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My iPhone survived a 1,000 foot drop from an airplane: Extreme iPhone survival stories

A few years ago a coworker of mine was rushing out of the house on a particularly snowy morning and didn't notice his cellphone slip out of his pocket. By the time Marc had realized it was missing, a snowblower had chewed it up and spit it out into a million little pieces all over the icy sidewalk.

It was safe to say that Marc's phone did not work at all (in fact my boss had it framed so he could forever look at his snowblower-y shame), but what if his phone fell 450 feet from the world's tallest swing? Or spent 48 hours underwater? Would that have helped his odds?

I know what you're going to say: "Cella, if a phone can't survive a snowblower, then there's no way in hell it'll be able to survive literal weeks at the bottom of the river" to which I would reply, dramatically,

That time an iPhone survived a 1,000-foot drop from an airplane

Imagine going on a leisurely cruise on your vintage biplane (honestly, can totally relate) and you go to grab your iPhone to take a picture of the panoramic view, only to have it ripped out of your hands by the wind.

Sarvinder Naberhaus of Iowa realized a bit too late that maybe putting your iPhone outside the windshield of a plane that's 1,000 feet in the air to get that Instagram-worthy shot might not be the best idea. Her iPhone was torn out of her hands and fell to what she assumed was its ultimate death.

But with the help of the Find My iPhone app, Naberhaus was able to find her iPhone, unharmed, sitting in some tall grass with her alarm going off.

That other time an iPhone survived an insane fall: This time from the world's tallest swing ride

When I was in Las Vegas recently, my boyfriend and I decided to try ziplining down Fremont Street. It was a ton of fun, but I couldn't help but wish I could have recorded my run down the legendary street.

Then I heard about a woman recording a video at the top of a 450-foot ride in Florida with her iPhone 7 who accidentally dropped it.

… And it survived!

Seriously. There wasn't even a crack in her screen. Talk about lucky, hey?

That time an iPhone got lost at sea for 2 days

I know that the newer iPhones are all water resistant and what not, but tell me you don't get a lump in your throat every time you bring your iPhone up from the watery depths.

What if there's a leak? What if I flooded it? Oh god what if it's dead… I KILLED IT.

Now imagine losing your iPhone in the dang ocean, only to have a diver find it two days later with 84% of its charge after a text lit up its screen on the ocean floor 30-feet down.

Not only was the iPhone totally okay, but the waterproof bag it was in appeared to have saved it from a watery grave. It was reunited with its Canadian owner and we can only assume it now has a crippling phobia of the ocean.

That time an iPhone survived for weeks at the bottom of a river.

Alright, so an iPhone surviving for 2 days underwater seems a bit insane, but what if you found an iPhone in the river while scuba diving, only to realize it had been sitting on the bottom of the ocean floor for a few weeks?!

The iPhone was reunited with its owner, which just makes this story so much more heartwarming.

What's your craziest iPhone survival story?

Is there a crazy iPhone survival story that you've heard that you think we need to hear? Have you ever lost your iPhone in an insane spot, only to have it continue to function like normal?

Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments down below!

Cella writes for iMore on social and photography. She's a true crime enthusiast, bestselling horror author, lipstick collector, buzzkill, and Sicilian. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @hellorousseau

3 Comments
  • It’s all about the luck, Cella! I had a bad experience last week when my iPhone 8 plus which was in my jeans hit against the railing of staircase. The impact was near the earpiece due to which the glass shattered and spiderweb appeared! Later, I found from a local iPhone engineer that the area near the earpiece is almost hollow and that’s perhaps the reason for your loss! 😟
  • So, I have a funny story about the iPhone falling out of the plane thing: First, that happened in Ames, which is about a half hour outside (to the north) of the Des Moines metro, so the story made the local NBC news app, which is where I saw it. But you'll never guess what happened -literally- five minutes before I saw it.....my daughter's iPhone 6 plus fell the three feet off the bed to the floor....and broke. Spiderweb crack on the front glass near the touch ID sensor. Amazingly, the glass screen protector over it was just fine. The phone glass cracked UNDER the protective glass without hurting the protector! I can't tell you just how much that headline in the context felt like "rubbing it in" to me. I believe I actually even said "oh come on!" out loud in response. It was both super not funny....and yeah, kinda funny! :-) But here's my thought on the matter: it's all a matter of dumb luck and the odds. In the case, with the screen protector, and the distance, and the velocity, there are 999 out of 1000 variations of the landing where nothing bad would happen to the kiddo's phone, and 1 where it would. And we just so happened to get the 1. On the flip side, of the 10,000 possible ways that phone out the plane could land and on what kind of surface, probably 9990 or more of them would've ended in disaster and sadness...and they just happened to get one of the "miracle landings". Really in terms of probabilities, these are both "miracle landings". But the issue that I take is that this article implies "look at how resilient these phones are". And in general, yes, they are pretty resilient phones. So are most phones. So is my Pixel 2 XL, which has survived flying down the hall slipping out of my hands as I took it out of my pocket. But is the notion that these phones are "super extra mega" resilient really proven here? As these two contrasting news stories demonstrate, just because an iPhone survives a drop from a plane doesn't mean it's gonna survive a drop from a bed (or vice versa, apparently). :-) And my very final thought is "which kind of stories do we hear more?" I realize that a lot more phones fall off of beds than out of planes, and that phones that do not survive plane falls are no more news worthy than phones that do survive bed falls. We'll leave it to the statisticians to decide how much weight this final claim is worth, I guess, but we hear a lot more about phones (iPhone and otherwise) not surviving what they should survive than surviving what seems impossible to survive. Still, definitely amazing, amusing, fun stories! A good read! :-)
  • My iPhone survived my best friend's toddler; does that count for something? XD