iPhone 12 drop tested — here’s how tough Ceramic Shield is

iPhone 12 drop test
(Image credit: EverythingApplePro/YouTube)

It was somewhat lost in between Apple finally embracing 5G and the return of MagSafe, but the company is clearly proud of the new iPhone 12’s robustness. At the official unveiling, Apple claimed that the company’s new material — dubbed Ceramic Shield — is “tougher than any smartphone glass” with up to four times the chance of surviving a drop compared to previous iPhones. 

YouTube being YouTube, it’s perhaps not surprising that somebody would be putting Apple’s money where its mouth is almost immediately. And while both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro do eventually crack, you might be surprised at just how aggressive you have to get with the new handsets for that to be a real concern.

You can see the full test in the embedded video above, courtesy of EverythingApplePro, but for those who find watching $999 products taking an unnecessary beating stressful, here’s an executive summary.

From waist height on to a concrete floor, there’s a minor dent on the iPhone 12, and a bit of scuffing on the iPhone 12 Pro, but nothing more serious than that. A head-height drop sees the SIM card tray pop out of the iPhone 12 Pro and a line of dead pixels on the iPhone 12, but nothing that would stop you using either, which is an extremely encouraging start.

At this point, it’s time to get the ladder out for the kind of punishment that most phones are thankfully unlikely to meet during their lifespan. Dropped from a height that’s “as close as I can get to ten feet”, this is where things finally get to the stage where you might want to stop by the Apple Store for a repair. A side drop sees the camera stop working on the iPhone 12, and a drop on the back breaks the glass of both with some bending of the overall shape. 

Amazingly though, the screen remains in one piece during both these tests, and it’s only a ten-foot display-down drop that finally cracks the screen on the iPhone 12 Pro. Even more amazingly, the iPhone 12 survived the same test unscathed. 

Of course, there are too many variables involved to say that your iPhone 12 will definitely survive a drop from a similar height. Connecting with the ground at a slightly different angle could have an entirely different effect, but it’s encouraging all the same.

And if you want something a bit more scientific and replicable, then another YouTuber — MobileReviewsEh has your back. Using a force meter on Apple’s last two handsets, the video shows the iPhone 11 screen breaking with 352 Newtons of pressure. The iPhone 12, meanwhile, takes 443 Newtons before it finally gives way. It is, as the channel says in the comments, “tougher than most screen protectors I’ve used.”

All this is good news for people who want the latest Apple device in their pockets, and those buyers won’t be disappointed. As we wrote in our four-star iPhone 12 review, the handset is “a serious step forward for the most popular iPhone.” 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.