Apple says the iPhone 12’s Ceramic Shield display makes it 4x less likely to break when dropped than previous iPhones. But, within days of the first iPhone 12 and 12 Pro handsets arriving, some buyers are complaining about scratches on their screens.
UPDATE: A rigorous test shows that Apple’s latest handsets are not easily scratched.
So what’s going on?
The new Ceramic Shield display is on every new iPhone. It’s a hardened glass material with an innovative crystal structure, but apparently it’s not impossible to scratch:
So my iPhone 12 Pro doesn't have any scratches on it yet, but these demo units at T-Mobile… pic.twitter.com/FyUhwDeT7p
— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) October 26, 2020
Marques Brownlee touches on this talking point in his iPhone 12 review. After just a few days, he says his new iPhone picked up some scratches on its screen.
Brownlee also makes the good point that scratch resistance is often inversely proportional to shatter protection. That might not make sense at first glance. But, as he points out, the softer something is, the less likely it is to shatter — but the more likely it is to pick up scratches. On the other hand, a hard display may be more immune to scratches, but more fragile when it comes to drops.
Or is it scratchable?
Other reports suggest something different. A review by YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh suggests that the new iPhone 12 is both more shatter-resistant than the iPhone 11 and also more scratch-resistant.
Obviously, it’s still early days for the iPhone 12 lineup. It remains to be seen which of these two points — more scratchable vs. more scratch-resistant — emerges as the more common trend.
Apple made a big deal of the Ceramic Shield during its iPhone unveiling. With so much attention placed on the new tech, it would seem surprising if Apple overlooked something as obvious as making screens less resistant to scratches everyday objects like coins and keys.
Incidentally, the iPhone 12 costs more to repair than previous models. If you’re worried about scratches, you could always invest in a screen protector just to make double sure you’re protected.
Do you have an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro? What have been your experiences of this aspect of the new handsets so far? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.