What happens when you drop an iPhone 13 on the floor?

When presenting the iPhone 13, Apple did not say much about how resistant the new smartphone is. It was different with the predecessor.

Last year’s iPhone 12 has proven to be exceptionally robust. In several drop tests, the smartphone with its ninth-generation “Ceramic Shield” glass beat out the competition and escaped with little and sometimes no damage. However, the iPhone 13 already has a disadvantage over its predecessor in the drop test. The new models have become almost 10 grams heavier and 0.3 millimeters thicker – mainly due to the larger batteries inside. A higher weight means a higher speed on impact.

Resistance tested in different scenarios

atechbook took a look at the results of three different drop tests this year as well. Like last year, the YouTube channels “PhoneBuff” and “EverythingApplePro” are at it again, with different approaches to the drop test with the iPhone 13. We also took a look at a new drop test that resulted from a cooperation between “PCWelt” and “MacWelt” with “Friendsurance”. The company, which offers insurance for smartphones, not only tested falls from hip and head height, but also while riding an e-scooter and climbing stairs.

Drop tests are only representative to a limited extent

The problem with drop tests from different heights with the same device is that damage in an earlier test influences the result of all subsequent tests. Once the glass on the front or back is broken or even cracked, the smartphone’s overall stability is affected. If the glass on the back cracks, it can no longer compensate for impacts on the display glass on the front. In addition, any further stress on broken glass only leads to even more shattering. So it’s not surprising if already damaged devices get even more damaged in follow-up tests.

What happens when you drop an iPhone 12 on the floor?

Drop test of the iPhone 13 with robot arms

The YouTube channel “PhoneBuff” not only performs battery and performance tests on smartphones with robotic arms. Drop tests are also performed under controlled conditions by a robotic arm. This allows the iPhone to be dropped precisely on the back and front – without it bouncing wildly from edge to edge. There is now another test with edge impact for the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Drop on back

“PhoneBuff compared the iPhone 13 Pro Max with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Right in the first test with a direct impact on the back, you can clearly see how glass splinters detach from the back glass in slow motion. The cracks also extend through the glass around the cameras. Thus, the iPhone looks considerably worse than the S21 Ultra. The back of the latter is also cracked. However, the metal frame around the cameras can prevent further damage. However, the cameras of both devices are still fully functional.

Fall on edge

A clip on the upper left edge causes the smartphones to bounce out of the cradle onto the lower right edge. Both the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Galaxy S21 Ultra survive the drop without damaging the display. However, the iPhone’s stainless steel frame proves to be more resistant than the aluminum in the Galaxy smartphone, which is somewhat deformed after the drop. However, it should be noted here that only the Pro models of the iPhone 13 have a stainless steel frame. The iPhone 13 and 13 mini, on the other hand, have an aluminum casing.

Drop on front

The iPhone 13 Pro Max does not perform very well in what is certainly the most exciting test with a drop on the front. Again, chipping glass fragments can be seen in slow motion. In fact, the display glass is quite badly damaged, with cracks and detaching glass shards. This is somewhat unexpected, as last year neither the iPhone 12 nor the 12 Pro suffered even a scratch in the glass on the front. The iPhone 13 Pro Max’s higher weight of 240 grams could play a role. Even Apple’s “Ceramic Shield” could not protect the iPhone from damage. After all, the Galaxy S21 Ultra does not fare much better – the display glass is cracked and shattered here as well. Nevertheless, both smartphones are still fully functional.

Here is the full drop test video from “PhoneBuff”:

Drop test of the iPhone 13 in different scenarios

Drop from waist height

In the “Friendsurance” test, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro are each dropped from the pants pocket, as this is a common reason for smartphone damage. While the iPhone 13 Pro gets away with it except for a few scratches in the stainless steel frame, the iPhone 13 already shows a slight damage in the glass around the cameras. However, that is not surprising since the iPhone 13 Pro pretty much hits one of the corners – the strongest part of any smartphone. The iPhone 13 is somewhat unfortunate to fall directly onto the camera, which explains the damage.

Auch “EverythingApplePro” testet den Drop from waist height mit den beiden Pro-Modellen iPhone 13 Pro und 13 Pro Max. Sowohl beim Sturz auf die Vorder- und R├╝ckseite als auch auf die Kante tragen die beiden Modellen keinen Schaden davon.

Fall from head height

Again, the “Friendsurance” test tries to simulate a real scenario. One person bumps into the other, who then drops the smartphone from his hand while making a call. Both devices fall diagonally onto one of the case edges and can thus absorb the damage well. Both iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro are not further damaged apart from a few small quirks.

“EverythingApplePro” drops the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max on the front, back and edge even from head height. The iPhone 13 Pro Max survives the test with a few scratches and dents in the casing and gets away without breaking any glass. The iPhone 13 Pro does well when dropped onto the edge and back. However, the display glass breaks when it hits the front. Nevertheless, both devices are still fully functional – including the display and cameras.

Case while riding an e-scooter

An interesting scenario from the “Friendsurance” test is the fall from a moving e-scooter. The electric scooters are available for rent in many German cities and often have smartphone holders. Many also have corresponding holders on their bikes, so the test is not completely unrealistic. The iPhone 13 is again lucky during the fall and falls diagonally onto the casing’s edge. Apart from a few scratches, nothing else happened. The iPhone 13 Pro, on the other hand, falls diagonally onto the front and suffers a crack in the display glass.

Drop while climbing stairs

Stairs are dangerous territory for smartphones. Not only because they can fall further and further. But also because the angle changes with every impact, increasing the chance that the device will come to rest awkwardly. In the case of the already damaged iPhone 13 Pro, the fall down the stairs leads to a total display damage. The cracked glass shard has presumably pressed into the display underneath and thus created pixel damage. Parts of the display at that spot are thus black. The iPhone 13, on the other hand, was comparatively lucky again. It practically only bounces on the corners. Although the case is slightly deformed at one corner, the glass on the front and back is not damaged.

Here is the full video from the cooperation of “PCWelt”, “MacWelt” and “Friendsurance”:

How does the iPhone 13 perform in the drop test compared to its predecessor?

Last year, the iPhone 12 set new standards for resistance to falls. Unfortunately, the iPhone 13 cannot continue this trend. The smartphone survived most drops from low heights unscathed. However, the display glass broke in at least one test device in all three tests we looked at this year. Last year, the iPhone 12 survived even the drop test from 2.7 and 3 meters without cracks in the front glass.

Sources

  • PhoneBuff
  • Technology love
  • EverythingApplePro