Protection Against Vibration, and Why It's Important

Protection Against Vibration, and Why It’s Important

Ooo Bop Bop

Nobody wants to let dust or rain inside their iPhone… for obvious reasons. Or drop it and watch the glass shatter. That’s why it’s important that Griffin’s Survivor cases pass military-grade tests for shock/drop, dust and sand, windblown rain, and vibration.

But, wait… vibration? Why is protection against vibration important? Vibration just means shaking it a bunch of little times… right?

Right. But shaking is impacting. Imagine hitting your iPhone with a hammer with about as much force as if you’d dropped it from 6 feet, or about 85 newtons. That’s pretty easy to imagine; it’s a big hit. Now imagine a rapid series of little hits, only a tenth as hard. (You might even be hitting it that hard with just your finger.) Imagine doing this over and over, very fast — say, 60 times a second. In one second, you will have hit it 60 times at 8.5 newtons each, for a total of 510 newtons! It will have absorbed a lot more cumulative force than just dropping it that one big time. It’s the equivalent of dropping it 6 times. Now imagine hitting it 60 times a second for 18 hours straight. You just dropped your iPhone sixty-four thousand eight hundred times in a row.

iPhone VibratingWhich is what we do in our vibration testing. We put a Survivor-clad iPhone through 18 hours of vibration at 60, then 120, then  240 cycles per second.

We’re Fixing Up Bad Vibrations

So why is that important? Here’s why: Your iPhone is not solid inside. It’s made of lots of tiny components that fit together very closely. Vibration might have no visible effect on the outside, but inside, it can make connections between components loosen and fail, and cause all kinds of flaky behavior. Picture the tiny speakers or mic inside getting disconnected. Worse, imagine the sealing gasket under the faceplate coming loose, admitting dust and moisture. That’s the way vibration in the real world works.

It’s this real-world behavior that Survivor is designed to protect against. Michael O’Connor, Compliance Manager for Griffin, puts it in everyday terms: “On our test equipment, we subject it to the maximum vibration levels for loose cargo. It’s kind of like putting your phone in the back of a truck and doing 80 miles per hour on the interstate with misaligned, unbalanced tires.”

So. Back in the real world: you’ve dropped your iPhone; you pick it up and examine it. No cracks or scratches. You turn it on. It works. No problem. Then you hurry home on the notoriously and perpetually under-construction freeway, roads so bad it makes you worry about your tires. And you find out, when you arrive home, that you’ve left your iPhone in the trunk and it’s been bouncing around among the spare tire, stray tools and soccer equipment back there. You turn your iPhone on; it works; but what about all that vibration? How do you know it’s okay inside?

Simple: You know it’s okay because it’s wearing a Survivor case.


All of Griffin’s Survivor cases protect against vibration, and there’s a Survivor design to fit everyone’s lifestyle. Scope out the whole lineup at


Leave a Reply