All models from the iPhone 12 series are equipped with Ceramic Shield. This is only on the front and not on the back, not even on the models with glass back. Ceramic Shield was developed in close collaboration with manufacturer Corning. There is plenty to know about Ceramic Shield and in this explanation we list all the facts.
Why Ceramic Shield
The screen has been made of glass since the first iPhone of 2007, but that is vulnerable if you let it fall from your hands. Thanks to Ceramic Shield, the risk of glass breakage should be reduced when falling. The material was developed in collaboration with Corning, the maker of Gorilla Glass. This is the type of glass that is used in many smartphones, smartwatches and the like.
Ceramic Shield is a type of glass reinforced with ceramic. This has better properties than glass and ceramic separately. Ceramic nanocrystals are added to the glass grid during production. They are stronger than most metals. The problem, however, is that ceramic crystals are often not transparent. With the right degree of crystallization, Apple and Corning have managed to find a unique material. This has the transparency of glass, but the strength of ceramic.
The English Wikipedia page mentions CorningWare and hobs that had been made from glass ceramics since the 1970s. Especially for the iPhone, the engineers have found a special formula for use in smartphones. It had to be light and thin, but also durable.
Ceramic Shield protects against fall damage
This glass type protects your iPhone better against glass breakage. The chance of damage is four times smaller with a device with Ceramic Shield, Apple claims. But there is another factor at play, namely the new design. With the iPhone 12, the screen is completely flat with the housing. This provides extra protection in the event of a fall. Previously, the screen was curved and this was often the weakest spot when falling. If the iPhone fell on a corner, a fracture would often occur in that very spot.
The idea of strengthening glass with ceramic is not entirely new: the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and the Xiaomi Mi Mix already had it, but only at the back. There was just Gorilla Glass on the front. Apple chooses to reinforce the front of the iPhone 12 with glass ceramic, because a broken screen is more annoying than a broken housing on the back (which you could shield with a cover).
Ceramic Shield and scratches
So Ceramic Shield is resistant to drops, but can it also protect against scratches? According to Apple , the same double ion exchange process has been used that is also used on the back. This also provides protection against scratches and other minor damages. But as many people will know from experience: scratches can still occur. That is why it is advisable to still provide your device with a screen protector if you want to keep it in tip-top condition.
Tests from YouTubers
Some YouTubers have already been experimenting to break the Ceramic Shield. For example, various drop tests have been carried out. YouTube channel EveryThingApplePro dropped the iPhone 12 from different heights, and the screens were found to survive a 3-meter drop with minimal damage. However, the back of the devices is quickly shattered. Ceramic Shield is applied on the front only. The edge of the normal iPhone 12 can also dent slightly in the event of a fall.
The YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh tested the sturdiness of the iPhone 12 by pressing it with considerable force. At a pressure of 443 Newtons, the screen of the iPhone 12 collapses , while with the iPhone 11 this already happens at a pressure of 352 Newton. In both cases there is considerable pressure, which you can only achieve by standing on the screen with a pointed object (such as a stiletto heel). If you sit on the screen, the power is more distributed. They also tested the screen for scratches. No difference was found between the iPhone 11 and 12 series.