Sandpaper & Crossbows Overcome ‘Sapphire’ iPhone 6 Screen


Contrary to some rumors, it appears the new iPhone 6 screen is neither made of 100% sapphire, nor is it indestructible. Oh, and it’s probably not great as body armor for elk.

Some videos that popped up on YouTube recently appeared to show what’s claimed to be an iPhone 6 screen being completely resistant to any form of scratching. That led to some wild speculation by folks who consulted the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. As financial implications suggest the screen isn’t made of diamond, these same folks moved down the scale to the next entry, corundum — which is transparent in pure form, but better known as either a sapphire or ruby depending on the impurities present.

Tech video creator Marques Brownlee has now put together a video that appears to contradict this theory. Using an iPhone 5S and what he says is an iPhone 6 screen, he attempts to damage the screens using increasingly tough substances. It shows the 6 screen in undoubtedly more resilient than the 5S, but can be scratched by sandpaper. His estimate is that on the Mohs scale, the new screen falls somewhere between glass and hardened steel or tungsten.

The iPhone 5s does already use sapphire crystal for the camera lens and fingerprint sensor screen. In reality it should be obvious that where both flexibility and cost is an issue, Apple was never likely to be using the material for the entire phone screen. Indeed, the Guardian notes that Apple has filed a patent for a method of fusing glass to sapphire, and that’s the most likely explanation for the results of Brownlee’s testing.

Oh, and if anyone was wondering if the new screen can withstand a crossbow arrow fired by UFC announcer and Fear Factor host Joe Rogan, the concluding experiment of the video shows the answer is definitely a no.