iPhone 11’s ‘toughest glass in a smartphone’ put to the test

After Apple announced at its iPhone 11 event that its newest phones have the “toughest glass in a smartphone” it’s no surprise that we’re seeing that put to the test on launch day. The first drop tests show how the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max fare from up to 11-foot drops on concrete.

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So far we’ve got some drop tests from Tom’s Guide and YouTuber EverythingApplePro. The results from Tom’s Guide were disappointing as the iPhone 11 Pro cracked on the first drop. However, EverythingApplePro had a totally different experience with both Pro iPhones lasting over 8 drops each before the glass cracked.

Tom’s Guide decided to test the durability of the iPhone 11 Pro right in front of Apple’s Fifth Avenue Cube. As the publication notes, these weren’t scientific drop tests but the goal was to simulate real-world drops outside.

To see how durable our gold iPhone 11 Pro is, I first dropped the handset from about hip height on concrete. In this case we’re talking about 3.5 feet, which is not very high.

The result of the first drop did some notable damage to the screen.

As I turned over the iPhone 11 Pro I saw large cracks in the upper left corner and a finer hairline crack running diagonally across the front of the 5.8-inch OLED display from the top left to the bottom right.

Tom’s Guide’s Mark Spoonauer noted that was disappointing considering the iPhone XS didn’t crack last year after 3-, 5-, and 11-foot drops. However, he notes those tests were done inside on treated concrete.

Another drop saw the iPhone 11 Pro land on its back and there wasn’t any damage to the rear glass. However, another drop from shoulder height did crack the back and expanded the damage to the screen as well.

iPhone 11 drop test

Spoonauer says that overall he really likes the iPhone 11 lineup and that his testing may not necessarily prove Apple’s claim false. We’ll have to wait and see how the new iPhones do in future drop tests.

However, I’m not impressed with the iPhone 11 Pro’s durability based on our limited testing. Do I think Apple’s toughness claims are complete bunk? Not necessarily.

While appearing on TV recently discussing the iPhone 11, an anchor took dropped it on stage, both front and back, from about 5 feet. And the unit survived without a scratch. This was a different surface, but it does show that the iPhone 11 units can at least take a bit of a beating.

At least this year Apple has offered up clear cases for its entire iPhone 11 lineup for those that want some protection but don’t want to hide the phone’s design. Meanwhile, everything from wallet cases to slim protection to more robust OtterBox options are available now for the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro.

Apple also made some changes to AppleCare+ recently. And keep in mind you have 60 days from your date of purchase add that coverage.

Check out the full article and drop test results from Tom’s Guide here.

Images via Future/Tom’s Guide


YouTuber EverythingApplePro has released his drop tests this afternoon of both the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Notably, his results were much more impressive than what Tom’s Guide experienced.

After 8 drops each from various angles up to head height, both iPhones survived without any of the glass cracking. After moving up to 10-feet for the drops, the stainless steel frame showed some damage, but the glass remained intact.

Finally, on the second round of drops from 10-feet high, the iPhone 11 Pro display broke, with the rear glass shattering on the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

This testing seems to line up much more closely with Apple’s claims about the new iPhones featuring the most durable smartphone glass. Check out the full video below.

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Avatar for Michael Potuck Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.