iPhone 6 Drop Tests Show That You Should Really Use a Case

Despite all of the new software and hardware features that Apple has introduced with the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, it hasn’t yet managed to solve one of the iPhone’s biggest problems: that it breaks. If you’re unlucky enough to drop your iPhone on a very hard surface, from a long distance, or even directly on its glass face, things aren’t going to end well. Some “drop test” videos — where tech reviewers unflinchingly drop an iPhone onto a hard surface — might convince you that the best way to avoid shattering your iPhone isn’t to avoid heights and hard surfaces, but just to put a case on your phone.

Let’s start with a drop test without a case. David Rahimi of YouTube channel PhoneBuff dropped each phone, once on its back, once on its side, and once on its front from about shoulder height to see “just how durable Apple’s latest devices are.” The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sustained minimal damage from being dropped on its backs, aside from cosmetic scuff. The iPhone 6 also survived being dropped on its side with only some scratching.

However, the screen of the iPhone 6 Plus shattered when the phone was dropped on its side, and Rahimi noted that the screen appeared to be pulling away from the body. (The phone did, however, still seem to function just fine.) When dropped on its front, the iPhone 6’s screen shattered, and also appeared to begin pulling away from the rest of the phone. Again, the screen seemed to be fully functional, though Rahimi warned, “you don’t want to use it because you might cut your finger.” Though the iPhone 6 Plus’s screen had already cracked when the phone was dropped on its side, Rahimi also dropped it on its face, and the glass shattered further.

The PhoneBuff drop test makes on thing clear: bad things will happen to the iPhone 6 if you drop it, just like its predecessors. (Remember: despite rumors that the new iPhone models would feature sapphire screens, Apple hasn’t made that jump yet. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are many things, and feature ion-strengthened glass, but neither are unbreakable.)

Since, for most people, it’s a given that you’ll drop your phone at least once or twice, what can you do to protect your pristine new iPhone? Just put a case on it. Matt of YouTube channel TechSmartt completed a drop test with the new cases that Apple offers for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to find out how good it is at protecting the iPhone’s body and screen. Using an iPhone 6 with a red leather case, an iPhone 6 with a green silicon case, and an iPhone 5s with a blue leather case, the phones were dropped from the level of the pocket, the head, and then from ten feet above the ground.

After the first drop, from pocket-level, all three iPhones were unaffected. From the head-height drop (about six feet), all three iPhones were still fine, though the leather cases did have some scratches and tears. All three screens were “perfectly flawless” and the aluminum parts of the body were still “fairly well intact.” After the ten-foot drop, none of the phones had shattered screens. None were dropped on the front, but none of the screens were cracked.

For a final test, the phones were dropped with its front down. The screens of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 5s in leather cases both shattered, while the screen of the iPhone 6 in the silicon case did not — though it’s important to note that the conditions of the drop tests are fairly random, and the silicon case won’t necessarily always produce a better outcome for a dropped iPhone.

While drop tests are an imperfect gauge of durability — and two we feature here were certainly made under different conditions — they demonstrate that how your iPhone stands up to being dropped depends not only on the height from which you drop it and the angle at which it hits the ground, but also in part upon how well it’s protected.

Even though it can be fun to watch a video of a reviewer destroying an iPhone — liquid nitrogen and a sledgehammer, anyone? — it wouldn’t be nearly as fun to watch your iPhone hit the ground (especially as the screen shatters in excruciating slow motion). The bottom line? If you want to safeguard your iPhone, new or old, you really should use a case.

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