Almost as soon as the iPhone 5 was released on Friday, stories emerged of customers having scratched backs on their brand new devices. Some – like Taylor from Phonedog – received a scratched unit right out the box. There is one simple reason for all the easy scratch nature of the 6th generation iPhone: it’s anodized aluminum, not glass. As a material, aluminum is fantastic in that it’s lightweight and easy to make any color you want. You simply paint it (like the slate colored paint on the iPhone 5).
Here’s where the issue lies also: the paint is very thin and not particularly well protected. It will scratch off very easily revealing the naked aluminum underneath. So, however durable, sturdy and rust resistant it is, you’ll need to keep your iPhone in a case/pouch if you want to ensure it’s not damaged by keys/rings on your person or in your purse/handbag. On a plus note, if you want to give your iPhone a custom “plain aluminum look” you shouldn’t find it to hard to get rid of all the paint, leaving your iPhone looking much more like the original metal’s color.
Check iFixit’s video below, as the iPhone 5 is pitted against the iPhone 4 in a scratch test.