Oleophobic coating gone after four months?

stanft

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 18, 2015
48
7
Hamburg, Germany
Hi everyone,

I own an Apple Watch Series 2 SBSS since the beginning of January. From the start, I cleaned the screen using the Apple microfiber cloth from my MBP or simply using my shirt - always without problems.

Now, I have noticed that cleaning the screen using the shirt does not work anymore in the outer corners. The center of the screen becomes clean but the clean area in the middle is surrounded by an "oily frame" at the borders. It is simply not possible to remove this using the shirt. Luckily, it is no problem to clean this using the microfiber cloth. But after the first contact with i.e. my shirt the oily frame is visible again.

Does this mean that the oleophobic coating is gone in the corners of my display? And is it normal that the coating only lasts a few months? I have never used alcohol or any other aggressive liquid for cleaning ... not even water.

Thanks for your answers in advance.

Regards,
Stephan
 

SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
4,268
4,219
Highlands Ranch, CO
It shouldn't wear off with proper cleaning. I have an 18-month-old Series 0 Sport, that doesn't show any similar wear. I would hope that the coating on the SS crystal is every bit as durable. Do you have Apple Care on the watch? I think I would have them take a look at what is going on with yours.
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
30,420
30,673
Hi everyone,

I own an Apple Watch Series 2 SBSS since the beginning of January. From the start, I cleaned the screen using the Apple microfiber cloth from my MBP or simply using my shirt - always without problems.

Now, I have noticed that cleaning the screen using the shirt does not work anymore in the outer corners. The center of the screen becomes clean but the clean area in the middle is surrounded by an "oily frame" at the borders. It is simply not possible to remove this using the shirt. Luckily, it is no problem to clean this using the microfiber cloth. But after the first contact with i.e. my shirt the oily frame is visible again.

Does this mean that the oleophobic coating is gone in the corners of my display? And is it normal that the coating only lasts a few months? I have never used alcohol or any other aggressive liquid for cleaning ... not even water.

Thanks for your answers in advance.

Regards,
Stephan
It's very possible the oleophobic coating has worn off. There really is no timeline for how long it could take to wear off based off usage and overall wear. But being your Watch is newer, it's difficult to say. Apple Might have a better judgement if they can see it in person.

The oleophobic coating can be reapplied if necessary or if one wants too.
 
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stanft

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 18, 2015
48
7
Hamburg, Germany
Hi everyone,

I just hat another idea: Could it be that fabric softener is producing this "oily grease" on the display? If I wipe the display with a shirt that has been washed without fabric softener, the screen is cleaned much better.

By the way: Despite the worse cleaning result, does fabric softener may harm the coating?

Regards,
Stephan
 

Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,142
3,829
Atlanta
Also keep in mind
....By the way: Despite the worse cleaning result, does fabric softener may harm the coating?

Regards,
Stephan
Most fabric softeners contain silicon (most sand is primarily silica dioxide). Also almost all polishing cloths and microbe towels contain a warning NOT to use fabric softeners.

Example: "Instructions: Care: 70f, no bleach, no fabric softener, low heat. Machine wash often-- shaking does not remove all dust & dirt"
 

stanft

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 18, 2015
48
7
Hamburg, Germany
Also keep in mind

Most fabric softeners contain silicon (most sand is primarily silica dioxide). Also almost all polishing cloths and microbe towels contain a warning NOT to use fabric softeners.

Example: "Instructions: Care: 70f, no bleach, no fabric softener, low heat. Machine wash often-- shaking does not remove all dust & dirt"
Well, I never washed the microfiber cloth using fabric softener. But usually we wash our shirts etc. using fabric softener because the water in our area is really hard.

I am not sure whether your answer means that cleaning the screen with a shirt that has been washed using fabric softener does harm the oleophobic coating or not?

Regards,
Stephan
 

Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,142
3,829
Atlanta
  • The oleophobic coating is an organic compound so it will deteriorate over time
  • The oleophobic coating is relatively soft and every touch removes some
  • A worn shirt will contain foreign particulate matter (of course we all use as a wipe but shouldn't) and softeners will attract/trap even more of this
  • Softeners contain silica (aka: sand) and this can't be good for the coating

So the answer is:
Absolutely: It will cause more wear and tear on the coating.
Relatively: Not positive but anecdotal evidence seems to indicate it might be a significant contributing factor.
 

Newtons Apple

Suspended
Mar 12, 2014
22,764
14,920
Jacksonville, Florida
I am pretty sure my coating on my SBSS Series 2 has been gone for a long time. I have wiped it on both shirt, jeans and what ever and it seem the same to me. Never been impressed with the coating to prevent finger prints, never saw that it made a huge difference. I tend to keep my hand washed but am not obsessed with it. If you are eating fried chicken with you hands the coating will do little to help.
 
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Kyle76

macrumors regular
Jan 22, 2017
136
102
North Carolina
Never been impressed with the coating to prevent finger prints, never saw that it made a huge difference. I tend to keep my hand washed but am not obsessed with it. If you are eating fried chicken with you hands the coating will do little to help.
I don't think the coating prevents fingerprints at all. It just makes them easier to remove.
 

Newtons Apple

Suspended
Mar 12, 2014
22,764
14,920
Jacksonville, Florida
I can't help you there, having not yet experienced a watch without the coating. If/when mine wears off, I hope it won't be much more difficult to wipe fingerprints from an uncoated screen.
Not to worry as it is not that big of a deal. You likely will not even notice.

Yours WILL wear off if it has not already as it is soft and just touching it removes some. I think the whole thing is blown out of proportion and is not that big of an issue.
 

SDColorado

Contributor
Nov 6, 2011
4,268
4,219
Highlands Ranch, CO
I suppose it has to have some benefit. I can't stand those glass screen protectors on the phone or watch, because they seem to be far worse at collecting fingerprints and much harder to remove them, then just the bare screen alone. I had one put on my phone when I first got it, and I could only stand it for about a week.
 
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Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,142
3,829
Atlanta
I can't help you there, having not yet experienced a watch without the coating. If/when mine wears off, I hope it won't be much more difficult to wipe fingerprints from an uncoated screen.
Have you ever keep an iPhone or iPad more than a year? If so your coating was probably mostly gone.
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OK, but never noticed that prints were more easy to remove either.
To me it makes them 'bead up' and look oily/slimy/glossy. Without the coating they just smudge more. So pick your poison: slimy glossy beads or smudges. I prefer the smudging a little more but it is mostly a tossup.
 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
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30,673