My iPhone 4 is about 15 months old now and the screen has completely lost the oleophobic property is had when it was new: finger smears now show up just like they do on other phones. Contrary to the comments on this question I've never cleaned it with any sort of solution: all it's ever had is the occasional wipe with a cotton cloth (well, T-shirt :), although of course it will also have been rubbed in the pocket of my jeans. It's never had a screen protector but is completely unscratched and undamaged.

So it seems the coating does wear off over time without using any kind of chemical agent. My question is, is it possible (either at Apple, a third-party service centre or at home) to re-apply it and get the screen back to its fresh-from-the-box state?

5 Answers 5


No. The organic material is applied during assembly. I'm not aware of any place that can "replenish" the lipophobic substance.

Apple has this to say:

"Please note that the ability of this coating to repel oil will diminish over time with normal usage, and that rubbing the screen with an abrasive material will further diminish its effect and may scratch your screen."

Source: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3226

You can, however look into replacement covers that also contain lipophobic properties: http://www.mobimega.com/sgp-steinheil-ultra-oleophobic-screen-protector-for-iphone-4.html

Or pay for a new glass screen. Warranty will generally not cover this, but you can always ask for a quote from Apple service in or out of coverage.


There is a product called Fusso oleophobic coating (available here), that promises to restore the oleophobic properties of your iPhone display (there is also a tablet version)

I personally haven't tried it, but the website ifixit.com, specialists on repairing Apple products, say that the product works really well.


use car wax polish and gently polish the screen, it gives the same effect, and it is cheap. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?s=059e3575c381d397e68881210a09255f&t=2232790&page=2


No, no, and absolutely no, it can't be replaced. If you are lucky, best you can do for oleophopic coating is to try not to scratch it by being very careful to start out with .

I have a HX850 Sony Bravia hdtv thats 4 years old. I keep the set in a theatre room mancave that nobody goes into without me being in there. I have terrible ocd, and notice every blemish on ANY of my av equipment. I have went to huge extent to protect things. I went to sleep one evening and awoke the next day to find, to my horror, a huge scratch in my oleophopic coating running from the top to bottom on my screen. The set has gorilla glass, and the glass itself has not been compromised, but the repellent coating was.

I was dumbfounded when I discovered this, as there was literally nobody in the room to cause the issue.

Was it a mouse falling off the top of my set, scraping teeth and claws to try and stop the decent? Was it a vengeful ghost or spirit messing with me? Strange things have been known to happen in the room from time to time. God only knows what in the Hell transpired.

Im telling you, I was, and still am LIVID.

I got desperate after three days of staring at the scratch. It was, and still is, really only noticeable in certain lighting conditions, but I notice, I know it's there, and it is enough to run me out of my anal mind.

I bought a oleophopic kit from Japan, it came in the post in about a week. I applied it, and followed the instructions given, and it failed to work. I got desperate and used toothpaste, and it did not work. I tried Vaseline, it didnt work. I'm pretty sure at this stage, the sets just screwed.

The only other thing that might work, but very highly unlikely, is Novus polish kit and scratch remover. With this stuff you run the risk of removing even more coating though. It's made more for plastic based materials, but can be used on coated glass in some instances.

I don't want to keep casting money to the wind to try and repair what seems impossible, at least without factory based machines. I say the layer is some baked on deal, and beyond standard consumer repair.

Dont be fooled, if your touch screen devices have gorilla glass, it doesnt mean they are scratch-proof, the glass might not scratch easy, but that damnable coating will, it defeats the purpose, and from my experience, it's un-replaceable. Warrenty won't cover it either on most devices. The best I got from Sony was a deal to send them the tv for trade in value of 25% off a new tv. Really sucks.

With a phone or tablet, ABSOLUTELY use a screen protector, no matter what Tom, Dick, or Harry tells you at your local electronics store. They are there to make a quick sale, they don't care about your scratched screen. Especially when it means you'll more than likely replace the entire device if need be whilst adding even more cash in their pockets.

Gracefully, I'm sure the corporate fat cats that came up with the idea of worthless oleophopic coating to start with are laughing all the way to the bank.

Nothing stays new forever, even if you baby it, but this is unacceptable.


From what I've gathered through research on this topic, it is either hard to restore the oleophobic coating or there is a lack of good empirical evidence as to whether current solutions work. For example, there are some coatings available that you can apply to the screen, but I have not seen any popular videos or mega comment threads that confirm that these products work.

I have thought about using such coatings myself, but thankfully I haven't been in the situation where the fingerprints have been enough of an issue for me to buy an oleophobic coating kit. If I end up buying one, I'll post another answer giving my thoughts on the product.

I have a different answer though. The simplest way to prevent the oleophobic coating from wearing off (or indeed, if it has already worn off to prevent fingerprints from showing up) is by using a sacrificial screen, aka a screen protector. You can find many screen protectors that have oleophobic coatings. Fingerprints wipe off them really easily. When the screen protector's coating starts wearing off, you can simply replace it. This is a cheap and cost-effective way of having a fingerprint-free phone screens. I've found the 2 for $9 screen protectors to work remarkably well.

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