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iPhone 12 Scratch Test: How Does The Ceramic Shield Perform?

Apple’s new iPhone 12 and 12 Pro comes with a new Ceramic Shield screen. The company said it’s 4x tougher than a regular screen. How tough is it really? 


Apple covered its new iPhone model with a new glass called ‘ceramic shield,’ which the company said it’s the toughest glass used on a smartphone. However, each year Apple claims the same thing with their glass. 

Although it looks and feels like ordinary glass, the ceramic shield is made up of a combination of glass and ceramic. It’s a totally new material for the iPhone brand. To find out how tough this material is, we placed the two new iPhone models through a scratch and drop test. 

Here’s what we found out. 

Breaking the glass 

The ceramic shield covers the front screen of the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 pro. However, the back is covered with the same glass used for the iPhone 11. But don’t fret, Apple said it’s the toughest glass in the industry. 

Alongside the glass, one big factor that plays a big role that prevents the phone from breaking up is the design. That’s because the ceramic glass sits on top of the metal frame. Apple said that the design makes the back and front twice the toughness compared to the previous models. 

Furthermore, all the iPhone 12 models namely, iPhone 12 Mini, 12, 12 Pro and 12 Max are equipped with the ceramic shield. However, the only difference is the materials used for the frame. Likewise, the pro models have a stainless steel frame while the Mini and 12 models are made from aluminum. 

While the frame’s performance varies on the material used, the ceramic glass offers the same type of protection. 

Scratch test 1

We placed the new iPhone 12 in a small makeup bag. However, the bag contains scratch culprits like keys, coins, and a metallic pen. We shook the bag as hard as we could for about 30 seconds. This is to simulate what’s happening inside the purse or pocket for about a week.

After the rigorous shaking, we wiped down the phone with a cloth. Surprisingly, we didn’t find a single scratch on the glass and frame of the new iPhone 12. 

Scratch test 2 

The next test involved how the new iPhone 12 will hold when in contact with a hard surface. It will be slid back and forth about 10 times. How will the ceramic screen perform against the textured ceramic surface on the front and back of the phone. 

After the test, the iPhone’s ceramic screen had a bit of debris from the tile. However, after cleaning it off, there’s no visible damage to the glass. The back was a completely different story. That’s because the raised camera module doesn’t let the phone lay flat. 

While it didn’t damage the glass, the frame’s metallic paint had a few scratches around the bottom camera. Fortunately, the scratches are barely noticeable but the lenses remained in great condition. 

We tried the test again. This time, we let the camera module hang off the edge of the ceramic tile. We found two microscopic scratches on the Apple logo and one just below the blue glass when we inspected it. The scratches were thinner than a hair strand but not more than a quarter of an inch long. 

Scratch test 3  

The sandpaper scratch challenge. Since the iPhone 12 passed the first two scratch tests like magic. This time, we decided to up our game using an 80-grit sandpaper. In the real world, this could be the equivalent of a phone sliding in a driveway or sidewalk. 

We rubbed the phone against the sandpaper about ten times on both sides with a little bit of pressure. As a result, both sides were scratched. In fact, the screen showed more damage. The lines run horizontally through the middle and a few deeper scratches. 

On the other hand, the phone worked seamlessly. While the back of the phone showed less damage, the reason for that is the raised camera module. But there are visible scrapes in the lower edges and center of the phone. Surprisingly, the lenses didn’t have any scratches even with the metallic finish of the lens frames peeled off.