Why Your Phone Case Doesn’t Prevent Scratches

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Why Does Your Phone Still Get Scratched Even If You Use a Case?

Here at The Big Phone Store, we see a lot of pre-owned phones: from perfectly scratch-free, to so scratched up you can barely still see the screen. In other words, we know a thing or two about how to keep your device in pristine condition. And when just a single little scratch can affect the trade-in value of your old phone, most people will be keen to slip on a protective case as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there. Many people think that by simply attaching a case to their phone, they’re fully in the clear – but phone cases are hardly invincible shields, and cheap cases especially might sometimes do more harm than good.

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In this post, we’ll delve into the topic of how phone cases themselves sometimes lead to a scratched-up phone, and what you can do to protect your precious device for good.

Trapped dirt on phone screen

How Phone Cases Work

Before we address the mystery of the phantom scratches, let’s understand the primary function of cases. Most phone cases are essentially designed to absorb shock and prevent breakage, guarding your phone against accidental drops and collisions. They might cushion your phone from a fall, but they’re not typically built to protect against the microscopic invaders that cause scratches.

Common Ways Phones Get Scratched, Even with a Case

  1. Trapped Dirt: Most phones today come with an “IP” dust protection rating – but whilst this is a good measure of how much dust will find its way to the inner workings of your phone, it doesn’t say anything about how much damage dust particles can do your phone’s exterior. When we think of dust, we tend to think of something soft and light – when actually, tiny particles of plastic, sand and stone are all around us. Over time, these might find their way into your pocket or bag – and worst of all, they could get trapped between your phone and its case. As you move, these tiny culprits can glide around, acting like mini sandpapers on your phone’s surface – meaning that the very thing you trusted to protect you from scratches is now causing your phone to get even more scratched up.
  2. Exposed Areas: Most standard cases leave the front of the phone completely exposed. Whilst many phones today come with screen protectors as standard, there are usually areas around the edge of the screen that remain unprotected, and vulnerable to potential scratches.
  3. Poor Quality Cases: Not all cases are made alike. Some cheaper or poorly-made cases can have rough or even sharp edges on the inside. These edges can graze against the phone’s body, leading to those unwanted marks. Investing in a quality case can make all the difference.
  4. Taking the Phone In and Out of the Case: You’d be surprised how much risk is associated with frequently removing your phone from its case. Each time you do, you might introduce new particles or create friction that leads to scratches. That’s why it’s best to either find a snug, form-fitting case that never has to be removed, or a more expensive case made of quality materials that’s less likely to lead to scratches when you take it on or off.
  5. Exposed Ports: No matter what kind of case you have on your phone, there’s one area that will be vulnerable to scratches every single day. Every time you plug your phone in to charge, your charging cable will knock and scrape against your phone – and can any of us say that we’ve plugged our phone in as carefully as possible every single day? Of course, using wireless charging is one way to prevent this daily power-up from scratching up our phones, but that’s not an option available to everybody.
  6. False Sense of Security: Something that can make all of the above worse is a simple trick of psychology: if something is ‘protected’ with a case, then we might be less careful in how we treat it – not even thinking about the little ways that we could be causing scratches day by day. Phone cases do work wonders in terms of making our phones more resiliant to knocks, bumps and falls – but that extra padding doesn’t do much to protect the camera, bezels, or ports of the phone from scraches and scrapes. So if we’re not too worried about potential damage, we might not notice as these scratches start to build up over time.

How To Save your Phone from Scratches:

  1. Regularly Clean Your Phone and Case: Every now and then, take your phone out of its case and give both a gentle wipe down with a soft lint-free or microfibre cloth. This can prevent particle build-up and reduce the risk of scratches. Don’t use tissue or paper towels that might further scratch your device, and of course keep any water well away from your phone – dry wiping only! Some experts suggest taking your phone out of its case (carefully!) every two weeks or so to prevent dirt from collecting inside the covering.
  2. Use Pouches or Bags: For those moments when you know your phone might be exposed to rougher environments, consider using an additional pouch or bag. It might seem like overkill, but that extra layer can be the difference between a pristine screen and a scratched one. Just be sure that the pouch itself is clean, and made of a soft material that won’t cause extra damage to your device.
  3. Invest in a Full-coverage Case: Ultimately, when it comes to perfectly protecting your phone from all possible scratches, you’re going to need something more heavy-duty than the cheap case that first came with your device. A Full-coverage case includes a built-in screen protector that extends across the entire width of the screen, leaving no gap between the screen protector and the surrounding case. Of course, these cases come with a few drawbacks of their own – they’re often bulky, and heavy; they can take a long time to attach and detach from your device; and a good one will come with a large price tag. However, if having a perfectly scratch-free phone is what matters most to you, then they’re definitely worth the investment, and might even pay for themselves when it comes time to trade in your perfectly scratch-free phone.

Heavy duty iphone case constructed of 10 individual pieces


While phone cases are essential in the battle against drops and bumps they aren’t impenetrable fortresses. By understanding the limitations of phone cases and taking additional protective measures, you can ensure your device remains in tip-top shape for longer.

Want to find the perfect case for your phone? Whether you’re looking for a silicone case that will be soft and gentle on your device, or a toughened extreme-protection case to keep your phone safe and sound, The Big Phone Store has got you covered. Shop our full range of mobile phone cases here.

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