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

Chris Parker/CNET

Apple has lined its new iPhone 12 with a brand-new type of glass called “ceramic shield”, which it says 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 appear and feel precisely like glass, the ceramic defend protecting the screens is, because the identify 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 brand-new iPhone 12s via a couple of scratch and drop checks. And because it seems, this new glass is extremely sturdy. (This rival says its display screen is three times harder than Apple’s ceramic shield.)

iPhone 12: Breaking down the glass

The ceramic defend solely covers the entrance — the display screen — of the iPhone 12. The again is roofed with the identical glass as final yr’s iPhone 11, which Apple says is the hardest within the trade. Each varieties 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

Other than 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 metallic body somewhat than curved 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 Pro and iPhone 12 Max) have the identical ceramic defend on the display screen and the identical sort of glass on the again. The one distinction in supplies is the body. The 2 Execs have a chrome steel body, whereas the Mini and the 12 are aluminum. The efficiency of the body might fluctuate relying on the fabric, however the glass ought to provide 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 a few of the widespread 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 couple 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 screen after sliding on tile

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

The display screen had a bid of particles from the tile, however after cleansing it off I struggled to seek out any seen injury to the glass. Testing the again of the cellphone was trickier. The raised digital camera module does not permit the cellphone to put flat on its again, so I did a couple of slides with the cellphone at an angle. This did not injury the glass, however it brought on a few of 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 carefully, I lastly managed to make out two microscopic scratches, one on the silver Apple brand, and one other proper beneath it on the blue glass. Each have been thinner than a strand of high quality hair and a couple of 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 screen 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 yet 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 typically. 

I rubbed the cellphone forwards and backwards throughout the sandpaper 10 instances on both facet, making use of gentle strain. This time, each side of the cellphone have been scraped up. The display screen had probably the most injury, with traces working horizontally via the center of the cellphone. A couple of of them have been deep sufficient to really feel with my fingernail, however it was nonetheless in working situation. The again of the cellphone has considerably much less injury, once more due to the safety provided by the raised digital camera module, however 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 more likely to break throughout a fall, so my colleague, CNET Managing Producer Chris Parker, used one other brand-new iPhone 12 for our drop checks onto the sidewalk. 

Drop 1: Three ft, display screen facet down

One of many extra widespread 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 top may be innocent, if it lands on the road or sidewalk, you are more likely to find yourself with a damaged display screen.

When dropped from hip top, 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 screen facet down as supposed.  

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

Drop check 2: Three ft, again facet down 

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

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

The primary distinction on this drop was the sound when it landed, a louder thud than earlier than. Certain 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 clean regardless of the cracks. 

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


The second drop from hip top broke the again glass of our iPhone 12. 

Chris Parker/CNET

Drop 3: 6 ft, 6 inches, display screen facet down

That is about as excessive as Chris might drop the cellphone while not having a ladder.

The highest left hand nook of the display screen, reverse the digital camera module, hit first, then the correct facet, then the left till it flipped on its again, touchdown display screen facet up. Probably the most noticeable dent was on the highest the place it hit first and it virtually appeared prefer it had brought on  a crack within the display screen proper the place it met the metallic body. However after rubbing it off we realized it was simply metallic residue from the body and the glass was nonetheless in excellent form. 


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

Chris Parker/CNET

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

With the display screen nonetheless holding robust, we determined to go even greater, 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 wished to see how far we might take it.

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

The dent on the highest right-hand facet of the body acquired deeper, however the display screen survived but once more. 

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


The display screen of our iPhone 12 survived and not using a 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 will not say for a proven fact that the display screen is stronger than some other cellphone available in the market, however we will positively say that our iPhone 12 was extremely robust to crack (and scratch) even on tile and sidewalk.

The again of the iPhone 12, nonetheless, does not appear to have the identical drop resistance superpower because the display screen. And when you might really feel snug utilizing this cellphone and not using a display screen protector, we — and Apple — advocate utilizing the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Professional with a case, as getting the display screen or again changed without AppleCare Plus coverage costs anywhere from $279 to $549 relying on the restore. 

In an announcement to CNET, Apple stated, “iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Professional characterize the largest bounce in sturdiness ever on iPhone … iPhone 12 fashions have gone via rigorous real-world testing and are designed to be sturdy, however not indestructible. If anybody is anxious about dropping their iPhone and damaging it, we propose utilizing one of many many lovely instances out there 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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