New iPhone SE Nearly as Tough as iPhone 13 in Drop Test Thanks to Improved Glass

Apple's new third-generation iPhone SE is equipped with the "toughest glass in a smartphone" on the front and back, a change that's designed to make the device better hold up to drops and scratches.

iphone se drop test
Allstate Protection Plans this week put Apple's claims to the test with a series of controlled drops, and found that the third-generation ‌iPhone SE‌ does indeed appear to be more durable than the prior model and nearly as durable as the iPhone 13.

The ‌iPhone SE‌ survived a six-foot fall in the face down drop test onto a sidewalk, with the device ending up with only minor scuffing, identical to the ‌iPhone 13‌. Notably, the ‌iPhone SE‌ has a tougher glass, but it does not feature the same Ceramic Shield front glass as the ‌iPhone 13‌ models.

In a back down drop test, the ‌iPhone SE‌ cracked after a 6-foot fall, likely because it does not have the same flat aluminum siding as the ‌iPhone 13‌. The ‌iPhone SE‌ survived the six-foot side down drop test with just minor scuffing on its aluminum frame, again putting it on par with the ‌iPhone 13‌.

Allstate Protection Plans also did a 30-minute dunk test to check on the IP67 water resistance rating. It was able to withstand one meter of water for 30 minutes with no problem, and while there was some audio muffling right after it was pulled out, it was back to normal after an hour.

Drop tests are variable and the results that are ultimately seen in the real world could vary because drop damage will depend on the drop height, surface an iPhone is dropped onto, and the angle that the smartphone falls out.

‌iPhone SE‌ users should use caution and avoid drops, with protective cases employed to keep the all-glass device safe.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE
Buyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Buy Now)
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

HiVolt Avatar
13 weeks ago
These damage tests are so overwhelmingly useless, because as the article states, it depends on so many factors.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Danfango Avatar
13 weeks ago

Is there a more scientific way to test this?
Yes. You have to perform the test on many many devices and record all observations and you have to qualify each device independently.

Many years ago I worked for a company that tested the ruggedised equipment for missile targeting systems. Every single device manufactured was tested for vibration and drop resistance, water ingress and temperature cycling for several hours. The drop test was limited to 50cm but performed over 100 times per unit in a tumbler. After that it was sent out to the field.

I could genuinely see an iPhone surviving this fine and I am 100% sure that they do this testing on a sample of devices during the lifecycle of the device design.

I would however not trust that every iPhone is exactly equal due to manufacturing tolerances and differing assembly lines and Apple do not test every device like this for sure.

I would also assume you couldn't drop a targeting computer from head height and it'd still work fine.


Dropping a phone on YT only has a connection to the loosely defined social science of attention whoring.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
reallynotnick Avatar
13 weeks ago
Some days I wish I could just have like a plastic back to my phone. While I use my phone case-less it's crazy to build a phone with premium materials and then expect everyone to put it in a giant plastic case to never see or feel the glass again.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JosephAW Avatar
13 weeks ago
It’s 2022. You’d think we have transparent aluminum by now. :p
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Return Zero Avatar
13 weeks ago
1) WTF is a "controlled drop"? Exactly how many variables are they actually controlling?

2) Why would I care about a "controlled drop" test result anyway when every time I drop my phone it is due to an unpredicted lack of control?

(PS - I'm not saying these tests are entirely useless... just wanting people to stop pretending to be so scientific about them)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HMWausau Avatar
13 weeks ago
Controlled drop means it's dropped from the same height at the same angle onto the same surface. Generally speaking, it can help determine relative results to expect from different devices.

Different test drop angles, heights, and surfaces dropped on can give you a rough idea of what you expect your device to be able to handle in real world scenarios.

Yes, it IS a very scientific way to predictably determine how a phone might behave, especially if the controlled drops are set in a way to mimmic typical real world scenarios.

Eg, a drop from 5-6 feet is a pretty common occurrence. The phone will typically land on the face of the screen, or one of the corners or be rotating and impact multiple ways. No, you can't predict EXACTLY how it will land, but getting multiple scenarios is the science.

A fling out of a slingshot is a much less likely scenario, and as such that testing is more for fun than testing real world behavior.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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