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You're dropping it wrong: Here's how Apple tests iPhone durability

Unlike your favorite YouTuber, Apple performs its durability tests using professional tools and under various conditions.

Published onMay 30, 2024

iPhone 14 Pro in hand
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
  • Marques Brownlee visited one of Apple’s durability testing facilities, where iPhones and other devices are subjected to drops, water pressure, and more.
  • Apple monitors the impact on its devices using dedicated slow-motion cameras and other advanced equipment.
  • The company claims that by making iPhones less repairable, it increases their overall durability.

Whenever Apple releases a new iPhone, a bunch of YouTubers rush to buy a few and then proceed with torturing them on camera. While they claim that these videos are meant to demonstrate the iPhones’ durability, their tests are often conducted unscientifically. A series of short videos now gives us a look inside Apple’s own durability testing facility, where the real studies occur.

I recently got to visit some Apple labs where they durability test new iPhones before they come out, and learned a few things (🧵THREAD)
#1: Have you actually seen how they water test phones for IP ratings? (video)
— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) May 29, 2024

Following a visit to an Apple durability testing lab, Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) has shared how the company conducts its tests. To evaluate its iPhones’ IP rating, the company subjects these devices to different water stream types. These include ones that simulate light raindrops, drowning, high-pressure hoses, and more.

Apple then commands its robots to toss iPhones from different angles and heights. Meanwhile, advanced, slow-motion cameras record the drops’ impact on the devices’ outer shells. The company then studies these results and adjusts its product builds accordingly.

These scientific tests emulate real life, as Apple uses all sorts of different materials, pressures, and other factors. Unlike most YouTubers, however, the company also uses advanced equipment to study and patch the discovered weaknesses. In fact, it’s not uncommon for Apple to test over 10,000 pre-release devices before it puts out a new iPhone. That’s some rigorous testing that no individual YouTuber or even small team can practically perform.

During the same visit, Marques also interviewed Apple’s Head of Hardware Engineering, John Ternus. According to John, the firm intentionally makes iPhones less repairable, as this allows it to make their builds more durable. Making the devices easier to repair would reportedly jeopardize their sturdiness. For example, the waterproofing seals and adhesives that protect iPhones from water damage make opening the device and replacing its parts more challenging. It’s a compromise that Apple chooses to make.

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