Here’s whether dropping your phone affects its performance:
In the majority of cases where a phone is dropped, the device is just fine, but it is possible for a drop to damage a phone and affect its performance.
These performance differences can range from bricking the phone to cracking the screen to other problems.
Ultimately, a lot can go wrong, even if it’s usually fine.
So if you want to learn all about how your phone’s performance is affected when it is dropped, then this article is for you.
Let’s get started!
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How Do Drops Hurt a Phone? (4 Ways)
If you own a phone, you’ve probably dropped it.
In fact, you’ve probably dropped it more than once.
Did it break every time?
Did it break a single time?
Using your own experience as a guide, you can probably say that sometimes a phone is fine, and sometimes it’s not.
It mostly depends on the drop, and that’s true regardless of the phone model or the user.
The thing to remember is that your average drop does not damage the phone.
They’re engineered pretty well. But, as you very likely already know, some drops hurt more than others, and things can go wrong.
In order to really break this down, it helps to start with the mechanics of phones and drops.
Specifically, how does dropping a phone hurt the device?
Let’s be clear. This is not talking about electrical shocks.
Instead, a physical shock can impact electronics whenever they receive a forceful blow, and getting hit hard by the ground counts.
Physical shock jostles everything inside of the phone, and there is always a risk of internal damage when this happens.
The components inside of a phone are secured and designed to withstand a fair amount of shock, but three things can defeat this protective design: hard enough shocks, repeated shocks, and bad luck.
In any of these cases, the shock can cause micro-fissures in the components of the device that lead to problems.
In other instances, the shocks can crack solder joints or other joints that physically hold the pieces of the phone in place.
If an important piece of your phone gets loose, you’re likely going to run into issues (which will be covered in detail later).
Even when shock doesn’t cause internal damage, there’s still a risk of deformation.
Typically, the shell of the phone is made out of a strong and rigid material.
Aluminum, hard plastics, and other materials have been used by different models at different times, and any of them can suffer deformation from a drop.
Again, your average drop probably won’t be an issue, but really bad drops, repeated drops, and bad luck all factor in the outcome.
The easiest way to understand the threat of deformation is to imagine a metal case.
A really hard impact can put a dent in a metal case (much like a dent in a car).
When you consider how tightly packed the components are inside of the phone, that dent is suddenly putting pressure on the internal components.
If the pressure is severe enough, it can push components out of alignment or cause stress fractures, either of which can impact your phone’s performance to varying degrees.
#3 Cracked Screen
This is the most obvious, but it’s worth mentioning.
If you drop the phone and the screen cracks, that impacts the user experience.
It can also mess up the phone’s performance in terms of visual displays and touch responses.
It’s quite apparent how a cracked screen leads to these problems, but if we’re going to spend time talking about drops and performance, this has to be included.
#4 Catastrophic Damage
In a worst-case scenario, a drop can cause catastrophic damage. This can come in the form of shock, deformation, or both.
If the circuit board in the phone cracked in half from a drop, the phone wouldn’t work at all.
Similarly, if the case is demolished significantly enough, the phone won’t remain operable.
These are extreme examples, but that’s the point.
A severe drop (or a very unlucky drop) can break any of the most important pieces of the phone, and once that happens, you’re looking at the complete failure of the device.
What Do Performance Issues Look Like on Your Phone? (5 Points)
We’ve covered how damage happens, but what does that mean in the end?
What does physical shock actually do to the phone in terms of performance?
Will the phone turn on?
Will it run slowly?
The manifestations of drop damage come in a few varieties.
Ultimately, there are a number of things that can go wrong, and they will impact your experience in a lot of ways.
We can go over the most prevalent of them together.
#1 Bad Display
A cracked screen already messes up your display, but this is not the limit to how such problems can manifest.
You can get dead pixels, discoloration on the screen, scrambled images, a loss of color, and other issues, all related to the display.
Essentially, the screen on your phone has a lot of small components, and if any of them are damaged, it will change how images and videos are rendered.
Drop-related damage can cause any of these issues and in any combination.
#2 Slower Performance
This is pretty uncommon, but it’s still a possibility and worth mentioning.
Essentially, a bad impact can mess up any individual circuit within the phone (or multiple circuits).
While that could lead to catastrophic damage, it doesn’t have to.
In milder cases, your phone might only lose some connections.
It would be intact enough to work in general, but some of the disrupted components would ultimately lead to a slower experience.
The phone can run slower and feel less responsive after a drop.
Again, it’s more likely that the phone would see major performance issues (like no display or not turning on), but the possibility of a slower phone can’t be ruled out.
#3 Speaker Damage
The speaker is an important component on a phone, and it is possible for a drop to only damage this part.
If a speaker is damaged, it could lead to a complete loss of audio on the phone.
In less extreme examples, you might get garbled or distorted audio.
You can also run into volume control issues.
Damaged speakers sometimes cannot produce as much sound, so even when you turn up the volume, things remain quiet.
Anything that can go wrong with a speaker can pretty much go wrong with the microphone too.
So, that’s another area where drops can mess up your phone usage.
#4 Battery and Power Issues
If your phone has a removable battery, this is actually one of the most vulnerable parts of the device.
Because the battery is designed for removal, it is held in place by snaps or locks that are more vulnerable than your average solder joints that hold non-removable batteries in place.u
That means you’re a little more likely to see battery issues related to drops.
If the battery can’t sit correctly in place, it might not be able to maintain good contact with the phone’s power circuits, and that can cause a number of problems.
The battery might not charge as fast as it used to. It might drain faster than before the drop.
In the worst cases, the battery might not be able to run the phone at all.
It’s also possible for the battery cells to sustain damage (although this is another unlikely scenario).
In that case, the battery might not be able to hold as much charge as it used to.
#5 Total Failure
Catastrophic damage leads to total failure. In this case, the phone cannot power on.
Similarly, the phone might indicate that it gets power, but it never loads the operating system or any type of workable environment.
Any such scenario could be considered total failure.
If you can’t use the phone at all, that’s pretty bad.
Most drops don’t end this way, but the bad and unlucky drops can.
What Protects the Phone? (3 Things)
Now that you know how drops hurt phones and how that translates into performance problems, you would probably like to know how to protect your phone.
The good news is that a lot of protection is already built into modern phones.
These days, phones are made without moving parts. That means that the insides can be secured very well, and that reduces the risks associated with drops.
If the insides can’t bang against each other when the phone is dropped, it’s harder to break the phone.
Beyond that, there are design elements and add-ons that increase phone durability considerably.
These are the reasons why most of the time, a phone is fine after it is dropped.
#1 Very Strong Glass
Modern smartphones are made with durable glass.
Each manufacturer and model might use different types of glass, but in all cases, it’s durable.
Gorilla Glass is a good example.
It was engineered specifically for smartphones, and it has high tensile strength and can take a lot of abuse.
If the glass is very strong, then it can absorb a lot of impact when the phone is dropped.
This helps to hold everything together and stabilize the phone in the case of the drop.
In other words, the strong glass is doing more than just resisting cracks.
It’s protecting the whole phone from damage.
#2 Hard Shell
Most smartphones are made with durable shells.
As stated before, the materials used for phone shells vary, but they are all tough.
Phone engineers know that you are going to take your phone with you everywhere and that it will be dropped from time to time.
A major design element in the phones is making a shell that protects the phone from normal use.
So, if you drop the phone from high enough on concrete, you’ll probably still get damage past the shell.
But, if it slips out of your fingers onto the carpet, it’s less likely to take any damage (although it is not completely impossible).
#3 Protective Gear
Do you put a screen protector on your phone?
How about a phone case?
If you do, then you are adding to the total durability of your device.
These are add-ons that are made specifically to protect your phone.
While they come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of effectiveness, virtually any screen protector or case still ultimately makes your phone tougher against drops.
Any impact energy absorbed by these add-ons is energy that can’t damage the phone, and that’s a good thing.