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Is the iPhone Camera Lens Scratch Proof?

As an iPhone user, I’ve often found myself wondering if the camera lens is scratch proof. After all, I want to be able to take the clearest pictures and videos possible. To answer this question, I decided to do some research and testing. In this blog post, I’m going to share my findings and discuss different solutions that can help protect your iPhone camera lens from scratches.

The short answer is no, but it is scratch-resistant.

Apple has kept this protruding camera design for a while now, but it provided the cameras with sapphire crystal lens covers. How well do they work, and can they keep the lens safe from scratches? Let’s find out.

What’s Special About Sapphire Lens?

Sapphire is a remarkably hard mineral crystal that falls at level 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This makes it the 3rd toughest mineral behind diamond and moissanite. It’s a go-to material for electronics, optics, and LEDs.

Lenses or lens covers made from sapphire offer more heavy-duty protection. They’re harder to crack and even harder to scratch. Glass lenses pale in comparison to their ability to remain scratch-free.

iPhone’s Sapphire Lens Covers

On its website, Apple lists its iPhones as having sapphire lens covers, but some people are in doubt.

While recent durability tests on Apple’s latest iPhone 14 have proven better overall build durability, they have also revealed that the lens covers on the rear cameras aren’t as scratch resistant as they should be.

The lens covers started showing scratches at levels 67, with increasing scratch severity as the levels went up. Note that sapphire ideally scratches at levels 89. This leads people to believe that Apple used a cheaper or more synthetic sapphire lens cover.

Does this mean that the iPhone camera lens is not scratch-proof or even scratch-resistant?

Scratch Proof vs Scratch Resistant

We’ve been mentioning scratch-proof and scratch-resistant a lot, which are often used interchangeably. So what exactly is the difference, and where does your iPhone’s sapphire camera lens fall into?

Scratch Proof

According to the Macmillan dictionary, scratch-proof means incapable of being scratched. This means that items branded as scratch-proof should have complete resistance to any abrasion

Even though scratch-proof and scratch-resistant might sound almost synonymous, the former is usually regarded at a higher degree.

Scratch Resistant

A lot of items nowadays are advertised as scratch-proof, but most of them should be tagged as scratch-resistant instead.

Scratch-resistant means that the item does well against minor scratches, and while harder, rougher materials can scratch it, it would be much more challenging for that to happen.

Tips to Keep Your iPhone Scratch-Free

Below are some tips to keep your iPhone scratch-free even without the sapphire lenses’ 100% scratch-proof guarantee.

  1. Keep It Away From Harder, Rougher Materials

Even though your keys can’t scratch your camera lens, things like sand and rocks – which fall beyond level 6 on the Mohs scale – can. So it’s best to keep your iPhone away from these.

Additionally, pieces of jewelry, such as earrings and necklaces, can also cause scratches.

  1. Regularly Clean Your Camera Lens

Regularly cleaning your lens prevents the accumulation of small debris that could potentially get into some of its intricate grooves.

We recommend using a soft microfiber cloth instead of regular cotton cloth when cleaning so dust particles don’t scratch at the lens as you’re wiping.

  1. Use a Phone Pouch

A phone pouch is a separate small bag for your phone that keeps it safe from scratches, dents, and cracks. Using it could also significantly reduce fall damage if you accidentally drop your phone while traveling.

  1. Use a Camera Lens Protector

This is last on our list as it’s surrounded by a bit of controversy. Some people say that camera lens protectors are a waste of money; some say they are life-changing.

An extra layer of protection could never hurt. If it does provide you the peace of mind that your lenses are safe, it might be a good idea to look into using a protector.

It covers your camera when not in use and protects it from contact with rough surfaces when placing your phone facing up.

The Verdict

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Following the definitions we mentioned earlier, we can say that the iPhone camera lens is scratch resistant. Technically, yes, you can scratch the camera lenses, but it will require more effort and rougher, tougher materials.

Ideally, premium Sapphire should scratch only at levels 8–9. However, as proven by toughness tests, the cheap or synthetic Sapphire that Apple used for their lens covers already scratches at levels 6–7.

While this doesn’t seem like much, your keys and spare coins —  the usual things you may place next to your phone — actually fall below levels 6–7 and won’t be able to do any damage to your lenses. 

You still have to be careful and avoid exposing your camera lens to hard elements like sand, concrete, rocks, and jewelry.

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