Scratches be gone — your iPhone 17 might stay looking new for longer thanks to a scratch-resistant layer

iPhone 15 Review
(Image credit: Future)

Getting a new iPhone is always an exciting time but the problem is that you can only keep it looking pristine for so long, especially if you don't like using a case and a screen protector. Keeping that display scratch-free is a full-time job in itself, and it's always going to get a scratch eventually. Screen protectors are one possible answer, but they do ruin the look somewhat. Thankfully, a new report suggests that Apple is on the case and a potential screen upgrade could make a big difference when the iPhone 17 rolls around.

If the report is accurate, Apple is already working on a scratch-resistant layer that will make the iPhone 17 — and presumably the iPhone 17 Pro — harder to scratch. It's said that the technology is already being developed but that it will come too late for the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro devices, which is a shame for those looking to upgrade this September.

Apple has worked to try and make its displays tougher in the past, with limited results. The iPhone 12 introduced the Ceramic Shield, a feature that was supposed to make the displays more durable. However, that was mostly in terms of drop-test performance, ensuring that fewer iPhones shattered or cracked upon impact with the ground. However, making glass harder to break can sometimes make it easier to scratch and it seems Apple might be working on a fix for that.

Screens, protected

This is according to leaker Instant Digital, posting to the Chinese social network Weibo. As per their report, Apple has "spent billions on coating equipment in Japan, which has been handed over to China's supply chain." However, that technology won't be able to help the iPhone 16 which means screen protectors might have a reprieve, at least for now.

In terms of what makes the new screens so tough, the leaker says that "the outer glass of the iPhone 17 series will be made into a super-hard AR layer. It can be said that the iPhone 17 series will be more scratch-resistant and scratch-resistant than you think."

The leaker then goes on to suggest that iPhone 17 owners might not need a screen protector, but that will remain to be seen. If the new iPhones are indeed so difficult to scratch we can expect Apple to make a feature out of it and tests will no doubt ensue as soon as people start to get their hands on the new handsets. They're likely to arrive in September 2025, which means we'll have to wait a little while yet.

This year, Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro models during the first week or so of September before making them available for preorder shortly afterward. Sales are then likely to begin a week later.

While the 2024 iPhones might not have a super-tough screen, there's still plenty to be excited about. Talk of a new Capture Button continues, while rumors also suggest that the Pro models will sport larger displays than their predecessors. Other potential upgrades include new chips and camera tweaks, with the iPhone 14 Pro Max's tetraprism 5x camera expected to come to the iPhone 16 Pro as well as the iPhone 16 Pro Max. The new iPhones will be powered by iOS 18, software that's likely to debut at WWDC in June and sport some big AI upgrades.

More from iMore

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.