Home Science & Technology What is Ceramic Shield? An explanation of Apple’s iPhone screen protection

What is Ceramic Shield? An explanation of Apple’s iPhone screen protection


Ceramic Shield was introduced to make the screens of Apple phones more resistant to damage. Here’s how it works and which iPhones enable it.

One of the most vulnerable parts of your phone is the screen, and repairing a broken phone can be very annoying and expensive.

Fortunately, over the past few years, many phone manufacturers have upped their game and are trying to make sure their devices are more durable, helping users save money and avoid the dangers of a cracked screen.

And although some of best android phones Now using Gorilla Glass, Apple is going its own way and using Ceramic Shield technology, still manufactured by Corning, starting with iPhone 12.

What is Ceramic Shield?

As the name suggests, the displays have actual ceramics inside, with Glass International claiming to have nanoceramic crystals embedded in a glass matrix.

While this material may have transparency issues, both the crystal type and degree of crystallinity have been optimized for iPhone screen transparency.

Ceramics are generally opaque, but the atoms in the Corning glass-ceramic structure are transformed from the random structure of the glass into the regular crystal structure of the ceramic by an “The intense application of carefully controlled heat and the addition of a nucleator — silver or titanium, for example — that forms ‘seeds’ around which crystals can grow.” The resulting structure preserves the transparency of the glass, but at the same time the material is significantly strengthened.

The screen then goes through an “ion exchange” process, which Gorilla Glass also does. Corning explains that this is done by placing an intact sheet of glass in a bath of molten salt solution so that “the potassium ions in the solution migrate to the surface of the glass, replacing the smaller sodium ions in the glass structure. These larger potassium ions create a compressive layer that forms a durable surface.”

This exchange of ions puts the glass in a “compression state”, meaning it is better able to resist the tension that would otherwise create cracks in the surface of a normal glass panel due to small defects already present in the surface.

Apple claimed in 2020 that the use of Ceramic Shield gave the iPhone four times more drop protection compared to its predecessor, iPhone 11 series.

Which iPhones have a ceramic screen?

Apple introduced the Ceramic Shield in 2020, which means you’ll need to have a fairly new model for it to feature on your device. If you want to upgrade to a phone with Ceramic Shield, here are all the models that currently use it:

It is also worth noting that, despite the recent release date, the iPhone SE 2022 doesn’t have a Ceramic Shield, although that’s probably because the SE series has a lower price and fewer features than the main iPhone series.

Reliable Take – Does it work?

While I can’t say I’ve done any scientific drop tests, I’ve been using iPhones on a pretty constant basis since the Ceramic Shield came out, and the displays have been commendably free of major scratches and the like.

It doesn’t stop the tiny scratches that litter any display in your pocket, but even after a few hard drops, the display didn’t crack. Considering how many broken screens I’ve seen on older iPhone models, the app definitely helps.

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