Build quality is one thing, but Apple's iPhone has never been known for its rugged durability. If you drop it on a hard surface, chances are the fall will cause some damage. So it's no surprise to discover that iPhone users have spent some $14 billion on repair bills for their glass-clad handsets over the last 10 years.
The finding comes from a report released by SquareTrade, a company that tests durability and offers insurance plans for electronic devices. The company looked at iPhone repair data since its introduction in 2007 and compiled its findings into a report called “iPhone Decade of Damage.”
While the $14 billion figure does include replacements for lost and stolen devices, the analysis shows that owners are six times more likely to break their phone than to suffer a loss or theft.
“iPhone owners who have cracked a screen have done so an average of 2 times.”
Despite the fragile nature of high-end smartphones, brand loyalty is high among Apple users. Forty-three percent of current iPhone owners said it is the only brand of phone they have ever owned. Another 44 percent say they will be buying the newest model when it releases.
Not so surprising is the fact that only 35 percent of broken iPhones were in a case when they were damaged. Almost two-thirds of repairs were performed on unprotected devices. So while a case is not a guarantee that you won't break your phone, it does significantly reduce the risk of damage. It would be interesting to know how many of the protected phones were water damage repairs.
Although the report focuses on iPhones, smartphones from other companies can be just as delicate. In fact, SquareTrade found the Samsung Galaxy S7 to be slightly more breakable than the iPhone 6S in its durability testing (above). While the S7 was more water resistant than the iPhone, it was not as resilient against physical damage.
The takeaway from the report is that phone repairs are expensive. An iPhone screen replacement will run nearly $150. So a good case, even if it costs $40, is a sound investment against damage and increases your device's survivability by at least 65 percent. Of course, SquareTrade hopes that the takeaway is that you will invest in one of its insurance plans.