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Old Apr 8, 2011, 10:41 PM   #1
kfscoll
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Thumbs up Success (iPad 2 screen scratch removal)!

Let me preface this by saying that I know this is waaaay over the top. Still, it might help folks who are as obsessive-compulsive as me.

Anyway, this evening I found a few minor scratches and "nicks" on the screen of my iPad. These blemishes were only visible under direct fluorescent lighting, but they bugged me, so I set out to remove them.

As has been discussed in this forum and elsewhere, most iPad/iPhone screen scratches are actually in the oleophobic coating layer, not the glass itself. So, I figured, what if I just remove the oleophobic layer? Then all I'll have left is nice, smooth, hard, scratch-resistant glass.

Knowing enough about car detailing to be dangerous, I busted out my Porter-Cable random-orbit polisher, 3M swirl mark remover, cheapo Windex, two foam pads (one polishing, one finishing), synthetic paint sealant, two microfiber towels, and a microfiber sponge.

First, I cleaned my screen with the Windex and a microfiber towel. Simple enough.

Next, I attached the foam polishing pad to my P-C polisher, set it on speed setting 4, plopped a nickel-sized drop of 3M compound on the pad, and polished the screen. It took about 5 minutes of polishing with very light pressure to completely remove the oleophobic coating. The only way to tell that the coating is gone is to exhale on the screen such that it fogs...this makes it pretty clear where the coating is and isn't. It's also possible to tell by feel where the coating is, but that's not as reliable as actually seeing it. However, without breathing on the glass, you absolutely can't visually tell where the coating ends -- the bare glass is exactly as shiny as the coated glass.

Third, I polished the glass again with the 3M stuff, but this time I used the finishing pad. This probably wasn't necessary but it's a force of habit from working with auto paint.

Honestly, at this point, the hard work was done. I cleaned the screen again with Windex, then I used the microfiber sponge to apply my synthetic sealant (basically it's a chemical "wax") and let it dry for about 5 minutes. I then buffed off the sealant with a clean microfiber towel and, voila, done!

I gotta tell you, I was SHOCKED as to how nicely this turned out. There are absolutely no scratches in the glass (even under very close inspection using fluorescent and LED spotlights) and the sealant makes the coating-free glass significantly slicker and less prone to fingerprints that the coating did. Clean up is even easier than it was before I removed the coating -- just wipe the screen with a dry microfiber towel. The screen is so slick that dust and lint just don't stick. I'm extremely happy with the results.

Bottom line -- it is possible to remove fine scratches from your iPad's screen. It takes a little bit of work, but it's easy and the results are fantastic.



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Old Apr 8, 2011, 10:43 PM   #2
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Wow. You are a ballsy dude.

How did you get the scratches in the first place?
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Old Apr 8, 2011, 10:48 PM   #3
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Nice work, looks very clear and crisp.
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Old Apr 8, 2011, 10:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ani23 View Post
Wow. You are a ballsy dude.

How did you get the scratches in the first place?
I have absolutely no idea how I got the scratches. The iPad is always in a fully-enclosed case. If the damned PS screen protectors had been available when I bought the iPad I'd have had one installed, but it wasn't to be. What's funny is that now I'm not really worried about scratches since I know I can fix 'em and I just got an email this evening saying that my PS screen protectors have shipped.
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Old Apr 8, 2011, 10:59 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kfscoll View Post
I have absolutely no idea how I got the scratches. The iPad is always in a fully-enclosed case. If the damned PS screen protectors had been available when I bought the iPad I'd have had one installed, but it wasn't to be. What's funny is that now I'm not really worried about scratches since I know I can fix 'em and I just got an email this evening saying that my PS screen protectors have shipped.
Thats strange. The reason I didn't like front screens is because I used zagg and it kills the whole experience. Too much friction. But I have seen screens used by friends which don't affect the experience at all. Very smooth.

The whole iPad world is really messed up. The smart cover doesn't cover the back and no cushioning. I think a lot of people are spending money on multiple accessories to keep their iPad safe. The is no perfect solution. Yet
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Old Apr 8, 2011, 11:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kfscoll View Post
I have absolutely no idea how I got the scratches. The iPad is always in a fully-enclosed case. If the damned PS screen protectors had been available when I bought the iPad I'd have had one installed, but it wasn't to be. What's funny is that now I'm not really worried about scratches since I know I can fix 'em and I just got an email this evening saying that my PS screen protectors have shipped.
You are out of your mind taking a power tool to an iPad.
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Old Apr 8, 2011, 11:11 PM   #7
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isn't there some sort of protection over the glass?

you buffing that off... is not a great idea.
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Old Apr 8, 2011, 11:12 PM   #8
ani23
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FYI this case works best for me. It's cheap looks cheap and smells cheap. But has good cushioning and a handle which makes the iPad more secure when I hold it in my hand primarily because of the handle. Think it reduces the chances of it being snatched straight outta my

Caselogic
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Old Apr 8, 2011, 11:44 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by kvizzel View Post
isn't there some sort of protection over the glass?

you buffing that off... is not a great idea.
No protection, just the oleophobic coating. Since it's what usually get scratched up, I don't think keeping its integrity is critical for the iPad's survival. No matter, I'm gonna put a screen protector on my iPad anyway.

IIRC the oleophobic coating didn't get introduced until the iPhone 3GS, so I imagine the screen will be okay without it. I guess we'll see!
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Old Apr 8, 2011, 11:48 PM   #10
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You are out of your mind taking a power tool to an iPad.
Although that buffer looks like a pretty aggressive tool, in reality the pads And polishes I used are very, very mild. You could do the same thing by hand as I did with the buffer and it probably wouldn't take much longer, but the buffer makes it easy to get the finish perfectly smooth and even.
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Old Apr 9, 2011, 06:46 AM   #11
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Love it. I don't think I have the beans to do it to a screen but I'v done something similar on the bezels of tvs.
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Old Apr 9, 2011, 07:51 AM   #12
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Congrats! You just completely voided your warranty.
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Old Apr 9, 2011, 07:58 AM   #13
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Congrats! You just completely voided your warranty.
Like an Apple genius would be able to tell.
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Old Apr 9, 2011, 08:33 AM   #14
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Like an Apple genius would be able to tell.
Just like know when you've jailbroken your idevice
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Old Apr 9, 2011, 12:22 PM   #15
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Wouldn't this remove the oleophobic coating?
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Old Apr 9, 2011, 12:29 PM   #16
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You are out of your mind taking a power tool to an iPad.
I don't think you realize that he has experience, and from the photos you can see the result was excellent. Perhaps your jealous?
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Old Apr 9, 2011, 12:34 PM   #17
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Wouldn't this remove the oleophobic coating?
Absolutely.
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Old Apr 9, 2011, 03:13 PM   #18
kfscoll
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Originally Posted by itsmemuffins View Post
Wouldn't this remove the oleophobic coating?
That was the idea. The scratches were in the oleophobic coating, so if you get rid of the coating, you get rid of the scratches.

I know I'm going to put a screen protector (oh, the irony) on the screen once my PS ones arrive, so I figured I'd give this a shot. As it turns out it worked out really, really well. In fact, I bet it'll actually help in getting the screen protector on without dust/lint because dust & lint don't stick to the newly-slick screen any longer.

As for the warranty, it's absolutely impossible to tell that the screen has been altered in any way. That's a good point though since my screen has the standard light bleed issue that I was planning to get repaired/swapped in a few months.
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Old Apr 9, 2011, 08:56 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by kfscoll View Post
That was the idea. The scratches were in the oleophobic coating, so if you get rid of the coating, you get rid of the scratches.

I know I'm going to put a screen protector (oh, the irony) on the screen once my PS ones arrive, so I figured I'd give this a shot. As it turns out it worked out really, really well. In fact, I bet it'll actually help in getting the screen protector on without dust/lint because dust & lint don't stick to the newly-slick screen any longer.

As for the warranty, it's absolutely impossible to tell that the screen has been altered in any way. That's a good point though since my screen has the standard light bleed issue that I was planning to get repaired/swapped in a few months.
Great Job!!

Can't believe the sarcasm and haterz! this guy has some balls and creative problem solving skills. You could learn a lesson from this...


I have same orbital btw... Lol
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Old Apr 9, 2011, 10:08 PM   #20
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Great Job!!

Can't believe the sarcasm and haterz! this guy has some balls and creative problem solving skills. You could learn a lesson from this...


I have same orbital btw... Lol
Thanks! Ya know, it's worked out so well that I might not even bother putting a screen protector on it now. Before I removed the oleophobic coating, I found that whenever I'd wipe down the screen with a microfiber towel, little, tiny strands of lint would stick to the screen. It was always a hassle to completely remove these. Now that I've put the sealant on the screen, I don't have microfiber lint problems at all any longer.
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Old Apr 9, 2011, 10:16 PM   #21
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You must have some guts ... I would be worried now the screen might be able to scratch easier and also once the coating is gone there won't be anything to buff off.
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Old Apr 9, 2011, 10:23 PM   #22
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i gotta say - really impressed with what the OP has done -

wonder if the OP would do this for my iphone 4......
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Old Apr 9, 2011, 10:50 PM   #23
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You must have some guts ... I would be worried now the screen might be able to scratch easier and also once the coating is gone there won't be anything to buff off.
Well, think about that. If the screen is easier to scratch without the oleophobic coating, then that means the coating is tougher than the glass. Therefore, if the coating is tougher than the glass, then whatever scratched my coating would've also scratched my glass. But that wasn't the case, because when I removed the coating, the scratch was gone. So I seriously doubt the screen is now easier to scratch.

And what do you mean there's nothing left to buff out? You can easily buff scratches out of bare glass, it just takes different polishing pads and perhaps more aggressive polish. No sweat.

I actually have an automotive glass-specific polishing kit, and the polish/pads included in that kit are way more aggressive than what I used to remove the oleophobic coating. Since the iPad almost certainly uses Corning Gorilla Glass (or something similar) which is tougher than run-of-the-mill auto glass, I think it's safe to say that the coating is the weakest link in the scratch-resistance of the iPad's screen.
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Old Apr 9, 2011, 10:51 PM   #24
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i gotta say - really impressed with what the OP has done -

wonder if the OP would do this for my iphone 4......
Easily!
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Old Apr 10, 2011, 12:52 AM   #25
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Brings new meaning to the term "It'll buff right out!"

Nicely done, and gutsy!
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