While results may vary, the iPhone XS was able to survive an 11-foot drop in a daring test by Tom's Guide (opens in new tab). There'a drop test video proving it landed safely despite falling face-first onto concrete.
The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max also survived three-foot, four-foot, and five-foot drops, landing in various ways: on the bottom edge, face-down, and the back of the phone. These are the normal heights from which clumsy people (not you or me, of course) accidentally drop phones all of the time.
It took a 20-foot plunge to smash the iPhone XS Max glass in the drop test finale. The two-story drop rendered the smartphone inoperable. It seemed to have more cracks than pixels – and went from Super Retina to super ruined.
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The case for iPhone XS cases
Today's drop test tells us two things: first, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are probably using Corning's new Gorilla Glass 6 (Apple never says for sure), which is supposedly two times stronger than Gorilla Glass 5. The Samsung Galaxy S10 may get the same extra-strong protection.
Second, even with the extra protection, you're probably going to want to invest in an iPhone XS case if you're buying a iPhone that starts at $999 / £999 / AU$1,629. You also may want to invest in AppleCare+, too.
Apple's claim that it uses the 'most durable glass ever on a smartphone' does check out, at least for this particular test. Tom's Guide wisely mentions "your own mileage may vary." We've often found that to be true in our own personal iPhone drop tests that are also totally-on-purpose (but not really).