The Science Behind iPhone Cases: How Do They Work?

July 22, 2018

Science behind the iPhone cases
The Science Behind iPhone Cases: How Do They Work?

The Science Behind iPhone Cases: How Do They Work?

iPhone Case Designing: The Science Explained

Nearly every person with a smartphone has a case that keeps them safe from cracks, breaks, and shatters. But how do phone cases actually work? Here's what goes into iPhone case designing.

Keyword(s): iphone case designing

A cell phone without a case feels naked, impersonal, and vulnerable. Usually, smartphone cases are purchased alongside a new phone. Even if it's not the greatest case, most feel like some protection is better than nothing.

Advancements in corning glass engineering have improved the durability of our phone's screen. The problem is that phones aren't being designed to withstand falls on their own. The back of an iPhone, for example, offers no protection from impact shock.

Modern iPhone case designing is all about protecting your investment and minimizing expensive repairs. Basic screen repair can cost $100, while minor dents and scratches can still cost half that. A great phone case can be attractive and cost-saving.

For more on how these phone cases work, let's learn the science behind dropping a phone. How does a compact device with no moving parts break from seemingly short distances? Let's find out.

Shocking Damage

Modern smartphones are compact, rigid devices. The scratch-resistant display has an inherent weakness to blunt-force impact. When we're talking about rigid construction, we mean that it is solid with no real flexibility.

If the phone receives a lot of energy from striking a hard surface, that energy travels unopposed. Said energy can then create strong vibrations through the screen, which does not flex. This is how cracks can form on Gorilla Glass, despite its ability to resist scratches.

If you have a smartphone with glass front and back, it could easily crack from short drops because nothing is absorbing the fall.

A Modern Dilemma

This focus on iPhone case designing for protection has rapidly increased since the first iPhone launched. Old cell phones, like the infamous Nokia 3310, were designed to be dropped and survive the fall. The phone was not just bigger, it had layers of plastic that would break off and absorb the impact. The battery itself was a layer of protection.

Now, we have 9 out of 10 new smartphones on the market without a detachable battery and fingernail-thin outer shells. Couple this with massively complicated circuitry and you have a recipe for a very high rate of failure.

More people are turning to custom cases for new phones, like the iPhone X. Which they should when they cost as much as a month's rent

Resilient iPhone Case Designing Features

When it comes to shopping for the best design, phone cases come in a variety of styles. You have the classic big and bulky 'tank' selection. There are slim, sleek, 'metal' shield styles.

The rest will be plastic, silicone, or rubber derivatives that are:

  • Soft
  • Hard
  • Rubberized
  • Squishy
  • Combination of the above

Hybrid cases are also very popular. These cases combine soft plastic, rubber, or silicone features with rigid metal or plastic shell. There are multiple preferences here, but the key is finding a case that can absorb impact.

You want flexible, soft components and a shell that can withstand damage. TPU cases, for example, are excellent at absorbing impact and will "reflect" it by bouncing. You want your phone to bounce when it falls, otherwise, something has to give. This is usually in the form of glass or internals cracking.

Do You Need a New Case?

If you are already reading this and don't know if you need a new one, let's find out. You have to be honest with yourself and figure out the risks of going with a cosmetic-only case.

Do you have a job that you spend traveling, working outdoors, or doing construction?

If you're a homebody and work in an office all day, you may not need any extreme shock-absorption protection. That doesn't mean your phone is safe from damage if it falls onto the carpet, however.

Do you do a lot of running? Are you around water a lot?

This covers both risks of the phone slipping out and moisture damage. Some cases protect the phone up to a certain depth. Even a non-waterproof case can protect water/sweat from slipping into cracks.

How old is your phone?

Is your phone a few generations behind the current model? Check your resale value, if so. You might be in a pickle if you can't afford a new one, but your old phone isn't worth the cost of repair. Most people assume that investing in a better phone case for an older phone is wasting money.

On the contrary, because a $30 case that can protect a $200 phone will prevent you from having to buy another old phone because the new one costs over $500.

If your phone is the newest and it cost you an arm and a leg to get it, why even question it? Even if you have phone insurance, there's no reason not to have a first line of defense.

Looks Are Important, Too

We understand the love of beautifully designed phones. We also recognize the art of a well-engineered case that compliments your style. You can design a phone case without adding too much bulk.

A thin layer of soft silicone or TPU, for example, provides a ton of value without sacrificing form-factor. Plus, the added grip your phone will reduce the number of drops dramatically. You can hold your phone in landscape mode without using a death-grip or crab-claw to avoid dropping it.

Create Your Own Protection

If you're someone who is just prone to dropping things, no matter how careful, you need a case. A new phone isn't a luxury many of us can afford. Why not turn this into an opportunity to express yourself?

You can use our iPhone case designing to help you get the perfect case. We offer a wide selection of supported phones, iPhone and Android. The design process is simple and intuitive. You can even upload your own photos and designs to really make your smartphone 'smart'. You also have the ability to pull photos from your Facebook, Flickr, or Instagram account.

Have fun, customize your own phone case, and rest easy knowing that you're protected from accidents.

Help Me Decide

Extra Protective

Two-piece design that features rubber liner for shock protection. Outer shell is ultra durable premium plastic. Learn More - See Photo & Video

Clear Extra Protective

One-piece design that features rubber sides and hard plastic back. Case is clear allowing your phone colors to show. Learn More - See Photo & Video


Single piece design made out of durable premium plastic. Learn More - See Photo & Video

Wallet Folio

Protective and Stylish faux leather with room to hold cash, ID and credit cards. Includes clear protective case insert. VIDEO COMING SOON