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87 million Americans had smartphone damage in the past year

Here’s a good reason to add a protective case to your iPhone: Americans who have dropped their smartphones on the sidewalk or into a swimming pool are far from alone. A new survey by Allstate Protection Plans found that 140 million Americans have damaged a smartphone at some point in their lives, with 87 million having a mishap in the past 12 months.

The Allstate Protection Plans Mobile Mythconceptions Study looked at the common causes of smartphone damage, along with consumers’ attitudes toward repairing and replacing their phones. It found that while Americans believe only 43% of smartphone owners have had an accident that required repair, 61% have actually had damage that needed repairs.

In the past year, damaged screens (45%) led the list of most common types of smartphone damage. Battery failure (19%) was second, with damaged corners and sides coming in third (13%). Other study highlights:

  • Mythconception versus reality: More than half (54%) of Americans believe smartphone repairs cost $150 or less. In reality, an uninsured iPhone 12 screen repair costs $279 on average, and an uninsured Samsung Galaxy S20 screen repair costs $249 on average.

  • Repair or replace? Sixty-three percent have avoided fixing a broken smartphone because of high repair costs, while 44% avoided repairs due to worries about low-quality work. Most often, people choose to upgrade phones instead, with 64% saying they would buy a new phone rather than get a phone fixed.

  • Don’t be seen with a cracked screen: Forty-nine percent think being seen with a cracked screen is unprofessional, and 47% admit being embarrassed by it. Thirty-seven percent have tried to hide cracked screens in public.

  • Swipe at your own risk: Thirty percent of people have cut their fingers on damaged screens.

  • Case in point: Eighty percent of smartphone owners keep their device in a case. However, 21% say they have dropped and damaged a phone even when it was in a case.

  • Climate concerns: Forty-nine percent of people say the environmental impact of owning a smartphone is extremely or very important to them. Although 56% say they know how to recycle an old or broken smartphone, only 21% typically do so.

  • Old phones stay home: Only 12% of Americans sell their old phones. Sixty-eight percent have an old smartphone in their house, and 47% have two or more. Nearly one-third (31%) say they typically keep old phones as a backup. However, of those with an old smartphone in their house, 68% have at least one that hasn’t been used in four or more years.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the news editor of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.