iPhone XS and XS Max Survive Liquid Dunk, but Shatter Immediately in Drop Test

Following new iPhone releases, the devices are always subjected to a range of durability tests, and the iPhone XS and XS Max are no exception. Over the weekend, warranty company SquareTrade conducted several tests on the two new smartphones, checking Apple's claims of IP68 water resistance and more durable glass.

According to Apple, the iPhone XS and XS Max are using "the most durable glass ever in a smartphone" and have improved IP68 water resistance, meaning they can withstand water up to two meters deep for approximately 30 minutes.


In SquareTrade's tests, the two iPhones stood up well to liquids, but the more durable glass didn't prevent them from shattering when dropped.

It only took a single back down drop test from a six foot range onto a hard surface for the iPhone XS to shatter entirely, resulting in broken, loose glass across the back of the device. Like the iPhone X, the iPhone XS and XS Max feature glass on the front and back to enable wireless charging.

The result was the same for the iPhone XS Max, with back glass of the smartphone shattering after being dropped from a six-foot height. The stainless steel frames Apple uses for the iPhone XS and XS Max protected the two devices during a side drop test, but the face down drop test also resulted in breakage.

When dropped face down, the iPhone XS suffered a shattered and malfunctioning display, while the iPhone XS Max was impacted with hairline cracks and loose glass but still had a usable display.

After a 60 second tumble test, both the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max were covered in hairline cracks, scratches, and featured loose glass after the damage, and in a pressure-based bend test, the iPhone XS cracked at 250 pounds and the screen failed entirely.

SquareTrade also tested the water resistance of the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max in a novel way, using a 5-foot 30 minute dunk test in a tank filled with 138 cans of beer. Beer was the liquid of choice for the test because Apple mentioned beer resistance during the keynote when the two devices were announced.

Both the iPhone XS and XS Max survived the extended beer bath and were entirely operational afterwards, confirming Apple's water resistance claims.

SquareTrade assigned each iPhone a "Breakability Score" taking into account performance on each of the tests, as broken down in the image below. iPhone XS earned a Breakability Score of 86, classified as "high risk," while iPhone XS Max earned a Breakability Score of 70, classified as "medium risk."

squaretradebreakabilitytests
All in all, SquareTrade believes the iPhone XS and XS Max are stronger than the iPhone X, but are still prone to breaking easily given that both devices shattered on the first drop during the drop test.

"We were super impressed with the iPhone XS Max, which is much stronger than its discontinued predecessor, the iPhone X. However, as with the iPhone X, our tests show the all-glass design of the iPhone XS and XS Max make them highly susceptible to cracking, particularly from drops, the most common cause of damage, said Jason Siciliano, vice president global creative director at SquareTrade.

"Repair costs for the new iPhones are expected to be around $399 to replace a front screen and $599 to replace a shattered back. Considering $599 was the cost of the most expensive version of the very first iPhone, repair costs are now something to consider when buying a new iPhone. They're beautiful phones. Just hang on tight."

As with the iPhone X, non-warranty repairs for Apple's all-glass devices are expensive. Without AppleCare+, getting the screen replaced on the iPhone XS costs $279, while a screen repair for the iPhone XS Max costs $329.

Damage to the back of the device falls under the "Other repairs" category, which costs $549 for the iPhone XS and $599 for the iPhone XS Max, making AppleCare+ or a sturdy case a good idea.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

PickUrPoison Avatar
71 months ago
I think six feet is an odd height to use for testing a phone drop. Very few people hold their phones over their head before they drop them.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ksec Avatar
71 months ago
That is the biggest concern for me. I buy an $1099 phone and I am expected to paid $549 when the back glasses broke? I mean the TCO ( Total cost of ownership ) has literally double or more from the iPhone 7 Plus era two years ago. You can buy an $199 Apple Care+ which pushes the phone to $1298, and for $256GB that is $1448.

I often wonder, at what sort of salary range are Apple targeting for iPhone Xs?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FilipeTeixeira Avatar
71 months ago
I don't get it. A company which sells insurance for iPhones and so on, "tested" a device to prove that it breaks easily, meaning that probably you should insure it?
Isn't this a bit like when tobacco companies used to claim that smoking was good for your health, or am I missing something here?
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
northernmunky Avatar
71 months ago
I've owned 7 iPhones to date and never so much as scratched a single one. All were resold in pristine condition.
.
.
.
I've probably jinxed myself now.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nozuka Avatar
71 months ago
Which is why I always buy AppleCare+
I never did and never needed it so far...
I saved so much money by NOT buying AppleCare, that i can easily pay the full price if any device should ever need repairing. ;)
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chrjy Avatar
71 months ago
“But Apple said it’s the most durable”
And they still charge over 500

A sucker is born every second...
They said 'the most durable' not the 'most durable unbreakable glass'.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Monday February 19, 2024 6:52 am PST by
Apple last month confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU and Apple Podcasts transcripts. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay later this year. More details about the new...
apple wallet drivers license feature

Apple Said iPhone Driver's Licenses Will Expand to These 8 U.S. States

Monday February 12, 2024 7:51 am PST by
In 2021, Apple introduced a feature that lets residents of participating U.S. states add their driver's license or ID to the Wallet app on the iPhone and Apple Watch, providing a convenient and contactless way to display proof of identity or age. Unfortunately, states have been slow to adopt the feature since it was first announced in September 2021, with IDs in the Wallet app only available ...
samsung galaxy ring

'Apple Ring' Allegedly in Development to Rival Samsung Galaxy Ring

Tuesday February 20, 2024 2:27 am PST by
Apple is speeding up development of a smart ring that can be worn on the finger to track users' health biometrics, claims a new report coming out of Korea. Teaser image of Samsung Galaxy Ring shown at Galaxy Unpacked in January Apple has toyed with the idea of a ring wearable for several years, as indicated by several patents, but with Samsung preparing to bring its own product to market, the ...
New Macs iPads iOS 17 4

New Macs and iPads Coming Soon: What to Expect

Saturday February 17, 2024 3:00 am PST by
Following the launch of Apple's Vision Pro headset, attention has shifted towards what is next on the company's agenda this year. As usual, March should be eventful for Apple, as it is expected to release new MacBook Air, iPad Pro, and iPad Air models during the month. In a recent press release, Apple also confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March. Below, we recap what to expect...
m3 macbook pro 14 16

Apple Now Selling Refurbished M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pro Models

Monday February 19, 2024 5:04 pm PST by
Apple today began offering refurbished versions of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M3 Pro and M3 Max chip options, offering the machines at a discount for the first time since their October 2023 release. The release of M3 Pro and M3 Max models on Apple's refurbished store comes almost two weeks after the entry-level 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro first appeared on the store....
Apple Watch Series 9

5 Major New Features Rumored for This Year's Apple Watch

Sunday February 18, 2024 3:00 am PST by
Thinking about upgrading your Apple Watch or buying one for the first time? If your current smartwatch is doing its job just fine and it's only the idea of a good deal that's piqued your interest, it could be worth holding out until later this year when Apple unveils its next-generation version. Here's why. There are already several rumors from reputable sources that suggest 2024 could be a...