How to Repair Scratches on an iPhone

By S.C. Palmer

Updated September 15, 2017

Items you will need

  • Tape

  • 300-1500 grit sandpaper

  • 3M rubbing compound

  • Power drill

  • Cloth

  • Baking soda toothpaste

The iPhone is a small and sturdy device. There have been numerous tests done to see what kind of damage this phone can endure, and it has shown that it can withstand a lot. This doesn't mean that after daily use your phone won't develop scratches. While these scratches are normally harmless, aesthetically they aren't pretty. If you'd rather not use a case to cover them up, you can use household products to buff the scratches out yourself.

Scratches on the Back

Cover the camera, headphone jack and all buttons with tape. This will protect them from the scratch-removal process.

Sand the back of the phone gently. For deep scratches, try a 300-grit sandpaper. Use 1500-grit paper for lighter scratches. Buff the scratch until you remove the shine from the casing. Sand in one direction from the top to the bottom of the phone.

Wet the lowest grain sandpaper you have with a bit of water and gently sand over the area you've already sanded. This should smooth out the surface.

Wet-sand the back again going in the opposite direction with the next highest grit sandpaper you have. For example, if you wet-sanded first with a 320-grit paper going from left to right, use 500-grit paper next, moving from top to bottom. Repeat this until you've used all the sandpaper.

Check the scratch. If you can still see it, repeat the process.

Polish the phone by applying 3M Rubbing Compound with a power drill. Polish the phone until the original shine returns.

Scratches on the Screen

Put a dab of baking soda toothpaste on a soft cloth. Baking soda toothpaste is fairly gritty, so it should buff the scratch out.

Rub the screen with the toothpaste in light circular motions, concentrating on the scratches.

Let the toothpaste dry for a minute, then lightly buff the scratched places with the cloth again.

Wipe the toothpaste off with a damp cloth. If the scratch is still visible, try this method again.


While these methods work for surface scratches, they might not work for deep scratches. You can cover old scratches and prevent new ones by purchasing an iPhone case and screen protector.


Be careful when using water on your iPhone. Water can leak into the phone and cause the spill sensor to activate. This will void your warranty.