Apple's iPhone 14 Pro Max improves upon its predecessor in many ways, from processing power to cameras to its notch-replacing Dynamic Island feature. But don't include durability on that list of improvements.
Like the iPhone 13 Pro before it, the iPhone 14 Pro Max shattered the first time it was dropped on its back and front during drop-testing performed by Allstate Protection Plans. Apple's best iPhone also took damage to its corners, buttons and camera housing when it was dropped down a flight of stairs.
Allstate, which performs these drop tests as part of a promotion for the insurance plans it offers for devices like the iPhone, also tested the iPhone 14 Plus. Apple's other 6.7-inch phone fared better when it was dropped down the stairs, suffering scuffed corners and roughness on its aluminum frame. But on the face-down and back-down drop tests, the iPhone 14 Plus also took damage on the first drop.
"The new iPhone 14 Plus and 14 Pro Max shattered on the first drop front and back, though they were still fully functional, including their amazing new cameras," said Jason Siciliano, vice president and global creative director at Allstate Protection Plans, in a statement accompanying the test results.
A year ago, Allstate ran the same 6-foot drop tests on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro. In those tests, the Pro model suffered damage on the first drop like the iPhone 14 Pro Max did this year.
The iPhone 13 actually took two drops to suffer cracks on the face-down drop test while not cracking on the back-down drop test until a third drop. Those results were better than what Allstate saw with the iPhone 14 Plus this time around.
The newer iPhones have an advantage over their predecessors — their back panels are removable so they're easier to repair. "The iPhone 14 Plus is a leap forward when it comes to repairability," said Siciliano, noting the removable back panel. "Apple should be applauded for this upgrade, as it’s great for their customer’s wallets and the environment."
Still, it sounds as if a good iPhone case remains the best way to keep your Apple smartphone safe from the occasional drop. We've got round-ups of the best iPhone 14 Pro Max cases as well as the best iPhone 14 Plus cases. And though they weren't included in the Allstate tests, our best iPhone 14 case and best iPhone 14 Pro case round-ups can help you find accessories for those two models.
Here's a closer look at how the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Plus performed in Allstate's drop tests.
Face-down drop: Both phones were dropped from 6 feet onto a sidewalk with their displays facing downward. After one drop, iPhone 14 Pro Max suffered circular bullseye cracks and a shattered screen. The iPhone 14 Plus sustained bullseye cracks of its own, along with raised glass and scuffed corners.
Back-down drop: Flipping the phones over and dropping them from 6 feet once again, the back of the iPhone 14 Pro Max shattered after one drop with raised and loose glass. One of the rear camera lenses was scuffed, and the camera housing took damage. Similarly, one drop of the iPhone 14 Plus resulted in bullseye cracks, raised and loose glass and a damaged camera housing.
Side-drop down stairs: The iPhone 14 Plus fared better here, with scuffed corners and rough aluminum after its tumble down some stone steps. The iPhone 14 Pro Max also sustained scuffed corners in addition to dented buttons, a damaged camera housing and a shattered back.
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
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.