iPhone 13 drop testing: A durable phone that still needs a case

iPhone 13 drop testing
(Image credit: Allstate Protection Plans/YouTube)

If you've bought one of Apple's new iPhone 13 models, you'd better invest in case too, at least if you want to increase your new device's chances of surviving a fall. And after watching a new iPhone 13 drop-test video, you'll likely be rushing out to buy that new case right away.

This round of iPhone 13 drop-testing was conducted by Allstate Protection Plans, which sells insurance plans for mobile devices when it's not dropping them 6 feet onto concrete. In this latest round of testing, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro both stood a better chance of emerging unscathed from drops when they were enclosed in cases — a silicone MagSafe case from Apple in the case of the iPhone 13 and a leather MagSafe case for the iPhone 13 Pro.

When dropped while in their respective cases, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro didn't sustain nearly as much damage as when they were dropped without any protection. When dropped back down, it took three drops of the iPhone 13 before that phone sustained any damage — a cracked camera, specifically. Meanwhile, the iPhone 13 Pro suffered no damage after three back-down drops when it was enclosed in a case.

"With back panel repairs costing as much as $549 for iPhone 13 Pro, a case is a must," said Jason Siciliano vice president of marketing and creative director at Allstate Protection Plans.

The iPhones weren't as fortunate when dropped face-down, even with the case. The iPhone 13 suffered cracks after its second drop while the iPhone 13 Pro suffered both cracks and raised glass after one drop.

As for drops without a case, the iPhone 13 models fared about as well as their iPhone 12 counterparts. That's actually good news, as Allstate called the iPhone 12 the most durable phone it had ever tested after last year's drop testing.

“The Apple iPhone 13 series has been viewed as a product evolution rather than a revolution, and we’ve found that to be true when it comes to durability as well,” Siciliano said in a statement accompanying the results.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 6-Foot Face-Down Drop6-Foot Back-Down Drop
iPhone 13Survived drop 1; cracked corners, scuffed metal on drop 2Survived 2 drops; cracked camera, corner cracks after Drop 3
iPhone 13 ProDamaged drop 1: cracks, raised glass, scuffed metalDamaged on first drop with shattered camera
iPhone 13 (with case)Survived drop 1, some cracks on drop 2Survived 2 drops; cracked camera after Drop 3
iPhone 13 Pro case (with case)Cracked after 1 drop with raised glassSurvived 3 drops without damage

The iPhone 13 proved to be the more durable phone in drops without a case, surviving the first face-down drop without damage and cracking on the second; dropped back down, the iPhone didn't suffer damage until the third drop. The iPhone 13 Pro sustained some damage on its first drops on both the face- and back-down tests.

Like last year's iPhone 12 models, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro feature a Ceramic Shield display meant to better resist damage from drops. And you can certainly see the impact of that in Allstate's drop tests.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.