and attempts to make a call, it does so because your not moving as your eyes are fixed on that (Canadian) $2000 phone that has now crash landed, laying their and reflecting rainbows through the gazillion prisms now laying on the ground...

The fall detection data is relayed to apple servers, you later call in for warranty service and now Apple starts to triangulate on the real truth behind breaking glass.
 

freezelighter

macrumors 6502
Sep 23, 2014
301
1,430
Liestal, Switzerland
Slippery and breakable.
I wish the next few years will go fast, because then we will have unbreakable phones made of liquid metal and new synth materials and it will be a standard.
Everybody will remember all this Apple care+ stuff as a dark medieval age of first smartphones.
 
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recoil80

macrumors 68030
Jul 16, 2014
2,939
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I'm going to put it in a case so I should be fine with drops. I don't like screen protectors so I'd much rather have a glass that doesn't scratches than a one more resistant to drops.
By the way my carrier offers me the equivalent of AC+, the only downside is I can't take it to an AS but I have to send it to the carrier to have it fixed so it takes a few days, but at least I don't have to pay a lot of money if I completely break it.
 

bluecoast

macrumors 65816
Nov 7, 2017
1,208
1,034
Another reason to love the 5/5S/SE, the last phone that Apple made that’s likely to survive a drop - though admittedly, not a dunk!
 
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