iPhone 4 owners reporting 82% more screen breaks

When there is bad news, there is a storm of bad news, this time seemingly like Apple is in the midst of it all. As Neowin reported earlier this month, Apple is facing their next major problem with the iPhone 4 - Glassgate. The term was taken from "Antennagate", the issue that plagued the iPhone 4 on launch day, with dropped calls and low signal when held in a specific way.

Apple later addressed this problem by issuing a free case or bumper with the purchase of an iPhone 4, but nothing can really protect against Apple's newest problem.

As reports from SquareTrade suggests, customers are complaining about their iPhone 4's breaking, 82% more than the iPhone 3GS. What is more shocking is that Apple promised a better, stronger touch-screen over previous iPhone's. The study was conducted on more than 20,000 iPhone 4s covered by SquareTrade Care Plans and found that the iPhone 4 had an 82% increase in reported broken screens compared to the iPhone 3GS.

The report really puts the iPhone 4 accident reports into perspective, as an estimated 15.5% of iPhone 4 owners will have an accident within the first year. Taking all issues into account, the iPhone 4 is reporting 68% higher than the iPhone 3GS - which means people are not careful with their iPhone, or the glass design might have been a poor choice.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Google helps invest $5billion into offshore wind project

Next Story

Sony releases Google TV products

97 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

It may sound evil, but I get an orgasmic satisfaction when reading such articles. iPhone users always get screwed somehow, but never admit that the iPhone has too much issues for it's ridiculous price.

I've dropped my Nokia N900 6 times from over 1 meter on the asphalt and it only had a few minor scratches on the frame. A friend of mine has dropped his iPhone one time and the glass was broken. After the 2nd drop it was dead.

I'm sure this is caused by the slippery side of the iPhone 4 (honestly I found it kinda slippery). If you make your gadget fall, it cracks - so what?

The iPhone 3GS had a 76% chance of the screen breaking. The article is misleading. It's only a little higher than the previous phone, it's not 82% worse.

The article never explains what the problem is so for those that are interested here it is:

The breaking hasn't got anything to really do with dropping the phone. It has to do with protective cases, specifically those that slide on. Should you use a slide on case and it has some form of grit in between the phone's back and the inside of the case there is a possibility that it could cause a scratch which in turn could turn into a fracture. That is why the Apple Store has pulled all slide on cases from it's shelves. So if you want to use a case look at using a snap on instead of a slide on.

excalpius said,
Source please...

http://www.twit.tv/twit
Episode 269 Fowl Play
a guest on the show wrote an article about the issue I believe it was towards the end

Here is his article: http://gdgt.com/discuss/with-a...-glassgate-next-iphone-ani/

and specifically the paragraph talking about the issue:

"According to my sources both inside and outside Apple, after Antennagate the iPhone engineering team identified another potential design flaw that appears to have sent them into lockdown, and has them working behind the scenes in what's been described to me as something of a quiet panic to preempt any further tarnishing the iPhone brand. Apple has apparently found that non-bumper style cases -- specifically those that slide onto the iPhone 4, which are occasionally prone to particulate matter getting caught between the rear of the phone and the case -- can cause unexpected scratching that could quickly develop into full-on cracking or even much larger fracturing of the entire rear pane of glass. To put it another way: Apple is afraid you might buy a standard slide-on iPhone case, put it on your phone, and then discover the next time you take it off that the entire back of your device has been shattered by no fault of your own."

No suprise really, i mean glass front and rear with no bezel, it's just asking for trouble. tbh it's a designer phone meant for people who use it as a status symbol. From the mention of the dodgey antenna, to the glass, Apple have become a victim of their own success and now there new flagship phone has issues their trying to blame the consumer, i mean honestly hold the phone a different way, because of the antenna>? get a grip, build a proper phone....

apple did the same thing with macintosh 10 years back, it became to item of Want, only to come crashing down and apple disappeared for 5 years...

hrmmm id be screwd if they break easy
ive atleast dropped everysingle nokia ive owned atleast 10+ times, washed in the washing machien and they all still work
they just odnt make them liek they used to

I saw a story on this yesterday. It didn't say 82% more screen breaks it was that out of 100% of problems 82% were screen related vs the 75~%(dont remember the exact number) of the screen breaks on 3Gs

I think this news is way to escalated, all people need to do is look after their product which has indeed cost them a fair bit of money. If they cannot be bothered to take care of their product it is their problem if a default emerges.

Arron said,
I think this news is way to escalated, all people need to do is look after their product which has indeed cost them a fair bit of money. If they cannot be bothered to take care of their product it is their problem if a default emerges.

You're obviously too stubborn to sit back, and look at what the problem actually is. Removing a case is hardly mistreating your device.

LOL the breakages aren't related to drops alone, the earlier report by Neowin showed that the bumper (or case) caused scratching, weakening the glass and finally making it crack.

Bearing in mind the iPhone hasn't been out that long, and if the above is a true major issue, then I think we'll see more than 4.7% (for the iPhone 4) over the 2.8% 3GS breakages over time.

Dropping any sort of (electronics) device can damage it, that goes without saying; this appears to be a design flaw that is contributing to the higher stats.

Apple has what 20 bucks in each IPhone?So even if they replace everyone thats broke they are still makin a +ucking killing.Why is this even a story you sell more of something there is going to be more complants.Apple wanted to be mainstream well guess what guys you are now feeling MS's pain so suck it up and get on with the moneymakin and STFU. Jez

They seem to be calling the back of the device a "screen" judging by this part of the report

"While our data doesn't identify which broken screens resulted from dirt trapped behind a slide case, at least a quarter of the broken glass claims involved the back screen."

If they are counting the back then sure, I'm not surprised at all. The previous model couldn't really break there, or would take a lot more force to, based on the material used. Drop glass on something hard however and it's bound to break. It's probably just as many people dropping them but given it has an equal chance of landing on either side in the past only half those drops had an initial impact with a glass portion, now either does (ignoring it landing on the side).

Honestly, I can't take a report seriously that refers to the back of the device as a screen. Ohh and Apple I'm sure only ever said it was scratch resistant, not shatter proof. I don't like the fact more are breaking, but i think it's stupid to compare glass breakages in this manner when the previous unit had 50% less glass in its body.

As the iphone becomes more and more popular, more and more people are buying the phone.

I wouldnt really say a iphone is to handled just like any other phone, its extremely expensive and people assume that they can treat the iphone just like they would treat there nokia phone.
We can see by regular users of the iphone that most of the people that have had an iphone in the past do not really have issues, its the newer iphone users that treat the phone like a 30 pound nokia. Since they can drop, crush, etc a nokia it should be the same for the iphone.

iPhone are pretty delicate when compared to most of the other phones on the market, and I am pretty sure the majority of breaks are due to mishandling of the phone, treat it like your nokia 30 quid phone and it will break.

Is this a design flaw, or just bad design I dont know, but one thing I do know is, if I had a phone thats virtually all glass it would be treated like it was made from glass, not plastic.

While I tend to try and not drop any electronics, I have dropped my iPhone 4 a few times. A few very light scratches on the back resulted, but otherwise, it's been going strong.

I just got a gel case for mine. Deadset, this phone scratches far too easy. I'm totally disappointed. I should be able to use my phone as I do, without little scratches all over it. Like every other phone I've owned.

Anyway. I still love the look of the phone, and like it much more than the previous iPhone's.

bj55555 said,
Is this really news? If you double the surface that could crack, you'd expect a 100% increase in breakage.

Yes, it's news. Deal with it. It's supposed to be stronger glass, creating a different situation.

I accept the fact that we have to handle our phone carefully, but it should have some resistence to handle these kind unexpected thinks like dropping the phone, when i look at the percentage it seems to be some thing wrong.

techbeck said,
I wonder how many are people testing the glass to see if Apple was telling the truth.....

Apple telling the truth would be a first for them.

Put your iPhone in a case covering the back s well, end of the story.
Yes Apple as made bad decision on the design to prioritize esthetics over durability and antenna performance, this is known.

NienorGT said,
Put your iPhone in a case covering the back s well, end of the story.
Yes Apple as made bad decision on the design to prioritize esthetics over durability and antenna performance, this is known.

Eh? If memory serves, there was an issue with those cases cracking the glass due to garbage being stuck behind them. I had one of those cases for my 3Gs and ditched it when I pulled the phone out once and had to spend about 5 minutes to pull crap out of it. So yeah, that won't really solve the cracked glass problem.

I've dropped my phone countless of times and the glass doesn't even have a scratch on it. I think it's because I bought something that is actually of value and doesn't have an apple tax.

stablemist said,
I've dropped my phone countless of times and the glass doesn't even have a scratch on it. I think it's because I bought something that is actually of value and doesn't have an apple tax.

I've dropped and even tossed my iPhone 3Gs at things. Doesn't have a scratch on it either. I wonder why.

I was drunk the other night and thought it would be a good idea to see how durable my phone is (i'm buying a smartphone this week) so I threw it into the pavement with as much force as I could muster and it just broke into 3 pieces, the phone, battery and battery cover. The thing still works perfect! Try that with an iphone...

sask said,
I was drunk the other night and thought it would be a good idea to see how durable my phone is (i'm buying a smartphone this week) so I threw it into the pavement with as much force as I could muster and it just broke into 3 pieces, the phone, battery and battery cover. The thing still works perfect! Try that with an iphone...

I dropped my Sony Ericsson P1 back in the day. It fell on one of its corners which resulted in a completely broken touch screen display. The phone still worked, but you couldn't see or do anything with it.

All in all, each device will have a 'break point'... in other words, a place to hit where you can do a lot of damage, but will also have locations where a strike will do absolutely nothing. As an example, I've seen someone drop their hard drive onto the street, step on it, then pick it up, hook it up to a computer and have it still working. Then I've also seen someone bump their hard drive into the cooler fan while trying to pull it out of its slot and the thing stopped working after.

(Spork) said,
from apples CEO's twitter

If the glass on your iPhone cracked, you're dropping it the wrong way.


HAHAHAHAHAHHA.

I really liked that one. +1

No no no !!! you got it all wrong, it's not a problem, it's a feature, it's a feature that allows apple to motivate taking 1000 us $ on a phone, and then asking for more money on repairs ! it's normal.

The type of glass used is very hard to scratch but is is very vulnerable to shattering when dropped in a certain way.

Lewism said,
The type of glass used is very hard to scratch but is is very vulnerable to shattering when dropped in a certain way.

So far I think I dropped my phone 3 or 4 times and no shattering yet =)

Lewism said,
The type of glass used is very hard to scratch but is is very vulnerable to shattering when dropped in a certain way.

Very hard to scratch my ass. I had a slight bump the first day I had it, and it's got a scratch. Thankfully on the rear.

All this "Scratch proof" crap on mobile phones is nothing but utter crap.

Lewism said,
The type of glass used is very hard to scratch but is is very vulnerable to shattering when dropped in a certain way.

Yes, I think that's the issue. Clearly there is a stress area that can't handle an impact. Similar to tempered glass, which is pretty durable from direct impact, but even relatively light edge impacts cause significant damage...

I think i know how Steve will respond to this problem.

It's simple people! Don't take your iPhone out of the box!


I've had my iPhone 4 for about 5 months now and so far everything seems fine =)

I'm going to throw it out that people just don't take the greatest care of their devices, but accidents just happen sometimes, regardless of the device you have.
But as these things get more popular, more people buy them, a good percentage of which are not enthusiast and most of the time don't know how to take care of technology very well.

My gf has nearly dropped her iPhone multiple times, and once it nearly went down the toilet, I make sure she carries it in her bag now though, lol.

I will agree that a lot of people don't take good care of their devices but I have a Nexus One and have regretfully dropped it I think 5 times. There are minor scratches but my screen is still intact...no real damage.

I also understand the notion that more users = more screens breaking but 82%? Even if that is exaggerated, that's a ton more screens breaking...

Corris said,
...But as these things get more popular, more people buy them, a good percentage of which are not enthusiast and most of the time don't know how to take care of technology very well.
..

That could be said, in part, about Windows in the 90's..

Corris said,
I'm going to throw it out that people just don't take the greatest care of their devices, but accidents just happen sometimes, regardless of the device you have.
But as these things get more popular, more people buy them, a good percentage of which are not enthusiast and most of the time don't know how to take care of technology very well.

My gf has nearly dropped her iPhone multiple times, and once it nearly went down the toilet, I make sure she carries it in her bag now though, lol.

Yes, but the more people that buy the device the more people would have to break it to increase these rates... It's a percentage, so how many people buy the phone doesn't matter. And the fact that this percentage is comparing the iPhone 4 to another version of the iPhone, and the demographic hasn't changed, it's pretty reasonable to deduce that there is a flaw in the design of the iPhone 4 that makes it more prone to damage...

DaveLegg said,
82% more != 82% of devices

It says "customers are complaining about their iPhone 4's breaking, 82% more than the iPhone 3GS". I'm not sure how else to interpret that other than the iPhone 4 is breaking 82% more than the 3GS did. Are you suggesting the phones are breaking multiple times?

DaveLegg said,
82% more != 82% of devices

Indeed. We can play with statistics.

According to SquareTrade:
4.7% of iPhone 4 users reported accidents whereas
2.8% of 3GS users reported accidents

A difference of 1,9% or an increase of 67,86% (or 68% as the report wrote) from 2,8% to 4,7%. So when you see 68%, you go all O-M-G, but when you look at the the big picture, you need to put this in perspective. And so that 68% is not really relevant.

Now let's get to the 82%:
If you read the report, you will see that the 82% concerns the numbers of broken glass cases within the 4,8% of accidents. So 82% of 4,8% = 3,94% of broken glass and the rest (0,86%) are other kind of accidents.

So should we all go O-G-M again. I don't think so. The phone is pretty much all glass, at least twice as much glass than the 3G/3GS. It would totally against logic if more glass surface resulted is less broken glass. So yes it is okay to say that the iPhone 4 may be more prone to physical damage than the 3GS, but the design of the iPhone 4 is a good reason why. Now whether the design is flawed or not, that's another debate. All I'm saying is that these numbers needs to be taking witha grain of salt.

And if you read the conclusion of the report, you'll see for yourself:

With just 4 months of data, it's clear that the iPhone 4 is significantly more prone to physical damage than its predecessor. The aluminosilicate glass seem to crack at least as often as the old glass, and there is now twice as much surface area to break.

Despite this troubling increase, it's important to take the accident rate into perspective. Overall, the iPhone is still a very well constructed device, with a non-accident malfunction rate much lower than most other consumer electronics.

In SquareTrade's previous study comparing smart phone reliability from November 2008, we found iPhones to be far more reliable than Blackberrys and Palm Treos. We will be updating this report soon, and we'll have data on the latest Android phone models. It may yet be seen that even with the double glass, the iPhone has an overall failure rate that is still better than the competition.

So, people, give it a rest.

Xenosion said,

It says "customers are complaining about their iPhone 4's breaking, 82% more than the iPhone 3GS". I'm not sure how else to interpret that other than the iPhone 4 is breaking 82% more than the 3GS did. Are you suggesting the phones are breaking multiple times?

That's right.
So taking 20,000 claims already and there is more "breaking glass" issues reported than the iPhone 3GS (82% more to be precise)

einsteinbqat said,

Indeed. We can play with statistics.

LOL.. that's right..but you dismiss 4-5% of ALL iphones sold.. considering they sold millions this is not a small number.

You are guilty of exactly the same thing you are accusing whoever reported the statistics. You are trying to minimize the impact of numbers by trying to go low in percentage when your percentages when converted to actually number of phones is not really something to just shrug off.

Corris said,
But as these things get more popular, more people buy them, a good percentage of which are not enthusiast and most of the time don't know how to take care of technology very well.

Yes, because you really need to be a Master of IT to understand how to treat your 600 dollar asset properly.

RuuddieBoy said,

Yes, because you really need to be a Master of IT to understand how to treat your 600 dollar asset properly.

Not what he/she meant. Generally people who enjoy something, in this case technology, are more likely to look after it well.

einsteinbqat said,

Indeed. We can play with statistics.

According to SquareTrade:
4.7% of iPhone 4 users reported accidents whereas
2.8% of 3GS users reported accidents

A difference of 1,9% or an increase of 67,86% (or 68% as the report wrote) from 2,8% to 4,7%. So when you see 68%, you go all O-M-G, but when you look at the the big picture, you need to put this in perspective. And so that 68% is not really relevant.

Now let's get to the 82%:
If you read the report, you will see that the 82% concerns the numbers of broken glass cases within the 4,8% of accidents. So 82% of 4,8% = 3,94% of broken glass and the rest (0,86%) are other kind of accidents.

So should we all go O-G-M again. I don't think so. The phone is pretty much all glass, at least twice as much glass than the 3G/3GS. It would totally against logic if more glass surface resulted is less broken glass. So yes it is okay to say that the iPhone 4 may be more prone to physical damage than the 3GS, but the design of the iPhone 4 is a good reason why. Now whether the design is flawed or not, that's another debate. All I'm saying is that these numbers needs to be taking witha grain of salt.

And if you read the conclusion of the report, you'll see for yourself:


So, people, give it a rest.

You know, everything you just said should have been in the original article up there...

einsteinbqat said,

Indeed. We can play with statistics.

According to SquareTrade:
4.7% of iPhone 4 users reported accidents whereas
2.8% of 3GS users reported accidents

A difference of 1,9% or an increase of 67,86% (or 68% as the report wrote) from 2,8% to 4,7%. So when you see 68%, you go all O-M-G, but when you look at the the big picture, you need to put this in perspective. And so that 68% is not really relevant.

Now let's get to the 82%:
If you read the report, you will see that the 82% concerns the numbers of broken glass cases within the 4,8% of accidents. So 82% of 4,8% = 3,94% of broken glass and the rest (0,86%) are other kind of accidents.

So should we all go O-G-M again. I don't think so. The phone is pretty much all glass, at least twice as much glass than the 3G/3GS. It would totally against logic if more glass surface resulted is less broken glass. So yes it is okay to say that the iPhone 4 may be more prone to physical damage than the 3GS, but the design of the iPhone 4 is a good reason why. Now whether the design is flawed or not, that's another debate. All I'm saying is that these numbers needs to be taking witha grain of salt.

And if you read the conclusion of the report, you'll see for yourself:


So, people, give it a rest.

You know, everything you just said should have been in the original article up there...

Boz said,

LOL.. that's right..but you dismiss 4-5% of ALL iphones sold.. considering they sold millions this is not a small number.

You are guilty of exactly the same thing you are accusing whoever reported the statistics. You are trying to minimize the impact of numbers by trying to go low in percentage when your percentages when converted to actually number of phones is not really something to just shrug off.

+1

Boz said,

LOL.. that's right..but you dismiss 4-5% of ALL iphones sold.. considering they sold millions this is not a small number.

You are guilty of exactly the same thing you are accusing whoever reported the statistics. You are trying to minimize the impact of numbers by trying to go low in percentage when your percentages when converted to actually number of phones is not really something to just shrug off.

yes, but that's also 95-96% of all iPhones without problems.

And what you said just prouves my point. Stats can be played with.

I think these people are just holding it wrong. However, seeing lots of kids that are less than 15 yrs old with iPhones or iPod Touch (at least in this area of the US) I am not surprised to see these numbers. I personally don't understand what a kid with 13 yrs could possibly do with this.

DerAusgewanderte said,
I think these people are just holding it wrong. However, seeing lots of kids that are less than 15 yrs old with iPhones or iPod Touch (at least in this area of the US) I am not surprised to see these numbers. I personally don't understand what a kid with 13 yrs could possibly do with this.

have the coolest phone in school

DerAusgewanderte said,
I think these people are just holding it

corrected. Just lay it down and don't touch it - it's a piece of art. Apple's art.

DerAusgewanderte said,
I think these people are just holding it wrong. However, seeing lots of kids that are less than 15 yrs old with iPhones or iPod Touch (at least in this area of the US) I am not surprised to see these numbers. I personally don't understand what a kid with 13 yrs could possibly do with this.

heck the models using it as a d**** treat it better than the kids.. unless you to to willitblend

Xenosion said,
Don't worry this is just blown out of proportion. There's no real problem here. /s

latest from Steve Jobs, is that the cracking cases are cause by people holding them the wrong way

Xenosion said,
Don't worry this is just blown out of proportion. There's no real problem here. /s

The amusing bit is how these things suddenly started breaking after the issue was discovered and announced. I wonder how many of these are actual breaks and not "oops, I dropped my phone" issues.