The iPhone XS Fails Drop Test — But There's a Big Problem

The iPhone XS just fared poorly in a new drop test. But if you look closer at the methodology, the company behind the test and other similar tests conducted so far, there's reason to be skeptical.

Credit: SquareTrade

(Image credit: SquareTrade)

In a video published to YouTube on Monday, SquareTrade put Apple's new handsets through a variety of tests to see how they'd hold up. In the first test, the company dropped Apple's new iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max from a height of six feet on both their back and front. In every case, the glass protecting the iPhones shattered. And in the case of the iPhone Xs, the screen malfunctioned.

Next, SquareTrade put the iPhones through a tumble test for 60 seconds. The iPhones were placed in a rotating cube to simulate tumbling. Again, the handsets were damaged and suffered cracks, loose glass, and more. When Apple's iPhone Xs was bent, it took 250 pounds of pressure to ruin its screen.

The only SquareTrade test the iPhones survived was a dunk test, which placed the handsets in beer. They were taken out and remained on and functioning after submersion.

SquareTrade gave the iPhone Xs a breakability score of 86 out of 100, calling it a "high risk." The iPhone Xs Max fared a bit better with a score of 70, or "medium risk."

But before you apply too much weight to those findings, there are some things to keep in mind.

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For starters, it's not common for someone to have their iPhone six feet in the air and drop it on the ground unless the person is at least six feet tall. And even then, they would need to drop it from eye or ear height, such as while talking on the phone or while taking a photo.

It's also worth noting that SquareTrade is an extended warranty company that makes money on people who are concerned about the breakability of their smartphones and either don't have or don't want the warranties available through their phone makers.

Most importantly, others who have conducted drop tests on the iPhone XS and XS Max have found the phones to be more durable.

TechSmartt, for instance, recently dropped the handsets from a pocket — a more likely distance from which an iPhone would drop. Apple's smartphones weren't even damaged. It was only when the iPhone was dropped at "ear" height and at 10 feet that it was damaged.

CNET conducted a test of its own to see how the iPhone XS would hold up. The site found that the new iPhones are more durable than the iPhone X Apple released last year. In fact, Apple's new handsets survived four drops at up to five feet. The iPhone X cracked in the same testing last year.

Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.