Presented as the most resistant glass ever put in an iPhone, the glass that protects the front and back of the iPhone 11 lineup was indeed supposed to improve in hardness.
Apple has been developing its resistant glasses for several generations already competing with the Gorilla Glass, which covers many Android smartphones.
The task is not simple. It is indeed necessary to increase the resistance of this glass to shocks. For this reason, glassmakers try to reproduce the characteristics of a phenomenon known since the 17th century: the Prince Rupert’s drop.
iPhone 11’s protective glass doesn’t seem as strong as Apple claims
It is also necessary to make glass “harder” when in contact with other materials while giving it other properties such as resistance to fingerprints, and a decrease in the reflectivity index of the surface. Properties obtained by depositing thin layers of different compounds on the surface. Today all smartphones have a rather excellent fall resistance (they can survive a handful of moderate falls without breaking). But scratch resistance is more variable.
However, many users complain on Apple forums about the surprising fragility of glass on some iPhone 11, Pro, and Max. Users who are mostly loyal to the brand and who are surprised to see how easily the surface of the iPhone 11 can be permanently scratched. Many of them find damage even when treating their device with extreme care. The hardest surface they are in contact with is usually the inside of the trouser pocket, without keys or coins.
However, even under these conditions, permanent marks would appear after a few days. Brands that sometimes take the form of micro-scratches, others that are deeper or visible: “My wife and I put our brand new iPhone 11 in our pants pocket, and we both had scratches on the second day of use (mine on the selfie camera),” explains a user quoted by Tom’s Guide. Another: “I’ve been using Phones since the first generation. I have never installed screen protection, and yet I have never had a serious history of scratches. This is the first time I’ve seen this.”
There are about twenty pages of feedback on the same content on the official Apple forum. When users bring their iPhone back to the Apple Store, many report that employees tell them that the damage is their fault – even when they claim that they never expose their device to materials that could scratch it. For the moment, Apple has not given an official reaction to this problem.