iPhone XS is stronger, but certainly not unbreakable

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iPhone XS broken
Yes, you still need a case.
Photo: SquareTrade

iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max boast the strongest glass ever used in a smartphone, Apple says. But is it strong enough?

New tests reveal that although Apple’s devices may be tougher than their predecessors, they’re still not unbreakable. Drop one on a sidewalk and it will almost certainly result in a pricey repair bill.

Apple’s new iPhone lineup isn’t dramatically different to the iPhone X at first glance, but it comes with a number of subtle design improvements that help make it more robust. In addition to stronger glass, both the iPhone XS and XS Max are rated IP68 for dust- and water-resistance.

Do you still need a case to protect your $1,000+ investment? Absolutely.

iPhone XS should be handled with caution

SquareTrade put the iPhone XS and XS Max through a number of durability tests to find out exactly how much stronger they are than their predecessors. The results aren’t too surprising.

Just as Apple promised, the new lineup is more water-resistant, and it can handle its beer. After being submerged in 138 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon for 30 minutes, both test handsets continued to function perfectly.

If your iPhone XS lands on the floor instead of in your pint, however, you may have a problem. SquareTrade’s drop tests proved both devices break first time when landing flat on their faces of their backs. The stainless steel frame helps keep things together if they happen to land on their sides.

“We were super impressed with the iPhone Xs Max, which is much stronger than its discontinued predecessor, the iPhone X,” says SquareTrade vice president Jason Siciliano. “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.”

Expect pricey repairs

If you do break your iPhone XS or XS Max, it won’t be cheap to repair. A screen replacement is expected to cost around $399, while fixing a shattered back costs a whopping $599.

“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,” Siciliano adds. “They’re beautiful phones. Just hang on tight.”

SquareTrade breakability score card iPhone XS
SquareTrade’s breakability score card for iPhone XS.
Photo: SquareTrade

As always, a decent case is recommended for anyone who takes their iPhone out of the house.