No sooner had iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus hit the market, then bend-gate reared its ugly head. People were claiming that the stress of having the new phone in their pocket caused it to deform. The Washington Post noted that a 5' 4″ pianist could not bend the phone, although a 405-lb body builder could. Read all about it here, where the Post claims to have got input from phone-warranty provider and durability-tester SquareTrade.
Consumer Reports, fed up with early non-scientific investigations into bend-gate, decided to take a more scientific approach to the topic. “To stress test these phones, we used what’s called a 'three-point flexural test,' in which the phone is supported at two points on either end, then force is applied at a third point on the top…. We applied and measured the force using a high-precision Instron compression test machine. Along with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, we tested the LG G3, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and HTC One (M8), and for those wondering about their old iPhones, we tested the iPhone 5 as well. We used one sample of each phone.”
The results? If you commonly break three pencils with your bare hands (requiring 55 lbs in accordance with the procedure applied by CR), perhaps you should forgo a new phone—of any brand. Writes CR, “All the phones we tested showed themselves to be pretty tough. The iPhone 6 Plus, the more robust of the new iPhones in our testing, started to deform when we reached 90 pounds of force, and came apart with 110 pounds of force.”
Consumer Reports found that the HTC One and iPhone 6 deformed at 70 lbs. and came apart at 90 and 100 lbs, respectively. The iPhone 6 Plus began deforming at 90 lbs and came apart at 110 lbs. By way of contrast, the older iPhone 5 began deforming at 130 lbs. and came apart at 150 lbs. The strongest phone, according to the Consumer Reports test, was the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which could withstand 150 lbs. without damage.
Gizmodo has yet another take, suggesting it's not how much force you apply to the iPhone but where you apply it—because of the structure of an internal reinforcement.