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iPhone 12 line-up performed better in drop tests than any previously tested smartphone

On Oct. 23, I pondered whether I’d need to buy an applicable screen protector for an iPhone 12 model. The answer seems to be “probably.”

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro hit the market last week with new camera capabilities and retro looks. The iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available for preorder on Nov. 6. Apple says all phones have four times better drop performance thanks to new front display Ceramic Shield screens. 

To evaluate these claims, Allstate Protection Plans put each device through its Breakability Drop Tests (formerly SquareTrade Breakability Drop Tests) and found they performed better than any previously tested smartphone.

During face-down Breakability Drop Tests, the Ceramic Shield screen improved durability, though both devices sustained damage after landing on a rough sidewalk from six feet. Additionally, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro’s flat side design appears to improve durability when dropped on their rear panels. The iPhone 12 suffered virtually no damage when dropped on its back, though the iPhone 12 Pro shattered.

The full Breakability Drop Test video can be found here and reveals:’

° Face-down drop tests: The iPhone 12 suffered only small cracks and scuffed edges when dropped on a rough sidewalk from six feet. This is significantly better than both its predecessor, the iPhone 11, and the Samsung Galaxy S20. The iPhone 12 Pro, which is 25 grams heavier than the iPhone 12, cracked across the lower half of its Ceramic Shield screen but sustained no malfunctions or noticeable functional damage. While it fared slightly worse than the iPhone 12, it also performed considerably better than the iPhone 11 Pro, its predecessor.

° Back-down drop tests: While it scuffed along its corners and edges after impact, the iPhone 12 was virtually unscathed when dropped on its back on a rough sidewalk from 6 feet. The rear panel of the iPhone 12 is not made of Ceramic Shield, and its improved durability may, in part, be due to its flat side design. The iPhone 12 Pro shattered when dropped on its back, resulting in loose glass and cracking on its wide camera. The damage was not catastrophic, and the iPhone 12 Pro functionality did not appear to be impacted.

° Side-down drop tests: When dropped on their sides, both iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro suffered scuffing and sharp steel edges, especially along their corners, but were otherwise unharmed.

Consumers today rely on their smartphone’s camera more than ever. In a survey, Allstate Protection Plans found that 86% of smartphone owners report using their phones as their primary photo and video device, with 80% saying they don’t need a separate digital camera anymore.

“For many of us, smartphones have become cameras with phone capabilities rather than phones with camera capabilities. iPhone 12’s amazing cameras, plus its improved durability, is sure to be a hit with consumers,” says Jason Siciliano, vice president, and global creative director at Allstate Protection Plans. “The Ceramic Shield front is a huge improvement. That said, both phones were damaged when dropped on a sidewalk. Given their hefty repair costs, we encourage everyone to use a protective case and treat their new iPhone 12 with the care you would give an expensive camera.”

Allstate Protection Plans recommends the use of phone cases and screen protectors at all times.

(Dennis Sellers has been covering the Apple industry since 1996. In addition to“Apple World Today,” he also runs his own freelance writing/editing service. If you want more info about the latter, email him at

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.