iPhone 4 drop test

So you have your shiny new iPhone 4 and are wondering how sturdy the Gorilla Glass really is? Well, the people at iFixYouri have done yet another test and this time with a real, functioning iPhone 4 -- and they've captured it on video.

WIth a sunny Florida backdrop, they held the iPhone 4 at about 3 ft from the ground and dropped it at an angle. They choose to drop the iPhone 4 on concrete -- which is probably one of the rougher surfaces -- but did choose a spot that was devoid of pebbles and debris.

On the first drop, the iPhone 4 still functioned normally and only had some slight scratches on it. On the second drop, the iPhone 4 was more scratched and no longer turned on (which may be a greater cause for concern than the glass breaking or chipping). The third drop gave the phone a chip on the edge. It was on the fourth drop that the iPhone 4 screen completely cracked.

Depending on your point of view, this may show great durability or perhaps shockingly weak performance. I was quite saddened by the lack of durability and scratch-resistance. I would have at least expected the iPhone 4's Gorilla Glass to endure a good 10 drops at 3 feet without shattering. What do you think?

Video after the break. (Warning: Extreme iPhone brutality. May be extremely painful for those who do not yet have the iPhone 4 -- like me.)

[via iFixyouri]

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Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Reader comments

iPhone 4 drop test


Honestly I think this is expected with any phone with a screen like this and any phone period 3 feet is high to drop a phone from. Everyone knows to be really careful! Or buy a bumper! I just hope this doesn't draw negative press or reviews because seriously, what did you expect?

Let me just say that was PAINFUL to watch. Kinda like watching a guy get kicked in the groin.
Does give me a moment of pause about the screen tho. I would have expected much more. I've seen video of the 3g/3gs being dropped, submerged in water and run over and still works!

I feel along with Daniel that the 3G/3GS seemed/was much more sturdy than that. I was smoking a cig on my second story balcony and the phone flew off the balcony and still worked (unfortunately cracked). I never used a case for my old 3G but I am so prone to dropping phones I am definitely getting one for my 4.

So we're supposed to wrap them in bubble wrap and keep them indoors because dropping glass on concrete could break it???
I saw this and thought "well duh"...

Hey guys, I'm going to post a video soon, but I wanted to get this to you STAT! I just tested the iPhone's seals, you know to see how tightly the phone was put together. I dropped it in my bathtub 4 times, and low and behold, the dang thing stopped working after dunk 4. So, you know, beware if you plan on swimming with it.

They should strap an iPhone 4 to a block of C4 and see how explosion resistant it is. Or, maybe drive a steamroller over one to see how crush resistant it is. MORONS! dropping any electronic device onto concrete will destroy it. F-tards!

By the way I fixit tards: the sun is bright, fire is hot, you're never getting laid. As long as we're stating the obvious I thought I'd let you in on a few more and save you some time "testing"...

Really? Will people pretend that this normal and expected? This is not a gallery piece, this is an object that users will carry everyday with them and most of them WILL drop the iPhone 4 more than 4 times. This is bad industrial design, period.

Doesn't surprise me it stopped working on the second drop. What do you expect when the whole frame (and not even a one-piece frame) is exposed around the perimeter of the device? All that shock goes directly into the innards.
Guess what, all that glass and steel beauty is going to be hidden in plastic or silicone cases anyway.

Drop a sample of other phone types and compare, otherwise who cares??
I can't remember buying a cell phone in my entire career that, after dropping it, wasn't worried that I broke it.
Does anyone think that any other smart phone would fare any better after dropping it?
Let's see a comparison... Maybe this is something for Mythbusters!!!

Very upsetting... I only add that it was dropped onto asphalt rather than concrete which I think it would prove to cause more scratches.

That screen looks like how my 3G looked when I dropped on the street and it skidded for a bit. I really question whether it really is "gorilla glass".

What people do not realize is the harder something is the easier it cracks/shatters. Drop a diamond and see what happens!!!
When Apple announced how hard this new screen was, I was worried. Very worried. Not sure they have mechanical engineers on their staff.
So far so good with my IP4!!!

For those that think a cell phone can't survive drops line thus, my old BlackBerry Curve I dropped twice, once on concrete about 4' up, and the other time same distance on hard tiled airport walkway. Other than the concrete putting a couple of nicks on the top edge, nothing else was wrong. A couple of years later and the phone now belongs to a friend and still works. Things happen no matter how hard one tries to protect a phone, so the new iPhone had best be in a case or insured!

That was painful to watch. I guess thats to be expected with any device if dropped like that or it getting knocked out of one's hand accidentally...thats why I keep silicone skins or some type of shock absorbing case on my investments.

Ahh I can't believe people are stating the "lets see other phones how they react with the drop test". Agh, fools, this iPhone 4 has glass for the front AND BACK. You get double the chances of this thing shattering. Other phones, you just worry about the front screen for the display as the back is probably plastic or metal.

If you don't like the results, don't buy the phone. Lots of smartphones out there. Many are pretty good. As for me. I'll keep my iPhone 4 and I plan on being careful with it. Just like everything else I spent $300 dollars on.
PS My RAZR broke after I dropped it a few times too.

I hate how people get concernet about something delicated breaking up, it's not like u can drop your laptop 4 times in a row and expect it to function, crappy or strong product, doesn't matter if you have crappy hands
it's funny like all women I know constantly drop their phones like Lot times more than men.

Looks like he dropped from higher than 3 feet. Almost shoulder length and unless hes 4 feet tall than technically that isnt 3 feet. But I already insured my phone and my skin and case should be here next week. You can never be too careful.

This design seems to be a little more "slick"...my new iPhone 4 just jumped off a 4 ft high shelf onto tile floor and survived. At home it falls off the couch arm all the time...my old 3G didn't do that.

It should be able to withstand many drops. iOnce left my blackberry on top of my truck and iDrove away. It flew off the truck and tumbled many times on the asphalt. Battery flew out and was run over by another car. The phone sustained a few scratches, but iPut the partly smashed battery back in and voila, it worked fine. iHad a Motorola Q and dropped it ONCE on tile and shattered the screen. Sorry, iLove my iPhone, but a little durability is not too much to ask for.

I dropped my iPhone4 from about 2 ft and it landed on my carpet. It landed on it's edge like it did in this video. Now I'm on hold with apple support because my phone won't turn on any more. They told me it's a KNOWN issue. So do any of you who think this test is stupid want to wait on hold for me? I've been waiting for 20 minutes. Oh yeah and I spent 1 hr on the phone this morning with them before I had to hang up and go to work which requires CONSTANT use of my own phone.

LOL... The rep who's on hold with me just asked me if I STILL want to hold. I replied, "well I kinda have to now don't I" What other option do I have? Just use my new iPhone4 as a paper weight for all the wind in my office? WTF!!! This phone is a total joke.

Yes, ouch, obviously it broke ! I am hoping that the phone just parked it's self as the accelerometer detected it was falling down a cliff face ! I would like to remind everyone that hardness and strength are different things ! The hardness spec is for you to understand scratches, your keys will require more pressure to mark it, not like 3g or 3gs where it ruins the back within 5 or 6 forgetful pocket accidents! So it will keep it looking good for longer. I am probably the most clumsy person I know, my 3g has taken repeated abuse mostly because we have granite floors, which I guess the Iphone 4 naked wouldn't take but the 3g had no bumper I always leave the bumper on where as I would take the 3g's case off inside. The bumper will give you that bit of security when you do make that clumsy mistake. Surely if you want a sturdy phone you would buy one of the purpose built phones, my sisters bf's will take a sledge hammer but won't do exchange or a retina display ? This is an iphone , would you drop you laptop from 4-5 foot? a plasma? Just use a case when your outside, the bumper does loads and keeps it practically exposed ! The bumper as my friend can testify too also forms a perfect little seal around the phone for those unfortunate desk moments. Seriously why no drop test with bumpers ? I fear for my phones life, but then I also chase the next doors cat of my car ? Look after it and apple care will do the rest ! !

Just want to say that not only the glass will break front and back will break if you drop it on concrete (even with 1 drop only, the side of it is very fragile), dropping it on concrete would also dent the metal bend. I just dropped it this morning, and the tiny litle glass pieces from that was left on the iphone 4 after the drop actually cut my finger and there was a little piece of glass went inside and underneath my skin, and it was very painful to take it out....just be careful I guess....at least the apple store I went to exchange mine for a new one as I complained and said that I was worried about more broken glass pieces from the phone...the phone works fine after the drop...but watch out those tiny tiny glass pieces....

I have had my iphone4 for 3 weeks and dropped it from about 3 feet on a driveway that had chip stones on it. The back spider cracked from the top to 1/3 of the way down. I don't expect phone to be bullet proof but one of the reasons I bought the phone was due to all the marketing buff about it being tough. I think it is reasonable to expect apple to design a phone that can handle the odd drop, surely most phones have been dropped at least once. http://www.apple.com/iphone/design/
I went into the UK apple store in Glasgow Scotland and was told it would cost £140 to have it replaced! They would not fix the device only replace it!! I also have a problem that the voice mail keeps asking for a pin everytime I use it. I was then told the way to fix that problem was to replace the handset but since my warranty was void as I had dropped it I just had to live with the voice mail issue until they released a software upgrade. Very poor, next time I will buy a phone not a piece of glass and metal art.

I have dropped my iPhone 4 multiple times.. much more than 4 times. I've had it since september 2010 and the first time that the screen ever shattered was in march 2011. i thought it would of been sooner since it is almost always in my hand, and i've very clumsy when it comes to cell phones. the guy that fixed my screen told me that the most common way that the iPhone 4 screen shatters is when it's in someones lap and they are getting out of the car. Depends on the angle and the ground it is hitting (cement, tile, etc). Obviously - this is why it took up to four times for the iPhone 4's screen to finally shatter in this video.
Also, I had to pay for the repair out of pocket since I am not under contract with any company. I have heard that Apple's warranty for the iPhone 4 does not cover shattered screens. It takes a great amount of purposely dropping it and deliberate intentions in day to day life to shatter the screen. I mean, really.. who is going to stand there, dropping it consecutively over and over? LOL
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