How Sturdy is Your iPad?

Date Posted:20 May 2013 

One of the main drawbacks with portable electronic devices such as iPads is their fragility. While Apple products are generally sturdier than most, there’s no getting away from the fact that the iPad is a computer and computers are fragile things.

A desktop PC sits in one place in a controlled environment, so it doesn’t have to be especially robust, but iPads are portable devices, and the fact that we now take them with us wherever we go makes them even more vulnerable to damage.


If you look inside an iPad (not recommended unless you are a repairer), there’s not really much in the way of hardware, but what’s there is all extremely fragile. From the battery, which takes up a lot of the room, to the motherboard and all the various chips and circuitry, it’s a very delicate arrangement that’s very prone to damage.


The screen is the most fragile part of all and the most expensive part of an iPad. It is also the part that is most often damaged. It has a thin film transistor liquid-crystal display that supports 262,000 colours and a glass touch screen and bezel assembly, and both are extremely fragile.

Transparent films are available to protect the screen from being scratched (the most common damage), but these are often hard to apply and can end up with unsightly bubbles in them.


The best protection by far is an iPad case. Bought separately as an accessory, cases are made from a variety of materials and come in a range of strengths, depending on the user’s needs. Some examples of iPad covers and cases that are built for strength and protection include:

  • OtterBox iPad Defender Case -- has three layers of protection, plus the polycarbonate back cover can be removed and snapped onto the front to protect the screen during storage
  • invisibleSHIELD iPad Full Body Protector -- an all over ultra-thin film that ensures maximum scratch protection (originally designed to protect helicopter blades)
  • Ballistic Tough Jacket -- three layers of complete protection, making it drop-proof, while still allowing access to all functions (but it is heavy and takes time to put on and take off)
  • Tough-PAC -- internal shock protection and a sealed outer shell, comes with sync cradle and carry handle.

The kind of case you select really comes down to the lifestyle you lead and the kind of environments your iPad is exposed to. If you take it with you everywhere and throw it on the back seat when not in use, then you should probably buy the toughest case on the market; whereas, if you only use it at home and you don’t have kids or pets, then you can probably get away without a case at all.

At the end of the day, an iPad is like a waterproof watch. Yes, it’s been tested to a depth of 100 metres, but do you really want to find out if it’s true? Far better to treat your iPad with the same care you would show with any other delicate and expensive item you own, because the chances of damaging it will be greatly reduced if you do.