The Accident Prone iPhone 4?


Four months after the iPhone 4 was release, SquareTrade has released a report today claiming that the hotly coveted phone has a higher accident claim rate than it’s predecessor, the iPhone 3Gs. Significantly higher. In fact, 4.7% of their iPhone 4 owning customers submitted an accidental claim in the first four months compared to 2.8% of 3Gs customers in the same time frame. The numbers are based on a similar sized data set (roughly 20,000 warranty owners).

Additionally, out of all those iPhone 4 warranty repairs, 82% were for a cracked screen. Again, this is higher than the 3Gs but not as much as one would expect (76%) given the early and continuing reports of busted glass on the phone. According to SquareTrade, the report “doesn’t identify which broken screens resulted from dirt trapped behind a slide case,” and “at least a quarter of the broken glass claims involved the back screen.”

The verdict from SquareTrade? The iPhone 4 is more prone to damage than the previous model. But is this due to bad design or clumsy owners?

It’s obvious that when so much of the surface of a phone is glass, there’s bound to be some accidents resulting in more severe damage than with metals or plastic. However, could it be that with smart-phones being in the paws of so much more people, that we’re becoming a little complacent and not being mindful of our devices? Or, if this is a matter of poor design, why are so many people buying into it? Does the style outweigh the seemingly unpractical form-factor of a mostly glass phone?

Some people will argue that you simply need to take care of your phone, while others question the validity of claims that both the front and back glass panes were breaking from a mere 1 foot drop. There’s also the argument that one should simply protect their phone with a case while others wonder, why bother getting such a stylish phone only to hide it?

What do you think? Is the almost-all-glass concept bad design? Have you suffered the unfortunate scenario of breaking the front and/or back of your iPhone 4?



  • Dmrunner

    I totally agree with these findings… since I got my iphone 4 on launch day, I’ve already dropped it at least 4 times. My 3GS was dropped only once during the 12 months I had it!

  • f2tai

    Is there a statistic of the % of iPhones sold vs broken comparing the 3GS v 4? I would look at the %s to determine overall “which broke more” rates

  • That has nothing to do with the iPhone 4 being more prone to damage! Rather, it seems to be that your clumsiness has increased. Can’t blame the phone for that!

  • Chris A.

    Unfortunately, this is an independent report based on SquareTrade’s customer base. It would certainly be nice to see the repair numbers from accidental breaks on all iPhone 4 sales but that hasn’t come to light…yet.

  • I agree with your research work…My phone still not dropped yet

  • Anonymous

    SquareTrade also isnt the sole provider of iPhone 4 warranties….majority of users who have the warranty would be through the Apple store, or covered under their carrier’s warranties.

  • Frankphotoman

    I find this research biased as I know my iPhone4 is more durable in compare to my 2 previous models. The glass doesn’t scratch like the 3G and 3GS models did. Also against what they say about the reception, my iPhone 4 has much better reception(with or without antenna cover/Bumper) than any phone I tested including a few Android phones, blackberries and my 2 old iPhones (in some places at my work only my partner and my iphone4’s have 3-4 bars reception vs. No bars on any smart and non smart models: we do have 9 employees, all with variety of smart phones). I also think it’s fair to see these numbers against none Apple phones and compare.

  • Chris A.

    I’ve heard some people claim that because of the glass that it’s more slippery then previous models and therefore easier to lose grip and drop but I don’t buy that as an excuse.

  • Chris A.

    Exactly. I’d like to see numbers from both Apple and the carriers or retailers who offered some form of warranty protection.

  • Iniquity

    I cracked the screen on mine within the first week of owning it. It was a wimpy drop on to a wooden floor from coffee table hight. The 3G or 3GS would have survived.

  • Wywwwnet

    i personally find that the brushed aluminium antenna/side to be more slippery. i’ve dropped my bare iphone4 from waist height onto a concrete sidewalk once because of the slipperyness! YIKES! i know! my heart stopped as it happened but all it good now. not a single scratch on either glass or the brushed aluminum. only the little plastic strip on between the glass and the brushed aluminium is dented.

  • netskipper

    hence i bought the otterbox, my old iphone 3g was in a speck rugged case, otterbox looks bulkier, however, as long as i can protect my iphone4 🙂 i am fine with bulkiness, people say it defeat the purpose of sleek iphone 4 image, but hey, a bulkier iphone 4 is better than a dead one right 😛

  • Anonymous

    I think the glass case is more slippery. I dropped the phone 3 times in the first few days. My free case hasn’t arrived yet so I’m using my 3G silicone case for now. It doesn’t fit perfectly but better safe than sorry.

  • LoveMyiPhone4

    The iPhone 4 is smaller than previous models which, as someone with small hands, is so much more comfortable to hold.

    I suppose that people used to the size of the 3G and 3GS are finding it harder to hold.