Black iPhone 5 susceptible to ugly scratches?

By , Sep 21, 2012

“Is that a scratch on your iPhone”, a friend of mine asked, much to my horror and surprise. I’d only had this iPhone 3GS for a couple hours and already pesky scratches were beginning to show on its shiny plastic back. The glass back on my iPhone 4/4S has proved far less prone to wear and tear, perhaps partially due to past experiences which taught me to handle my pricey devices with utmost care.

You’d be pressed to think there was no difference in how black & slate and white & silver iPhone 5 models withstood wear and tear stemming from daily use. That said, you’re in for a surprise as some folks apparently have discovered that both the anodized aluminum back and the chamfered edges of the black iPhone 5 are conspicuously more prone to wear versus its white counterpart…

Pocket-lint notes in its review that the black iPhone 5 model started developing unpleasant signs of wear around its beautiful chamfered edges after a few days of heavy use, revealing the shiny silver aluminium metal underneath the slate colored coating:

Ditching the glass back and reducing the thickness of the glass panel on the front has affected the design of the metal band around the edge of the iPhone.

It is now chamfered and while that looks pretty, we’ve already noticed that on the black model the edge has started to wear, revealing the shiny silver aluminium metal underneath the “slate” coloured coating and, indeed, we’ve witnessed it on two separate models, ruling out a fluke manufacturing error.

Hm, that can’t be good.

Image via Twitter

A MacRumors forum thread notes that the black bezel, when scratched, shows bare silver metal. Blame it on anodizing, a manufacturing process which electrically charges particles on the surface rather than going all the way through the metal.

Another person performed a similar test, damaging the back of the black iPhone 5 with a SIM card tray and scratching the edge with keys. The results can be seen in the top image.

The iPod nano’s anodized body also suffers from the same problem, as seen below.

An example of scratches on the iPod nano’s anodized aluminum body. Image via Flickr.

Of course, your mileage may wary as it all depends on how you handle your devices. It should also be mentioned that Pocket-lint’s definition of “daily use” probably differs wildly from how average Joes handle their smartphones in that the publication was purposefully unforgiving and aggressive in its battery of tests.

And here’s iFixit’s scratch test on the black iPhone 5.

Now, I know it’s not what you probably wanted to hear, but you can always use a case to protect your device.

Not me – I don’t do iPhone cases.

In my opinion, the device’s extraordinary level of fit and finish deserves to be fully shown rather than obscured with a case which inevitable increases thickness and adds bulk. Moreover, I’m the type who typically checks for coins, car keys and other objects before slipping the device in his pocket.

I’m also careful in putting my iPhone on a table or other flat surfaces and think twice before picking it up hastily. Matter of fact, I might have developed a case of obsessive-compulsive disorder for I’m very careful about who gets to hold my device in their hand.

After seeing the top image, my initial reaction was, “dang, I’m not gonna be getting a black iPhone 5 after all”.

Then again, even though I prefer my mobile devices in white, the black iPhone 5 is way more sexy and stylish than its white counterpart, wouldn’t you agree?

The heck with the scratches, I’m going with black for this year’s iPhone.

It goes without saying I’m gonna be handling my “Rolex of smarphones” with care and so should you.

This article is brought to you by Duet Display, an awesome app that turns your iPhone or iPad into an extra display for your Mac or PC. Get it now in the App Store.

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  • iMosa3da

    I still want the black iPhone

    • mnm0071980

      Honestly, the black one looks amazing, though I felt I might of made a mistake and should have got the white. Thinking of heading over to Apple sometime in the month and look it over. The black really looks great with a blueish look for the band around the phone (at least in my opinion).

    • Sharbeen

      Same here. But the scratch is really bothering But then I till date took really good care of my iPhones.

  • Anibal Schumacher

    me too, black !

  • Modest

    FREAK. I want it soooooo bad, don’t want any case, but… I don’t know how I can keep up with scratches which goes from black to silver…

  • Johnathan Jennings

    Worst thing that can happen is it will look like aluminum. So what.

  • Ottawa Gamerz

    how the f did u do that i have owned 3gs 4s touches and pods ever scratched any one of them maybe trim your fingernails

  • Anibal Schumacher

    those scratches look on purpose (or Photoshopped), I’m sure we can do that to any surface if we want

    • Lincoln Sills

      It was done with keys on a display unit…

    • Fadi Jabbour

      and what about the video. smarty

  • MiKey

    Black iPhone 5 in front of me. Don’t regret it 😀

  • Ghost Tweeter

    Sod the scratches it’s an iPhone 5 that’s all that counts

  • Aaron Wright

    This is why I don’t buy the first day.

    • Justin Marshall

      Scratches aren’t the kind of thing that get fixed later on. The design isn’t going to change regardless of if you buy it on the first day or 6 months from now. It’s aluminum now and it’s going to be aluminum later.

      • seyss

        No but people serve as guinea pigs for bad stuff like this

      • Justin Marshall

        Yes. But I think the process of trying to not scratch your iPhone is fairly obvious.

    • Fadi Jabbour

      me too. so I’m going to order the white one.

  • Corey Dunmore

    idk if there will be replacement parts like the 4 and 4s, so i would say “pls handle that mu********** with care!”

  • Kok Hean

    It’s just some bloody scratches, what’s the big deal?

    • PathKiller29

      if somebody keyed your car, your reaction would be?

      • Anonymous

        Oho, bitch got stfu haha

      • Anonymous

        Pathkiller29 got put in his place..

      • Kok Hean

        I wasn’t talking about the jerk who scratched the display unit. I was talking about how easily the phone is scratched. It doesn’t affect the functionality of the phone.

        Don’t be an ass and simply assume that I’m supporting that act.

      • PathKiller29

        Same as chipping the paint in your car… It still works… But It doesn’t look pleasant.

        I wasn’t being an ass, I was answering your question, which happens to be in the form of an analogy

      • Japhet Herrera

        if somebody keyed your car, your reaction would be?

        iSheep: I’ll get me a case for my new scratched car, no big deal.

    • Japhet Herrera

      No big deal? scratches out of the box???… and how much did you pay for it again??? if i ended having a scratches on my expensive devise it’s ok as long as its my own doing but out of the box
      scratches? that’s not right, that’s not iPhone thats iScratches…

      • Kok Hean

        Not talking about the ones which were scratched out of the box.

  • Ignacio Irigoyen

    I solved this issue in all my iphones with zagg. They never had a scrach on them

  • WeebSurfer

    I wonder if upon further inspection, it will be discovered that the scratches here are actually rubes off metal from keys and the corner is actually paint from the crappy table it’s on. :)

  • Chaotic Buddhist

    This is why I always use a case. I don’t give a rat’s ass if anyone knows I have an iPhone 5, nor do I feel it needs to be shown off. It’s a tool and sometimes you put your tools into things that protect them. This is no different.

    • SebestyenSzabo

      Sometimes being the key word here for me 😛 I don’t feel the need to have a case on my iPhone 5, as nearly all of my past electronics have fared fine without cases. To each his own however, and you’ll get to look smug when your friends’ case-less phones are damaged XD

    • Japhet Herrera

      what can a case do if you opened the box fresh and find scratches on your phone… cases are made to protect your devices from damages etc and not to hide out of the box aesthetic defects…

  • Asaf Biton

    Its iPhone 5 not 3GS… 2nd line.

    • Michael Hulet

      No… 5… iPhone 5 doesn’t have a shiny plastic back

    • PathKiller29

      “shiny plastic back”
      he’s probably having a flashback to his 3gs… not a typo

    • Appletiser

      it’s not a typo, read the context, the author is explaining his previous experiences of owning iPhones.

  • nima

    thats ngeees signature!!! lol, you are all dumb!!! thats his sig.

  • Guest

    My iPhone 4 never had these :( Anyway, earlier I planned that my next phone would be WHITE, bekz I’ve been using my BLACK iPhone 4 from last 2 years, until I saw te BLACK iPhone 5..its AWESÖME!

  • Brian Pedersen

    I ordered the Black one too

  • Keith Green

    I’m typing this on my black iPhone 5 :) but this news sucks! I also hate that the 5 is quieter than my 4S!!!!!!

    • Orry Tielens

      Is it louder still as the iPhone 4 ? Because the iPhone 4 isn’t a boombox in any way.

  • Keith Green

    I also have a bumper and front and back screen protectors in the mail.

  • Greg S

    No black 64GB ones left when I purchased. This makes me much happier w my white! From excited to euphoric.

  • Jay يوسف Mendoza

    Black iPhone is classy and more elite-looking. The other color is so pretentious.

  • MPD


  • APLfan

    my left pocket is reserve just for my phone.

  • José Oliveira

    I have a white iPhone 4S but this time I’ll buy a black iPhone 5.

  • Japhet Herrera

    repost: what can a case do if you opened the box fresh and find scratches on your phone… cases are made to protect your devices from damages etc and not to hide out of the box aesthetic defects…

  • bo

    I see samsung designers were very busy this weekend scratching the new Iphone….

  • bill w

    Wow that sucks, I would definetly get a screen protector for my iphone then. I usually go through a company called XOSKINS,

  • Sairam Reddy

    Is anyone owning an iphone 5 black.dose it really scratch off…if so can we use an screen protector on front and back(on the aluminium plate).

  • Sairam Reddy

    Is anyone having an iPhone 5 black and thus it really scratch off….if so,is there any kind of screen protection on front and back(aluminium plate)…

  • Noel Smith

    Bought a Aktiv case from EDGE Design. It complements the phone and provides serious protection,