iPhone 12 ‘scratchgate’ is a figment of the imagination

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An iPhone 12 scratch test is no big deal.
iPhone 12 display won‘t get scratched any more than other phones.
Screenshot: JerryRigEverything

The iPhone 12 display is no more likely to get scratched than its predecessors or competitors. A rigorous test disproves an early report that Apple’s latest is easily susceptible to this type of damage.

This should head off anyone declaring “scratchgate” in the spirit of the iPhone 6’s actually real Bendgate and the MacBook’s Flexgate.

The iPhone 12 series puts its OLED display behind a new material Apple calls Ceramic Shield. This adds “nano-ceramic crystals within the glass matrix,” but is only supposed to increase drop performance. Apple said nothing about scratch resistance.

iPhone 12 passes a scratch test

The YouTube channel JerryRigEverything used tools of various hardness on an iPhone 12 Pro screen. In this Mohs hardness test, only tools that are harder than the screen can scratch it.

It took a hardness level of 6 to put the first scratches on the iPhone screen. “Ceramic Shield is still scratching at level 6 with deeper grooves at a level 7,” said JerryRigEverything. “It might just be my imagination but it does look like level 6 scratches are a tad more faint, but they’re definitely still there.”

The YouTube channel ran the same test on previous Apple handsets, with essentially the same results. 2019’s iPhone 11 started showing scratches at level 6. That’s also true of the iPhone XR and the iPhone XS Max, both from 2018.

Plus, Apple isn’t behind the competition in this area. Displays in the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra both started showing scratches at Mohs hardness level 6, according to JerryRigEverything.

So while some people are likely to be disappointed that the iPhone 12 Ceramic Shield doesn’t offer additional scratch protection, at least there’s the assurance that it’s not more prone to this type of damage than earlier Apple models.

Plus, the new Apple material does live up to promises about drop protection. Tests show the iPhone 12 survives brutal drops that quickly broke its predecessor.

iPhone 12 in other torture tests

Remembering Bendgate, JerryRigEverything tried to bend the iPhone 12 Pro. Unsuccessfully.

But the tester was able to scratch the sides of the handset. The same goes for the camera lenses. But that’s with a utility knife … perhaps not the most realistic test scenario.

Watch the full ordeal the iPhone 12 Pro goes through on JerryRigEverything.