Slider cases for iPhone 4 pulled from Apple Stores due to "Glassgate"?

According to Cult of Mac, Apple's retail stores are no longer selling slider cases for the iPhone 4 because of what's been referred to as "Glassgate" - the scratching and cracking of the iPhone 4's glass due to trapped dirt. Even cases that are part of Apple's "made for iPhone" program are reportedly being pulled.

Glassgate may or not be real, but it looks like Apple is trying to find out. A source in the case industry has confirmed that Apple is suspending the sale of all slider cases and testing them one by one in a secret facility.

Apple is investigating whether the constant action of sliding cases on and off the glass-backed iPhone can cause scratches and eventually cracks, said the source. The iPhone 4′s back is not made from the same toughened Corning Gorilla Glass used on the front. The Glassgate issue is not affected by snap-on cases, our source said.

This is huge for slider case makers - a huge hit to their bottom line, that is. Even though making the cases is cheap, makers must invest $250,000 for the molds. Many companies have ordered big production runs in anticipation of selling them at Apple Stores, but now they're left with a bunch of cases and nowhere to sell them. For example, Mophie is rumored to have ordered over 100,000 Juice Pack Airs for iPhone 4.

Not all case makers are buying into the hype. CEO of Hard Candy Cases, Tim Hickman, is not convinced that Glassgate is a real problem, but a perception problem. (Hard Candy Cases are not sold in Apple stores, so this ban does not affect his sales).

I’ve shipped 22,000 units and not heard a single complaint. If there was a problem, we would have heard about it by now. I’m very suspect that there’s a real issue there.

It'll be interesting to see how this unfolds. Will Apple determine that Glassgate is real and permanently ban the sale of slider cases from their stores?

Have you experienced Glassgate to be a real problem? Or do you have a slider case that is working perfectly with your iPhone 4? If you're a slider-case user, are you discontinuing the use of that case until Apple reaches a verdict?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Leanna Lofte

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.

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Reader comments

Slider cases for iPhone 4 pulled from Apple Stores due to "Glassgate"?


I have an Incase slider and it is just fine. Now I will tell you that the iPhone 4 bumper I bought basically destroyed my stainless steel antennas.

Is there a real story here or just someone hyping the month-old 'Glassgate' story that lacked credibility and had no traction in the industry. Before all the blogs start hyping this tale yet again, doesn't it seem just the slightest bit odd that not one manufacturer in the world has confirmed that their cases were actually pulled from the Apple retail stores? Did anyone ever see this type of cases in the Apple retail stores?
Consider this: the stores never stocked the cases. 'Glassgate' is nothing more than a baseless story for certain parties to grow/reestablish their online presences.

Yes, all slider cases have been pulled. Walk into an Apple store and you will not find a single slider case for the iPhone 4. There aren't any available online either.

yes, i have scratched my phone with a case. no this is not a real problem. my 3gs got tons of scratches from cases, but it didn't matter as much because of the plastic. the only scratches come from putting on the case with dirt in it. if you look before you do it, it won't be a problem. if a case fits well, then it wont get dirt hard or large enough to scratch in it while on. if the case does not fit well, you shouldn't have it on your phone to begin with.

I had a piece of sand scratch my original iPhone from 2007 launch. I could see this could cause an issue. my 3G and 3GS got scratches from the slider case but it didn't matter too much the back was white

I'm using a wrapsol ultra and i won't buy a case if it won't fit my iP4 with the wrapsol. The mophie jPa because I was afraid of scratches. The last jPa scratched up the bevel on my 3G and 3Gs.

Do we know for certain that its this mythical glassgate thats causing the cases to go away, or is it Apple wanting to sell their own products rather than someone elses? Seriously, these blogs go a long way to create a story but I know this much to be true:
Apple made a product with glass on it. Glass can scratch. Its not apples fault if you scratch it or break it. If you drop a glass beer mug on a cement floor do you have the moronic attitude that they owe you a better glass? Treat glass like glass, or buy a POS plastic phone if you can't handle nice things. I personally would prefer Apple sell less devices of higher quality than become the every day Ford of cell phones.
Here is more news for you... if you take a knife and stab yourself with it, you may bleed! Oh, and its not the fault of the knife manufacturer either.

P.S. if you build a product and a 3rd party product can break it... why on earth would you sell that 3rd party product. Don't change yours just so some company can sell an add-on.. make them step up their game.
You don't really need a case on these phones anyway... and while I do have the Apple bumper and like it I'd never cover up the iPhone 4 with most the crap cases that are out there.

Well, since slider cases are the ONLY cases that have disappeared from the Apple stores, it's safe to say that Apple is not "wanting to sell their own products rather than someone elses".

I use a mophie juice pack on my iphone 4 and so far so good. It doesn't take much to make sure both the back of the phone and mophie are clean before putting the pack on.

I tried the agent 18 clear slider and the first day I got a hairline scratch and promptly put a back film protector and swore off the slider for the ip4. just wasn't worth it. switched to one piece cases like speck's see-thru and candyshell. slider's won't play nice with screenshields AND back films anyway.
these slider case manufacturers should have given more thought on their cases to work with screenshields and back protectors knowing that the iPhone 4's made of glass so of course they'll want to protect their investment.

@mikeed8986 You are absolutely correct! I was wondering why they didn't make space for a shield. They knew the thing was made of glass. But that is what rushing to market gets ya.
I will never go without a skin on my device. I buy them frequently and replace them I always have one on reserve as well just in case something happens and Apple needs to replace my device so I have one to put on right away. If you have an 1P4 you must have a skin of some sort.

Its too bad Apple didn't put the same glass on the back as they did on the front. That sucks.

@LisaLisa: Why MUST we have a skin of some sort? A phone can't take bumps or bruises to show what it's made of? Yes it's somewhat fragile, but it can still take a punch or two.

Not just sliders, all tight fitting hard cases that are direct plastic on glass. My iPhone 4 now has a small chip on the back glass from a piece of dirt or something getting stuck in my otterbox defender. It had been under the felt part.
I recommend getting a candy shell or somthing similar that has a soft material in contact with your phone.

my best suggestion is to only use cases that will fit with a screen shield AND back film protector on it. there are many cases out there that fit in this category of which i have personally tests including but not limited to speck candyshells and see-thru's, griffin flex grips, and apple bumpers (or most bumper styles in that case).
one piece designs have worked best in my experience.
if you decide not to use a screenshield or back protector, please don't use any tight fitting cases and complain about it later when a piece of particulate has sneaked in and cause a scratch or a chip. loose fitting pouches would work best for those situations.
i'm not an expert nor am i implying i am. just running off of experience from experimenting with many different case combinations over the years from the very first iphone 2g all the way up to the ip4.
i personally use a front and back film protector, a speck candyshell or see-thru (depending on my mood of the day), and to top it off i use a bodyglove universal pouch to minimize any dust or particulate's that should try to sneak in while in my pocket. hope this helps anyone trying to find the perfect protection.

before using the body glove universal pouch for extra protection, i found myself having to remove my case every day or every other day to wipe off any particulate and dust that had gotten between the cracks.
after i started using the pouch, i found myself only having to do clean-up once a month. it definitely helps and it's not limited to body glove pouches. any loose fitting pouch will do that will fit the iphone 4 with a case on it. i swear by them and will never put my iphone 4 in my pocket without a pouch. even if it has a case on it.

I use a morphie juice pack and invisible shield screen protector on the phone and the both work great for me

I don't use a case because I like the way the phone looks and feels without it. I don't really care about scratches or anything as long as it works great. I'm pretty careful anyways. And if it did break, I would just buy another. I've been lucky enough for my iPhones not to break and I've been selling generation after generation to cover the cost of the new one an am able to keep up with technology at no cost to me other than my time. :) and leave Leanna alone. This is absolutely big news.

From the comments, looks like most slider type cases can cause problems with the glass backs. It seems it is hard to get all dirt, and sand from getting between the case, and phone. Time to get the dyson out.

Yup this is true. I was at my local apple store just last week and noticed that slider cases can't be found. I have an incase slider case and haven't had any problems with my iPhone 4.

No pity for case users. All four of my iPhones remained mint without cases. Don't be a such careless slobs. :roll:

Ive had a slider since on my iphone4 since August. I've had 0 problems. The glass back is still pristine.

I've got a slider as well, but it is a soft case. Nary a scratch and I don't use a screen protector. Front and glass still look mint.

No problems with my Sena UltraSlim leather slider case. It's just a leather sleeve, so there won't be any problems.

So I got 2 slider cases as gifts, they were purchased back when apple had the cases, but were just given to me, can i return them now without a receipt? I feel bad telling my mom I don't want them she was so proud of herself picking them out.

Thanks for all the slider case information. What is a bumper? I don't like the cases that fit tighter as I can't dock it for music or recharge. Anyone else?

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