An iPhone fell out of a plane and it survived pretty much unscathed

Said to have fallen from Alaska Airlines flight 1282, the phone survived a 16,000 foot drop in remarkable condition

Apple iPhone 15 Pro
(Image credit: Future)

If you've ever dropped an iPhone from a few feet and turned it over to find a mess of cracked glass, there's a chance this story could annoy you. Cracked screens and back panels are some of the most common repairs on iPhones, and it's easy to see why.

And yet, one fell from 16,000 feet and managed to survive pretty much unscathed. The device – as shared by its discoverer on Twitter – is said to have fallen from the Alaska Airlines flight 1282. That made headlines this week when a portion of the plane shell broke away just after take off.

The sudden depressurisation caused issues onboard. As reported by the BBC, the force pulled headsets from the heads of the cabin crew, and even sent phones flying out of the hole in the wall.

That, it seems, is what has been found here. According to the Tweet, Seanathan Bates discovered the device on the side of the road. With no password on the device itself, Bates was able to open it, finding it still in Airplane Mode and with a receipt for baggage claim still open on the handset.

What's perhaps more interesting from a tech lovers perspective is how unharmed the device is. After a fall from that height, you might expect an iPhone to look a bit like an emptied hoover bag. This one is not only recognisable, but in fine shape!

That is thanks to terminal velocity. As the phone falls, the counteractive effects of gravity and wind resistance give the device a maximum falling speed. The folks over at Wired did an in depth look at this way back in 2011, if you're really interested in the maths behind it.

Of course, it's probably also helped by the soft landing. Judging by the images shown in Bates' post, it looks to have landed in a grassy area, which should have stunted some of the negative effects of the impact. 

In any case, it's impressive. As I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, many of us will have experienced the infuriation of dropping a device and having it shatter on impact. Surviving a drop of around 5,000 times that? Well, that has to be a testament to the device.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.