Some users complain about screen scratches on their new iPhone 12

iPhone 12 pricing is lower for Verizon and AT&T customers.
Evidence isn’t conclusive.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone 12’s Ceramic Glass 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 shipping, some users are complaining about scratches on the new handsets.

So what’s going on?

The new Ceramic Shield display is on every new iPhones. It’s a new hardened glass material which an innovative crystal structure that toughens them up. (And increases the repair costs in the process.) But that’s not stopping some complaining about early scratches.


Marques Brownlee touches on this talking point in his new iPhone 12 review. Brownlee notes that, even after a few days, he’s already picked up some scratches on the screen. He 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?

But 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, too.

This is still early days for the new iPhone. It remains to be seen which of these two points — more scratchable vs. more scratch resistant — emerges as the common trend. Apple made a big deal of the Ceramic Shield when it did its iPhone unveiling. With so much attention placed on the new screen protection tech, it would seem surprising if Apple overlooked something as obvious as making screens more drop-resistant, but less resistant to everyday objects like coins and keys. (If you’re worried, however, you could always consider investing in a screen protector just to make doubling sure that 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.