Apple sweeps iPhone 4S broken glass under the mat

Do you know somebody with a cracked iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S? The device is becoming increasingly infamous for an easily broken glass casing. Drop it once from a height of about 3 feet, and you have a very good chance of smashing your beautiful device, resulting in, at best, a lengthy trip to the Apple Retail store for a warranty replacement.

This video demonstrates the shocking difference in durability between the Super AMOLED screen used in the Samsung Galaxy S2 vs the iPhone 4 and 4S.

Controversial News | Drop Test - Apple iPhone 4S vs Samsung Galaxy S2 - Durability

Video: Drop Test - Apple iPhone 4S vs Samsung Galaxy S2 - Durability

Quite frankly, the fragility of the device is beyond a joke: it is beyond embarrassing, in fact. Deliberatly releasing a high-end, highly expensive, highly portable product constructed out of deceptively fragile glass is downright irresponsible and class actionable.

I’m not the only one who thinks so.

In January 2011, Apple began facing a consumer fraud class action lawsuit over allegations that the chemically strengthened “aluminosilicate” glass used its iPhone 4 is defective. The “defect” has not been addressed in the new iPhone 4S either, resulting in the fastest selling consumer smartphone also becoming the fastest breaking consumer smartphone on the planet… not exactly a title Apple should want to hold.

While the “defective” claim may not be true, it is still legally important no to have misleading advertisements. The class action suit claims that Apple was marketing the phone on the strength of the iPhone 4 being “20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic” and is “ultradurable”. This has continued with the iPhone 4S:

Controversial News | Apple iPhone 4 and 4S glass is far from durable.



Warranty provider SquareTrade found that iPhone 4 and 4S owners are in fact 82 percent more likely to accidentally break the glass compared to the previous iPhone 3GS and other smartphones.

Perhaps in response to this, Apple has, instead of actually improving the glass issue in iPhone 4S, emphasised that iPhone comes with a 1-year hardware warranty. The fact that this is emphasised as if a feature at all, should come as a huge warning sign for potential iOS users. It is, in reality, a consolation prize and does not offset the personal cost in time and inconvenience experienced by victims of the glass issue.

I know what some of you are thinking: If you buy an iPhone 4S you should know it’s glass, so tough luck. Well this is where you’re wrong: as a consumer of an expensive device precisely designed to be ultraportable, it is a reasonable expectation that the device be made to be at least as durable to a reasonable standard. Being the top-end device, you would expect this to be above standard. For a device primarily designed to be freely ultraportable, this is well below acceptable.

The statistics are so high, while the advertisement of it’s durability so blatant, that this is arguably negligent design on part of Apple.

The biggest mystery is why the company continues to waste literally millions on replacement screens while the cost of adopting Corning’s patented Gorilla Glass or the 20+ year old plastic-that-looks-just-like-glass technologies are much cheaper, lighter, clearer and equally functional solutions. Obviously the “use real glass, because glass is sexier and helps justify the exorbitant price” tactic has been employed here, and employed well over common sense.

The most perplexing part? The original iPhone did indeed use Corning’s Gorilla Glass …and breakage incidents were a much lower percentage of users than today. (Source:Steve Jobs Biography by Walter Isaacson)

I’m surprised Apple allows such an embarassment to continue. Until this is settled, I will continue to smirk somewhat sadly at everyone buying ugly, protective lunch boxes for their otherwise unrealistically fragile iPhones.

For the awfully large number of people who are excusably misinformed about the defects and how to get them addressed: If this happens to your iPhone 4S, do not hesitate to take it in for repair, Apple will replace it right then and there, on the spot, if it’s within the first year.

It’s the least they can do to sweep this broken glass mess under the mat.


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Author:Andrew Beato

CEO, Chief Editor and founder of Intentious. Passionate comment enthusiast, amateur philosopher, Quora contributor, audiobook and general knowledge addict.

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51 Comments on “Apple sweeps iPhone 4S broken glass under the mat”

  1. November 9, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    “For the awfully large number of people who are excusably misinformed about the defects and how to get them addressed: If this happens to your iPhone 4S, do not hesitate to take it in for repair, Apple will replace it right then and there, on the spot, if it’s within the first year.”

    I have tried both AT&T and Apple Care for a replacement of my two week old 4GS broken front glass and the above statement that is made in your post I’ve not found to be true in my experience. Both have told me more-or-less, “tough luck…it’ll be $200USD to replace.”

    Just a side note, I’ve had my 3GS for two years without any incidents of broken glass with the same conditions of use.

    • November 9, 2011 at 10:30 am #

      Here’s what to do:

      1) Place a call with the ACCC ( and get yourself a case number, with your complaint reason being about the misinformation about the glass front strength claims on the website, followed by the replacement guarantee implying to the consumer that it’ll be replaced (“” Quote: “Up to two incidences of accidental damage”). Takes 5 minutes, unless there’s a big queue.
      2) Take it to Apple when you remind them about the Apple site (linked in the article) where it says there’s a hardware warranty, and give them your ACCC case number.
      3) ACCC take care of the rest with Apple, you get a phone call in about 2 weeks telling you that you have a new phone.
      4) Rinse, repeat this process for every phone screen that breaks within the first year of ownership.

      • Anonymous
        December 25, 2012 at 1:33 am #

        What abotut uk?

    • November 9, 2011 at 10:38 am #

      Oh and on your side note: That’s because the 3GS actually does use Gorilla Glass, reportedly. They dumped it for the iPhone 4 and 4S, presumably because Apple are tight asses and didn’t want to pay the fee.

  2. November 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Exactly! I had my iPhone3 for over 3 years and it never broke… despite me dropping it so many times. but NO, with this new phone I have for a WEEK (and was very careful!… plus 30 day warranty) and it has shattered exactly like the one in the picture. I have been on the phone all day and been in the store for the same damn results. companies think they can pull this bullshit and get away with it? NO! I will not let this happen. either im done with em all or I will find a way to fight em. I WILL do something. nobody gets away with this, i hate big corporations and if i have the chance I will screw them. I am fuming right now…. if anybody has advice on what to do I would love some but I have a pretty good idea cooking up currently 🙂 … ps I am HUGE apple fan, so I would like to be on their side but I will be done FOREVER if not

    • Speed
      February 14, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

      Ddi you manage to get it replaced by apple. I have had 3gs and its never cracked. but I feel caught out by aplle with 4S. I wonder if this could also be a health and safety issue. Lots of parents let their kids and even babies play with iphones. If its got such a fragile glass front, the possibility of it not being safe for kids is high. There is no warning from apple about this.

  3. Jonathan
    December 10, 2011 at 3:45 am #

    Hi Andrew is there anyway to get the replacement without calling the accc in australia? I Don’t have a long distance plan…

    • December 12, 2011 at 9:48 am #

      If you’re overseas there *should* be an equivalent regulatory body… what country are you in? UK / USA?

  4. January 3, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    This obviously a case where Apple, being psychopathic money grubbing pigs, knew that their product would break easily and lead to more products being sold. Past and done. They all do it, morons. It’s called “being a corporation”. It’s called psychopathy. That is what it means to be a corporation. To be a psychopath who should be killed to preserve the integrity of the human race. Thank God Steve Jobs died. He such a pathetic excuse of a human being getting all emotional over stupid products yet completely oblivious to the objective reality of our world. Just like a gorillas. Actually animals are much smarter than people. Corporate executives are stupid than animals and insects.

  5. Anonymous
    January 27, 2012 at 6:08 am #

    I thought iPhone 4/4S also use gorilla glass?

    • January 30, 2012 at 11:11 am #

      Apparently Apple is using “Lens Technology International” to manufacture their aluminosilicate glass for iPhone 4 and 4S currently. This was the supplier responsible for the white iPhone 4 delay. (Not verified, just found through Google search.)

  6. Speed
    February 14, 2012 at 5:18 am #

    Hi, is this option of getting the iphone 4s exchanged for a new one still on. I am unable to find the quote on apples website. Just today , our new iphone 4s fell out of the pocket and its front screen is shattered. I am going to the store tomorrow, but would like to be fully equipped when I go.


    • February 14, 2012 at 11:42 am #

      Bottom of this page: under Protection For Your Iphone. Apple will try to argue with you that a) it may be USA only, b) only covers faulty equipment. However, both are invalid because if you call the ACCC and say that the claim on the global website is misleading and clearly states “Every iPhone” comes with “up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage.” Then the ACCC will enforce it and you should be fine. You can tell this to to the Apple Store staff but they might not budge until you give them an ACCC case number. Such is life, Apple are no one’s friend, you have to force their hand.

      • Speed
        February 14, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

        Thanks, but my understanding of what is mentioned in the global website under protection, is “only if I buy apple care +, i would be covered for accidental damage”. Am I reading it wrong. I havent got apple care+ with my iphone 4S.


        • February 15, 2012 at 11:27 am #

          True. Every iPhone comes with 1 year of “hardware repair coverage” – open to interpretation, this means faulty hardware. The Retina Display glass is part of that hardware, and it is touted to be “Made from the same materials used in helicopters and high-speed trains, the Retina display glass is chemically strengthened to be harder, more scratch resistant, and more durable than ever.” (

          Therefore, shattering at the slightest drop is considered faulty and a false claim.

          Apple Care+ gives you undisputed accidental damage. For those without AppleCare+, you need to take the angle above when you demand a new phone, backed by ACCC.

          • Speed
            February 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

            I went to the store yesterday . This is in UK, The store guy had the nerve to tell me that I have signed a 200 page licence agreement where it mentions that the iphone 4s fron end is made of glass. when asked that it is made out of such materieals as used in helicopters he just shot back saying a glass is fragile always, it just like buying wine glass.I also highlighted that the apple care + in UK doesnt cover accidental damage (if I had taken it). The reasoning he gave was that that doesnt affect apple, as they can take it based on insurance in different countries.
            when highlighted that such a fragile glass would become an health and safety issue as it nowhere mentions that its fragile, he came back saying that iphone cannot be sold to anyone less than 12 years old. but what about all the apps wriiten for under 12s and I even know babies who play with iphones.I just walked out disgusted, I am trying to find the local consumer rights body, but honestly am gutted and feel I should find some local vendor who will repair it for me.

          • Speed
            February 15, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

            I just spoke to the consumer rights forum in UK, and I was informed that my case was not strong enough, that they cannot ask apple to replace my phone free of cost. I do have a reference number that I have logged my complaint with them.

            I have been asked to take Apple to court if I think that the companys product was not upto standard. But I have advised that I have to do it on my own and at my own risk :-(.

  7. Michael
    March 21, 2012 at 2:27 am #

    Can I get it replaced if I bought a factory unlocked iPhone?

  8. Brandon
    March 30, 2012 at 6:59 am #

    Does the jurisdiction of the ACCC extend to even into the USA?

    • March 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is the US equivalent of the ACCC. They “deal with issues that touch the economic life of every American”. It is the only federal agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the American economy.

      Contact details: 1 877 382 4357

      Sorry, the article was written prior to breaking into US readership 🙂

  9. Subarna
    April 1, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    So I don’t have any insurance for my iPhone 4s, am I still eligible for a replacement? I bought my phone few months back from AT&T.

  10. Kudz
    April 3, 2012 at 2:52 am #

    I have i phone 4s. Screen is badly broken
    Maybe worst thN in the photo. I phoned apple
    They said they gonna replace it for 199 dollars. Im in
    Canada. I thought they will replace it for free, just got
    This phone. For 3 months.. Any info that will help
    Will be appreciated.. Thanks

  11. Jane
    April 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    I went to an Apple store tonight and they said they won’t replace my shattered glass on my Iphone 4s. They said it’s not hardware so it’s not covered by the one year warranty. It’s not hardware?

    May 18, 2012 at 2:32 am #

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  13. May 20, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

    Hello all, this article was very useful and the comments have helped a lot too. I’ve been an iphone user for a long time. I had the 3g and it went through hell with my buttery fingers but it survived! Yesterday i dropped my iphone 4s from waist height and it just shattered (although it had a very bulky case on). I am still under 1 year warranty but I’ve heard that apple will not replace it. So I’ve prepared myself before I walk into the store by filing an online formal complaint with the FTC (in the USA). I’ll have my reference number in my back pocket in case they give me trouble but I’m hoping that they won’t. Here’s what I did:

    1. If in the USA, visit this website and go to file a complaint:
    2. They’re going to ask for your information and the company’s info so I just put Apple’s headquarter address and customer service phone number.
    3. I skipped all the rest of the questions because It wasn’t pertinent to me.
    4. In the additional comments info I wrote the following with the help of this article and the comments:
    I dropped my Apple iPhone 4s once from a waist height of about 3 feet and the front screen shattered. Apple states on their website: “Made from the same materials used in helicopters and high-speed trains, the Retina display glass is chemically strengthened to be harder, more scratch resistant, and more durable than ever.” As advertised as being the top-end device, you would expect this to be above standard. For a device primarily designed to be freely ultraportable, this is well below acceptable. It is still legally important not to have misleading advertisements. Apple has, instead of actually improving the glass issue in iPhone 4S, emphasised that iPhone comes with a 1-year hardware warranty. I officially want to complain about the misinformation about the glass front strength claims on the website, followed by the replacement guarantee implying to the consumer that it’ll be replaced (“” Quote: “Up to two incidences of accidental damage”).
    5. Confirm and write down your reference number.

    I just want to thank everyone and the author of this article,Hopefully, everything goes well.

    • sneakyd
      May 24, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

      Did having the FTC reference number in your back pocket help you?

    • May 25, 2012 at 11:05 am #

      Wanda, let us know whether it worked for you!

  14. Nicky
    May 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    Andrew I paid $239 (I think) to get my smashed iPhone replaced in Sydney 3 weeks ago, it was still under warranty but they said they didn’t cover smashed screen. Now we are in London for the rest of the year and it has happened again. Really bad luck or really bad design or both.. Went to genius bar here and they said they would have replaced it but as it was bought in oz it has different components so they can’t repair it. He was very nice and told me to call AppleCare here in uk and they would send me a new one. Tried this morning but they are giving me the same line and say if it was 3 they could but not the 4s. All they can offer is I send it to a friend in Australia to take it in to then send it back to me – yes sure.. Any suggestions here? Thanks!

    • May 30, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

      Yes, have a read of the comments above, particularly mine from November 9, 2011 — you must do this via internationally calling ACC in Australia, as if you are in Australia, and provide your international number / email to be reached on by the agent assigned your case. If you didn’t purchase it in UK, you’re not covered by AppleCare UK or the UK equivalent of Fair Trade Commission unfortunately.

  15. Anonymous
    June 3, 2012 at 5:34 am #

    went to apple store and they told me 200 euro….called apple and said they would make me pay for$200..crock of shit if you ask me and the customer service rep was an ass…calling ftc on monday

  16. Hayley
    June 18, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    Went to apple store today. Same story $239 new phone as about a replacement for free and was told “many moons ago we would have, but not now” apple pull yourself together!!

  17. June 19, 2012 at 3:30 am #

    Sorry, but I think I disagree, whilst perhaps it is a design flaw, or misleading advertising, broken glass through accidental damage certainly isn’t something covered by ordinary warranties, and neither should it be – warranties are meant to cover the quality of production, not susceptibility to damage by misuse.

    Whilst there might be a misleading advertising case (although this, too, is a grey area), I don’t think the Australian Consumer Law would consider it un-merchantable.

  18. Gary Leming
    June 19, 2012 at 4:16 am #

    I have had iphones since they first came out. I have dropped them on a few occasions and have never suffered any damage. The iphone I have now, a 4g, was dropped yesterday and the screen broke into many shattered pieces. The 4g must have inferior glass, unlike what is advertised. I have a two year warranty but I have been told glass breakage is not covered.

    • June 19, 2012 at 4:49 am #

      “Must have inferior glass” – none of this is evidence – we can’t say the falls were equal or teh surfaces or anything.

  19. June 29, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    Thank you for taking the time to write this article Andrew…

    There are too many comments of “angry” people on here who seem to fall back into docile lethargy before they even finish writing!

    The way to “fight” something you dont agree with is to stop complying with it. It is clear that Apple is going against their OWN written commitment to the consumer. And THIS is the very thing that Apple consumers should stop complying with.

    Nothing ever changes by people simply shrugging their shoulders, throwing their hands in the air, and sighing “oh well..” at the end of their rants.

    The people who make public claims of outrage on comment threads are 99% of the time not action-oriented people… Complaining, name-calling, and chest beating is the extent of their action.

    If Apple is stealing your money (pulling a bait-and-switch) and breaking legal agreements (not replacing clearly faulty hardware) with you, its time for NON-COMPLIANCE on the part of YOU.

    Complying with Apple’s behavior would mean spending MORE money on ANOTHER iPhone, repairing your device’s glass at full retail, and/or not following the steps laid out by Andrew in comment marked *November 9, 2011 at 10:30 am* – respective of the country you reside in.

    If you are one of the dull-normals on this thread, I implore to replace your habit of complaining and/or shoulder shrugging when you know real action should be taken with REAL action.

    And Andrew, thanks again. Loved your line by the way… “Until this is settled, I will continue to smirk somewhat sadly at everyone buying ugly, protective lunch boxes for their otherwise unrealistically fragile iPhones.”

    LMAO!!! Exactly!

    Charles Hubner, Silicon Valley Resident & iPhone 4s (glass still in tact) user

    P.S. What brought me here is I just noticed a type of grind or needle tip scratch on the rear glass face when I took the case off to put on a different one. Side note: NO ONE is more anal when it comes to caring for technological possessions than I am. So when I saw it, I KNEW there was a problem with the material posing as “magic” glass on my iPhone.

  20. cal
    September 20, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    whats the canadian version of the ftc or accc? ive been to the apple store 3 times and they still want me to buy a new phone for $199

  21. Todd Buttrick
    November 27, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    Just went to the genius bar with my shattered front glass 4S under warranty. No dice. I had it in my lap when I got of the car for gas and it shattered. $200 fee for replacing.

  22. Linda Johnson
    December 7, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    I have only had my iPhone 4S for 3 months. I had a protective case on the phone when I dropped it approx 2 feet onto my vinyl floor … Shattered th front glass just that easy! I am so disappointed !

  23. December 26, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    Let’s hope the new iPhone 5 is a bit better. From my experience with the iPhone 4 it was the back casing that was breaking the most. The worst part is apple offers no warranty despite their clearly poor product.

  24. January 31, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I to find It really helpful & it helped me out much. I’m hoping to offer something back and aid others such as you aided me.

  25. Anonymous
    February 22, 2013 at 4:34 am #

    Went to store w AT&T & apple or Greek squad said they would charge 50$ for loaner phone but only give a refurbished phone & all my things had to be backed up on my home Pc said they had no screens will have to send off for unknown time , thanks for help, Seems the apple has worms ,

  26. March 28, 2013 at 6:25 am #

    I do think the technology and construction of the smartphones now are starting to withstand a bit more abuse. If these manufacturers want us to use the phone for everything under the sun that means we are constantly handling it throughout the day and that requires a certain amount of responsibility from the manufacturer to create a product that could withstand a fall on the ground.

  27. Yod
    April 2, 2013 at 12:41 am #

    I have 4s since December.
    The phone slipped off my hand & the glass is cracked.
    I am at the store. They told me I have to pay $199+tax for replacement. I don’t believe this.

  28. Kevin
    April 12, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    I bought a 4th gen iPod touch and it has a indestructible military strength case on it I paid 50 dollars for I am from Canada so the winters get pretty cold one night I got home from work set my alarm for the next day on my then perfectly fine I pod I went to bed this night was a preticularly cold snap kind of night dropping to 25 degrees and the next morning when I work up there was a 2 inche crack across my iPod screen I called apple it took 4 days to get any real help and was told that I would receive a new iPod 4 gen I was like as long as it is back to normal I don’t care how they fix it I was told that my iPods screen crack was most Likly a battery swell it took a week to receive the packaging to send it back to them at this time the crack had spread sitting in the box it was purchased in and when I finally was contacted by apple they refused to replace it I also have a iPhone 5 and am seriously done with apple and their b.s promises to keep their warrenty pushing me to purchase a Samsung galaxy at the end of this phones time I have given too much money to apple and I am done giving them my hard earned cash apple and Steve jobs can screw them selves

  29. April 26, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    It’s an remarkable post in favor of all the web people; they will get benefit from it I am sure.

  30. April 26, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    I’m gone to say to my little brother, that he should also pay a quick visit this website on regular basis to obtain updated from newest news update.

  31. May 10, 2013 at 1:15 am #

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  32. Anonymous
    June 5, 2013 at 4:17 am #

    I use the apple 4s within 3 months of buying the glass of the phone has been damage due to a slip from only 2ft..when i go to the store they told me it will replace @ 12,800/- & glass broken due to accident is not covered under warrranty..


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