New durability tests show Apple iPhone 14 prone to significant damage when dropped

I recently upgraded to the iPhone 14 Pro, and one of the first things I did was to drop it. Not on purpose, or as part of some amazing durability test, but just because I was juggling too many things at once, and the most expensive thing that I was holding (by some way!) was the thing that hit the deck.

Fortunately, it sustained no damage, but not every clumsy iPhone owner will be as lucky.

Allstate Protection Plans put the two largest new Apple devices -- the iPhone 14 Plus and the heavier iPhone 14 Pro Max -- through a series of robotic drops, and found that both handsets were prone to significant damage when dropped face-down and back-down.

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The iPhone 14 Plus survived being dropped down some stairs on its aluminum side and survived virtually unscathed, so that's some comfort.

The full Breakability Drop Test found:

  • Sidewalk Face-down Drop Tests: When dropped face-down from six feet, iPhone 14 Pro Max shattered with bullseye cracks appearing along one side and through a corner. iPhone 14 Plus also suffered bullseye cracks along one side and through a corner in addition to having loose glass, making it difficult to handle with bare hands.
  • Sidewalk Back-down Drop Tests: When dropped back-down from six feet, iPhone 14 Pro Max suffered catastrophic damage. While the camera still functioned, the glass back was completely shattered including chunks of missing glass around its large camera housing. The iPhone 14 Plus again suffered bullseye cracks along one side and through a corner, in addition to raised glass and damage to its camera housing.
  • Staircase Side-down Drop Tests: When dropped side-down from six feet onto a paved outdoor staircase, a difficult test for any device, iPhone 14 Pro Max suffered a cracked back panel, scuffed corners, dented buttons, and damage to its camera housing. However, it functioned normally, and the camera still operated without issue. The iPhone 14 Plus aerospace-grade aluminum flat-side design was especially impressive, surviving its stairs drop with only minor scuffing on its corners.

"The new iPhone 14 Plus and 14 Pro Max shattered on the first drop front and back, though they were still fully functional, including their amazing new cameras. The iPhone 14 Plus is a leap forward when it comes to repairability. Both iPhone 14 and 14 Plus come with removable back panels, making them easier and less expensive to repair. Apple should be applauded for this upgrade, as it’s great for their customer’s wallets and the environment," said Jason Siciliano, vice president and global creative director at Allstate Protection Plans (formerly SquareTrade).

It's not great news for Max owners though, as Siciliano observes: "That said, the heavier iPhone 14 Pro Max is still easily damaged when dropped and expensive to repair. Which is why we always recommend owners add a case, screen protector, and consider a protection plan."

You can watch the full series of tests in the video below:

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