Is the iPhone X the Most Fragile iPhone Apple Ever Built?

iphone x apple fragile durable screen break
iPhone X drop tests led some to conclude that Apple's latest smartphone is "the most breakable" iPhone ever built. SquareTrade/ Screengrab

When Apple unveiled the iPhone X in September, it seemed the tech giant had finally addressed one of the most common complaints about iPhones: Their propensity for the screen to shatter when dropped.

Apple said the glass on its three new iPhones—the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X—would be tougher than not just its predecessors, but all other smartphones out there.

The new generation of iPhones "are reinforced by a steel and copper structure with the 50 percent deeper strengthening layer using our dual ion-exchange process," Apple said, adding that it is "the most durable glass ever made in a smartphone."

Since its release on Friday the usual slew of tests and reviews that come with the launch of a new Apple product have inundated social media platforms. It didn't take long for Apple's claims to be put in doubt, with some initial drop tests concluding that the iPhone X is the "most breakable iPhone ever."

Electronics insurance firm SquareTrade conducted a series of drop tests and other durability experiments designed to see if Apple's most expensive iPhone ever is also its most durable. In a video posted on Monday, the company gave the iPhone X a "high risk" breakability score, noting failures of the Home swipe and Face ID, as well as extensive shattering and splintering.

A broken iPhone is seen on a table in this illustration picture, October 21, 2017
A broken iPhone is seen on a table in this illustration picture, October 21, 2017. According to early reviews, the iPhone X is the most fragile iPhone Apple has ever made. REUTERS Dado Ruvic

SquareTrade is using the drop tests as a way to push its insurance on iPhone X customers, saying in the video: "Technology comes at a price. Drop it, and you'll pay." But several other drop tests performed by independent bloggers since the iPhone X release have shown similar results.

In tests by EverythingApplePro, the glass back on the iPhone 8 shattered when dropped from head height but the iPhone X remained in tact. While initially impressed by the durability of the iPhone X, the reviewer soon discovered that many functions of the device had stopped working.

Read more: The human cost of Apple's most expensive iPhone ever.

"I just opened this thing, I do not want to break it," the reviewer in the video said. "I sympathize with all of you guys seeing this, it hurts, but I need to see the durability... I am kind of curious: How will the stainless steel absorb the impact compared to aluminium, which is a lot softer and it seems to just bend when you drop it?"

The front and rear glass on the iPhone fared well in the tests, though it soon became clear that Face ID stopped working following the drop tests, and the front-facing camera froze.

"The phone physically did survive but inside something came loose or got damaged. Very interesting, I haven't seen something like this before."

Another video produced by PhoneBuff compared drop tests of the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus, which showed both phones receiving damage.

Read more: Graphene breakthrough brings unbreakable smartphone screens closer.

Dropping the iPhone X from around shoulder height face-down onto steal, Apple's premium device was able to survive two falls without breaking before shattering on the third attempt. After two more drops, the screen of the iPhone X began to malfunction.

Other high-end smartphones tested by SquareTrade include the Samsung Galaxy S8, which received the company's second worst durability score. The most durable phone tested was the Motorola Droid Turbo 2.