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Users take to Apple's website to complain of early scratching on iPhone 11

What you need to know

  • Apple support discussion thread suggests iPhone 11 could be prone to scratching
  • Several users have taken to the forum with photos of their damaged iPhone 11.
  • Many of the disgruntled customers claim their phones were scratched whilst inside their pockets.

Following the launch of the iPhone 11, a discussion thread over on Apple Support is gaining significant traction over claims that the iPhone 11's screen seems to be particularly prone to scratching. First picked up by GottaBeMobile, the thread can be found over on Apple's communities page (opens in new tab).

In the iPhone hardware section one user posted the following:

Iphone 11 screen scratchesmy wife and me have put our brand new iphones 11 inside our pocket pants and both screens get scratched the second day of use (mines right in the selfie camera, apple says "without mal function"...). Has someone experimented somethg similar? We are really dissapointed, apple only cares if you have bought "apple care"....we cant use the screen without a protection: worst screen ever....👎

Since that post on September 25, 92 people have replied and the post has over 2000 views. Several users have uploaded photos of their scratched iPhone 11 devices.

Scratched iPhone

Scratched iPhone (Image credit: zero-or-one)

One user in a separate thread posted:

Is anyone else having issues with the 11 Pro scratching easily? Had it less than a week. Never dropped it. I carry it in my pocket with no keys or change in it.my iPhone SE I had for 3 years has no scratches, and my new 11 Pro already has a scratch I can feel with my fingernail. Very disappointed considering this was supposed to be the toughest glass on a smartphone.

Whilst these complaints are concerning when taken at face value, it's important to note a couple of factors. The first is that this seems to happen every year. In fact, if you put the word "scratch" into the search tab of the Apple Support forums you'll get 600 results. Whilst it may seem like a high number of reports so early into a phone's lifespan, it's also important to remember that this is an incredibly small portion of iPhone users reporting the problems, so it's certainly too early to say that the iPhone 11 is somehow flawed or more prone to scratching than previous iPhones.

Apple's press release for the newest iPhone states:

The most powerful devices are also designed to be durable — iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max feature the toughest glass ever in a smartphone and are rated IP68 for water resistance up to 4 meters for up to 30 minutes, and are protected against everyday spills including coffee and soda.

Having said that, Apple's iPhones in recent years have tended toward being more shatter resistant, which can sometimes mean compromising how resistant the screen is to scratching. It remains to be seen whether these reports fall into the category of previous launch complaints, or whether there is something more significant afoot.

Stephen Warwick
Stephen Warwick

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.

38 Comments
  • That's what screen protectors, and cases are for. Unless the phones were damaged out of the box, how can they blame Apple???
  • Agree to disagree. Screen protectors protect from impact, you shouldn't need one to protect the phone from your pocket. I've noticed with my iPhone XR that they seem to have made the glass softer, less likely to shatter, but scratches easier. No real scratches but it is clear that a seam in my work pants pocket have scuffed. Basically there is a line across the screen that has a slightly different texture to it. The screen of my iPhone 8 stayed as new in the same pocket...
  • Seriously? You really do not understand the purpose of screen protectors. It is right there in the name, Screen Protectors. Get it? Duh! Use your brain, for crying out loud.
  • I've never used a screen protector nor would I ever, I hate the way they feel, plus I've never had any issues with scratches. I don't have an iPhone 11 so I don't know if they do scratch as easily as people are saying, but I've owned iPhones from the 3G all the way to the XS Max, and I've never had an issue with screen scratches
  • The glass shields feel no different than not using one. That’s an odd reason to not protect your phone.
  • Yes....they do. I agree with Danny on this one. Even the glass shields feel different and you know they are there. around the fingerprint sensor, and the edges.
  • The main reason for me to not protect my "screen" (I do use a case to protect my phone) is that I've never had an issue with my screen. Dropped my phone a number of times with a case on which has saved it from any damage, and I always get a case which sticks out a bit at the front so that the screen is unlikely to be touched, and thus far, no scratches on the screen
  • Me too. I use speck and life proof cases. Love both in different situations. When in the backcountry I have my life proof fre on. All other times a speck case protects my device.
  • But should not be needed to protect it from the pant pocket, unless you've filled it with keys or gravel... I've had quite a few iPhones and none of them have received any scratches or makes from their time in a pocket, except the XR. They are tuning the glass to make it more impact resistant which means softer and in turn more prone to scratches. You say use a screen protector, I'll be just as silly and say stop dropping your bloody phones. Then we can have glass that doesn't scratch when in contact with a soft cloth and fine thread.
  • Some fine particles can scratch your display very easily and you simply don't know or wouldn't know until its too late.
  • When I spend over close to $1400 on a phone that Apple claims to be the most durable glass so far and shows Ads showing stuff thrown on the phone and on the disply, I am sure they were not talking about having a screen protector on.
    I've always used screen protectors on my phones, but not on Day 1. I ustually get the phone and then order a tempered glass from Zagg and put it on. And I have been using iPhones over a decade now. Never had this problem until this phone. I am usually very careful. I never put anything elase in the pocket that I have the phone in. Yet I found scuffs on my screen. This screen seems extremely vulnerable to scuffs and scratches.
  • li2327 - There's nothing in your pocket that should be able to scratch a modern smartphone screen, including combs and coins. The exception would be if a piece of sand or other grit was rubbing between the screen and another object. Even though I have the iPhone XS and 11, my daily driver is an HTC U12 Plus. I've used it hard without a case or screen protector for ten months now, and you can literally put it back in the box and have it pass for brand new. The glass front and back are flawless, and not even the capacitive touch-sensitive frame rails have any blemishes.
  • It's the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max that have the "toughest glass". The regular iPhone 11 was excluded from the claim. I bought the iPhone 11 a few days ago, so we shall see. I learned this the hard way that Apple puts soft glass on the inexpensive models. Years ago when the 5C came out, I bought four of them for the kids, and had one for myself as a secondary work phone. ALL of them scratched easily. I babied mine and it got scratched by a nickel I dropped in my pocket for a few minutes. Meanwhile, in my other front pocket was an HTC M8 which I went JOGGING with coins against the glass. It never scratched, even after three years of abuse. One time there was something stuck to the screen and I used a screwdriver to scrape it off. It's five years old now and still has a perfect screen. Not all screens are created equal.
  • Incorrect, the “toughest glass” applies to the iPhone 11 as well. Just look at it on the Apple website - says so right where it talk about the new IP68 rating.
  • This is why I don't listen to Apple or any company and put a Tempered Glass screen protector on my iPhone, iPad, etc. Why its a $10 insurance policy that takes the hit and scratches and I can peel and replace and go on with my day. Scratch your display and go to the Apple store and pay for the display and its not fun if you don't have an Apple store near you. Of course regardless of where you get your device serviced backup your device, wipe it and take it in factory reset then restore. Too many horror stories of personal images, data etc getting copied. Doesn't matter who is doing the work its just smart. 1Password folks set up a new feature to wipe your data and restore it later on so you don't have to worry when traveling in/out of certain places you know like the USA and dealing with over zealous CBP.
  • I had the iPhone 11 pro for 4hrs and a long scratch was on the side. I’ve never had a screen protectors on any of my phones. I purchased one right away and thought to myself, there’s something going to be seriously wrong with this glass.
  • Sorry for those who have this issue. Ive had one since 803am launch day no case no screen protector and not one scratch. Again hope things workout for those who have this issue.
  • Glass will scratch regardless of how “tough” Apple says it is. Order a 3-pack of tempered glass screen protectors from Amazon for $7 and stop whining.
  • I've used iPhones since the 3G without a screen protector and never really seen any scratches on the screen. But at the same time, I don't have an iPhone 11 so I don't know whether it's as bad as people are making out. I do take care into making sure my iPhone isn't in my pocket with sharp or hard objects, though, which has probably helped
  • That is why I stick a screen protector on day 1. Also, these people could have specks of dirt in their pockets which could cause the scratch. People love to complain.
  • Didn't anyone watch JerryRigEverything's video? The screen has the same scratch resistance as every other phone. They all use the same gorilla glass. https://youtu.be/7jD5Gkh4K34?t=71
    Also, the images in this article show that the phone screens are dirty and haven't been cleaned, so how do we know those marks won't just wipe off. Many times I thought I have a scratch, but it wiped away. However, the screen can get scratched by the tiny, sand/rock-like debris that can collect in pants pockets. So if you're going to be carrying your phone in your pocket, I'd put a screen protector on it.
  • It is so funny how people are so fast to complain when all that is needed is some basic logic. Why wouldn’t you spend less then $10 to provide a layer of protection to a $700-$1,000 investment. Just put a screen protector on it. Stop the madness and just be proactive.
  • you think getting a scratch on an iphone is bad, try getting one on a galaxy fold, not only will it ruin the aesthetics but it will most likely break the screen
  • Which is why I will not buy any of these folding phones. Even if Apple comes out with one.
  • Truthfully I have never used a screen protector and have never scratched a screen. Did have one fail though when I ran over my iPhone 3GS with my F-150. Interestingly the phone was not destroyed, the screen not shattered it just went black. I figured I was buying an iPhone 4 that day but Apple just replaced the 3GS no cost to me.
  • Can't take the complaints at face value. For example, "I carry it in my pocket with no keys or change in it." Apparently the damage in the pic was caused by denim or other fabric?
  • Apple uses the lowest grade chinese parts they can get, and trick morons with advertising events into thinking it's high end. That's why a $1200 iPhone costs only $250 to make. The only good Apple product is their stock.
  • And a Samsung or Google phone only cost $100 to make. Your point is?
  • To all the people saying “just buy a screen protector and stop whining”: Shut up. There should be a reasonable expectation of durability on a $1000+ smartphone. I have owned every iPhone since the original. I have never used a screen protector. I have never had a scratch in a single one of my screens, not to mention my dozens of android phones. If you’re even reasonably careful with your $1000 investment, you can avoid scratching or otherwise damaging it. But if this model scratches easier than previous models, a screen protector is a band-aid, not a solution. If you didn’t need one in the past, you shouldn’t need one now.
  • Exactly. A screen protector is the safe approach but that doesn’t make it any less of a failure on Apple’s part of the glass easily scratches. This isn’t a problem other modern smartphones have.
  • Knock on wood my iPhone 11 pro screen is still flawless but yikes, I should probably buy a screen protector.
  • LOL. Sharing an opinion to purchase a screen protector causes so many folks to lose their mind. Just because your display has not scratched does not mean a screen protector is not a good investment for others. I have had a screen protector on my iPhones at all times. I never have to worry about a shattered display or scratches to my display. I rarely drop my phone but an accident can and will happen. And one happened today when my X slipped from my hand and fell on my hard wood floors. My screen protector cracked and chipped. I simply removed it, and installed a new one. Telling folks who like screen protectors to shut up is childish and immature. To those folks, grow up. Do your thing and allow others to do theirs.
  • Nothing wrong with people who choose to use a screen protector. But those implying users are making at fault for not using a screen protector or making the $7 investment in a screen protector are wrong. A modern smartphone should not be easily scratchable and require a screen protector.
  • Always amusing when people buy a $700 (or $400 or $1,000 or whatever) electronic device, treat it like a $3 paperback book, then be surprised when it gets scratched. Everything I have is in a leather, folding, wrap around, soft case. Phones, tablets, iPods. Nothing EVER gets scratched. Nothing EVER gets a dent from being dropped. Use some common sense. Put your expensive stuff in a case. All problems solved.
  • I took the screen protector off of my X for a week. Had it in my pocket and the screen got a nice scratch from my AirPods case. The day I got my 11 Pro I didn’t use it until I put my glass shield on it. I don’t take chances anymore. I don’t care what Apple marketing says, what damage tests say or what reviews say. These phones can scratch and if you care about that, protect your device.
  • Your title says iPhone 11. Is it the 11 or 11 pros?
  • For all of you who saying $1000 dollar phones shouldn't have screen protectors on them don't realize Samsung puts one on the note line from the factory to not even give you the option to not protect the screen from scratches. Like it or not glass scratches. Even OnePlus but one on the 7 pro out of the box.
  • All glass can scratch, but I've never had any issues with the normal iPhone displays without a screen protector. I use a good quality case which protrudes at the front and that's it, phone stays looking new as long as you don't put it in a pocket with sharp objects