Breakage Rates in a 1:1 iPad Deployment?

New Contributor III

So, those of you that have iPad deployments in your schools, I'm curious - how bad is your breakage rate? My current deployment is 7th and 8th grade, 673 devices total. Of those, we had 121 total breakages (and a few losses) over this year which puts us at 18%. We're a public middle school and our students do take their devices home, but this seems way too high based on the few conversations I've had with other districts.

Are any of you experiencing breakage rates this high, or even better - if you have, how did your school work to lower it?


Contributor II

Big question is what kind of cases are you using?

I have deployed many many iPads through multiple schools and found depending on the cases gives more breakages.

Contributor III

Wow, that's a LOT of breakage! We have 600 iPads here, and this school year we had about 20. Last school year, we had 1 (!) out of 450 iPads total. We are using Otterbox Defender for iPad mini.

New Contributor III

We realized the cases were probably the main culprit. Our 8th grade, who had the higher breakage rate between the two, were using Belkin folio-style cases. Surprisingly though, 7th wasn't too far behind them using our current wrap-around case:

After seeing the high breakage rates, we started to do some "testing" with our two cases and after seeing the results, I suspect that most of this damage has to be happening outside the case. Even with the more budget-minded Rugged cases, the iPad could sustain being spiked directly off the ground, falling down a flight of stairs, etc.

Contributor III

We have been through three years of 1-1 and have been at 2% or less each year with 1,000 full size iPads. We use the Otterbox defender cases on the iPad 2's and the Otterbox EDU case on the Air's.

Is there any liability on the students side if they do break them? We had students purchase insurance if they wanted for $50. That covers the first incident then a $50 deductible for each incident after that. It does not cover lost iPads. If a student loses an iPad they are billed for the full amount, it almost always show back up after they get the bill. If it's stolen they have to file a police report before insurance will cover the loss. If they didn't purchase insurance they are 100% liable for the device.

Contributor II

We had 1,400 iPads last year (3s and 4s). 38 had any kind of problem - including ones that were fixed at no charge. That's a 2.7% rate, at the highest end. We used Brenthaven Folio Hardcases.

The cases failed at a MUCH higher rate (nearly 50%). Most would crack in the corners. Also, the iPad 4s must be ever-so-slightly different sized than the 3s because the lower left corner of the 4s pop out of the cases unless you take extreme caution to make sure both left (inside) corners are in when the outside edge is snapped into place. The cases had so many failures, Brenthaven actually refunded our money.

We are currently evaluating new cases for next year, but will probably avoid folio-type cases in the future.

I think the biggest reason for our very low breakage rate was not the case, but that we do not allow the devices to leave the buildings. The students leave the devices in a cart in each classroom. Obviously, that's a policy decision, and often out of our hands, but there is the data.

New Contributor II

We are 1:1 in 2nd through 8th grade, about 620 iPads. The students do take them home. This last school year we had approximately 90 break. Up about 40 from the previous year when the students did not take them home. We were using the Brenthaven Folio Hardcases which were junk. They gave us a deal on the BX2 case to replace the folios which seems to be a better case but we are still having a lot of the cases and iPads breaking. Also it is pretty evident that a lot of our breakage is happening outside the case. Why are they taking them out of the case? It drives me nuts.

Contributor III

I would make it against the policy to remove it from the case at all. If an iPad is removed from the case here we will not allow insurance to cover it and the student will be responsible for the costs.

Sounds like you guys need to give Otterbox a call.

New Contributor III

Nick_Gooch - As far as our students go, there's a $49 liability for the first two incidents, the third (yes, there have been several) is the full cost of the device. This comes from our first round deployment which we purchased AppleCare on, we brought the second round of students in one the same terms, but we do 3rd party repairs on those units and the district foots the difference. We didn't change any up-front fees for the coverage, it was considered a cost of the deployment.

duffjay - That's interesting that you do a 1:1 but keep the devices in the school, I haven't heard of many deployments doing that. Out of curiosity, have the staff and students minded that sort of setup? I could see a lot of benefits that provides (especially on our side of the world), but I'm curious if there have been any major drawbacks.

sskelton68 - Ouch, it sounds like you have some of my 8th graders! I agree that most of the breakage does happen outside of the cases, but the problem is that some teachers ask their students to take the cases off for specific accessories. Our case has a fairly restricted headphone jack opening and we have some departments that purchased wrap-around accessories that can't be used with a case. To make matters worse, our cases aren't too difficult to take off, but tend to prefer a 3rd hand to keep the device from dropping when you separate it.

One thing I'm also wondering about - when a student does damage an iPad, what exactly do they do? Do they visit an administrator who handles the situation as a discipline issue or do they just head down to the help desk to pick up another? Or something in the middle of the two choices?

Contributor II

Vincent - this is kind of a rough neighborhood, and the county sheriff's dept actually asked us not to send the kids home with them, for fear of them getting mugged. No joke.

Since we have had this policy in place since inception of 1:1, there has been zero blowback.

Staff are free to bring their iPads home, and often do.



We have just completed the 3rd year of our 1:1 iPad program. The iPads were iPad 3's. We used Belkin cases (similar to Of 1750 student iPads we consistently saw about 8% per year experience damage, mainly cracked/broken glass.

Damaged iPads were repaired by a 3rd party (iCracked) and the cost of $150/repair was passed on the student.

Next year we are switching to iPad Air's and switching to different & more robust cases ( and we are hoping to see a major reduction in damage.


Valued Contributor

It's always worth mentioning, mental tricks like allowing stickers, wallpaper changes, and innocent game installs makes students feel like it's their device, and can help them care about it more.

Contributor II

we were using the Griffin Survivor case, , very protective, but very heavy and with a built in screen protector that was slightly tacky, making it hard to use. we found a lot of students taking it off. most of our broken seem to have been without the case.

now we are using the Dux case from STM still very protective and much thinner/lighter. also the back is clear so any asset tags our labels you put on are still readable.

we have still had breakage but it looks like they really put some effort into it. we have about 2000 1:1 student iPads and about 300 faculty 1:1 iPads. we budget in 30 extra per grade. that covers our broken student and faculty iPads with wiggle room for students enrolling after the order for that year goes out.

New Contributor III

Interesting cases, we looked at the Dux this summer but ultimately stayed with our Rugged cases due to the price. The clear back is a nice feature for IT - one of the problems with the Rugged is that none of the device shows through so labels aren't visible, it's also difficult to attach anything to the case itself.

Controlling how much the student is allowed to do with the device is always a tough balance but we've tried to err on the side of allowing them to explore. The only major restriction that we do is a "banned apps" list - mostly social media and remote web browsers.

We're looking to change a few policies next year to try to bring down our damage rate, the biggest being that damaged devices (and their owner) will need to see a principal before they can obtain a replacement.

Contributor II
Contributor II

Since moving to the Dux we have had a total of ONE breakage while inside the case since the start of the year when we swapped over, it has been vastly worth the cost of the case.
I love the clear back case, we allow students to put pictures in here as long as it does not cover their asset tags.
Going from close to 7% breakage rate last year down to less than 1% half way through the year speaks for itself for us.

We have around 700 1:1 iPads.