iPhone 12 drop check end result are in: Ceramic defend is as robust because it sounds

Chris Parker/CNET

Apple has lined its new iPhone 12 with a model new type of glass called ceramic shield, which it claims is the toughest glass ever on a smartphone. Yearly Apple makes an analogous declare about its glass, however this time could also be totally different as a result of that is no peculiar glass. Whereas it could feel and appear precisely like glass, the ceramic defend protecting the screens is, because the title suggests, a mix of glass and ceramic (which is tougher than most metals). It is a completely new cowl materials for the iPhone and it is not like something we have ever examined earlier than. 

And testing it’s precisely what we did. To learn the way this new materials holds as much as the weather, we put two model new iPhone 12s by means of a number of scratch and drop checks. And because it seems, this new glass is extremely sturdy.

iPhone 12: Breaking down the glass

The ceramic defend solely covers the entrance (the display) of the iPhone 12. The again is roofed with the identical glass as final 12 months’s iPhone 11 which Apple says is the hardest within the trade. Each forms of glass are made by Corning


The glass on the iPhone 11 (left) curves up, whereas the glass on iPhone 12 (proper) is flush with the body. 

Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET

Apart from the glass, the opposite issue that will play a task in how properly this cellphone holds as much as drops is the design. The glass on the iPhone 12 lies flush with the steel body quite than curve up like in earlier fashions which left extra of the glass uncovered. Apple says that design alternative alone will make the front and back twice as sturdy as older fashions. 

All 4 fashions of the iPhone 12 (iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Professional and iPhone 12 Max) have the identical ceramic defend on the display and the identical sort of glass on the again. The one distinction in supplies is the body. The 2 Professionals have a stainless-steel body, whereas the Mini and the 12 are aluminum. The efficiency of the body might range relying on the fabric, however the glass ought to supply the identical sort of safety throughout the board. For our checks we used the common iPhone 12 in blue and inexperienced. 

Scratch 1: It survived the pocket/purse tumble 

For the primary check, I put the iPhone 12 in a small make-up bag with among the frequent culprits that scratch up our phones: a set of keys, a half dozen quarters and a metallic pen. I shook the bag vigorously for about 30 seconds to simulate what occurs after a number of weeks of bouncing round in a handbag or pocket earlier than inspecting it.

After wiping the cellphone down with a fabric, I could not discover a single scratch on the glass or the body of the iPhone 12.  

Click on on the video beneath to see the outcomes from the scratch and drop checks. 

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iPhone 12: How robust is the glass?


Scratch 2: No scratches on the display after sliding on tile

Subsequent, I needed to see how the display would maintain up if it got here in touch with a tough floor like a marble desk, kitchen counter or lavatory ground. I slid the iPhone 12 forwards and backwards 10 instances on a textured ceramic tile, first alongside the display, then on the again of the cellphone. 

The display had a bid of particles from the tile, however after cleansing it off I struggled to search out any seen harm to the glass. Testing the again of the cellphone was trickier. The raised digital camera module does not enable the cellphone to put flat on its again, so I did a number of slides with the cellphone at an angle. This did not harm the glass, nevertheless it induced among the metallic paint on the body across the backside digital camera to rub off. It was barely noticeable and the lenses themselves have been nonetheless in pristine situation. Then, I did it once more with the digital camera module hanging off the sting of the tile. After inspecting the again intently, I lastly managed to make out two microscopic scratches, one on the silver Apple emblem, and one other proper beneath it on the blue glass. Each have been thinner than a strand of effective hair and a few quarter of an inch lengthy.


The 2 tiny scratches on the again of the iPhone 12 that resulted from sliding it on ground tile. The display got here out flawless. 

Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET

Scratch 3: Rubbing it on sandpaper made a mark

Having handed the 2 scratch checks with flying colours, I made a decision to conduct another (excessive) check on this iPhone 12: rubbing with 80 grit sandpaper. That is most likely the real-world equal of sliding your cellphone throughout a driveway or sidewalk, which hopefully will not occur too usually. 

I rubbed the cellphone forwards and backwards throughout the sandpaper 10 instances on both aspect, making use of gentle strain. This time, each side of the cellphone have been scraped up. The display had probably the most harm, with strains working horizontally by means of the center of the cellphone. A couple of of them have been deep sufficient to really feel with my fingernail, nevertheless it was nonetheless in working situation. The again of the cellphone has considerably much less harm, once more due to the safety supplied by the raised digital camera module, nevertheless it nonetheless had seen scrapes within the heart and on the decrease edges. The metallic end on the lens frames had continued to peel off, however the lenses themselves have been nonetheless scratchless. 


Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET

Scratching the cellphone compromises the glass and makes it much more prone to break throughout a fall, so my colleague, CNET Managing Producer Chris Parker, used one other model new iPhone 12 for our drop checks onto the sidewalk. 

Drop 1: Three ft, display aspect down

One of many extra frequent instances you would possibly drop your cellphone is while you’re placing it out and in of your pocket. Whereas dropping a cellphone from hip peak might be innocent, if it lands on the road or sidewalk, you are prone to find yourself with a damaged display.

When dropped from hip peak, the highest of the iPhone 12 hit the bottom first, then the underside. Then it bounced within the air as soon as extra earlier than touchdown flat on the sidewalk display aspect down as supposed.  

The aluminum body had a number of dents across the edges of the cellphone, however nothing critical. 

Drop check 2: Three ft, again aspect down 

Subsequent, Chris did the identical drop, however this time with the again of the cellphone going through the bottom. 

The iPhone 12 appears to be prime heavy: It landed virtually in the very same means because it did earlier than, with the highest (the place the digital camera module is) hitting first, then the underside. Lastly it landed again aspect down on the sidewalk. 

The primary distinction on this drop was the sound when it landed, a louder thud than earlier than. Positive sufficient, as soon as we turned it over, we observed the underside half of the cellphone was damaged. The sting felt a bit tough to the contact, primarily from the dents on the body, however there weren’t any shards falling off the again of the cellphone, and it nonetheless felt easy regardless of the cracks. 

With the again cracked, we narrowed our drops to the display solely. 


The second drop kind hip-height broke the again glass of our iPhone 12. 

Chris Parker/CNET

Drop 3: 6 ft, 6 inches, display aspect down

That is about as excessive as Chris may drop the cellphone with no need a ladder.

The highest left hand nook of the display, reverse the digital camera module, hit first, then the best aspect, then the left till it flipped on its again touchdown display aspect up. Essentially the most noticeable dent was on the highest the place it hit first and it virtually regarded prefer it had induced  a crack within the display proper the place it met the steel body. However after rubbing it off we realized it was simply metallic residue from the body and the glass was nonetheless in good form. 


The aluminum body on the iPhone 12 absorbed the brunt of the autumn from 6 ft. 

Chris Parker/CNET

Drop 4, 5 and 6: 9 ft drop, display aspect down

With the display nonetheless holding robust, we determined to go even increased, utilizing a step ladder to succeed in 9 ft. Once more this isn’t a sensible drop until you occur to slip your cellphone off a second ground balcony, however we needed to see how far we may take it.

At 9 ft it turned even tougher to regulate the touchdown. Whereas Chris was aiming to drop it flat on the display, the iPhone 12 had a thoughts of its personal and landed in virtually the very same means because the earlier 6-foot drop. With the highest right-hand nook of the display hitting the bottom first, then bouncing off the left aspect and touchdown display aspect up. 

The dent on the highest right-hand aspect of the body received deeper, however the display survived but once more. 

We repeated this drop two extra instances hoping it might sooner or later land flat on its face, however the weight of the digital camera made it onerous for it to land at that angle, particularly at that peak. The iPhone 12 lastly landed with the display down on the final drop, however solely as a result of it bounced off the aspect of the porch step. The body had a number of extra bumps and bruises, however the display nonetheless regarded like new after three back-to-back drops from 9 ft. The one means up from there would’ve been to climb up on the roof or hire a scissor raise which we weren’t precisely ready to do. 


The display of our the iPhone 12 survived with no crack after we dropped it on the sidewalk six instances.

Chris Parker/CNET

Let’s break it down

As a result of our checks aren’t scientific, we won’t say for a indisputable fact that the display is stronger than some other cellphone available in the market, however we are able to undoubtedly say that our iPhone 12 was extremely robust to crack (and scratch) even on tile and sidewalk.

The again of the iPhone 12 nevertheless, does not appear to have the identical drop resistance superpower because the display. And whilst you might really feel snug utilizing this cellphone with no display protector, we — and Apple — advocate utilizing the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Professional with a case, as getting the display or again changed without Apple Care Plus coverage costs anywhere from $279 to $549 relying on the restore. 

In an announcement to CNET, Apple mentioned “iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Professional signify the largest bounce in sturdiness ever on iPhone … iPhone 12 fashions have gone by means of rigorous real-world testing and are designed to be sturdy, however not indestructible. If anybody is worried about dropping their iPhone and damaging it, we propose utilizing one of many many stunning circumstances obtainable to guard iPhone.” 

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Anil Kumar

Anil Kumar Gadgets writes for Review Tech smartphones, wearables, headphones and speakers based in Delhi for 360 Tech News. Anil Gadgets is a reviewer for 360 Tech News and has written in detail about smartphones, software updates and upcoming devices.

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