Last week, YouTuber Marques Brownlee got his hands on what is claimed to be a sapphire glass panel from Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6. The initial video (found here) put the panel through a variety of torture tests including, knives, keys, and even a flexibility test to show off the panel’s durability. While there were no scientific tests performed to prove the front glass is actually sapphire, the result of each test was very impressive. Well, apparently that wasn’t enough…

With the combined power of sandpaper, a bow and arrow, and Joe Rogan, YouTubers Unbox Therapy, Marques Brownlee, Austin Evans, and Jonathan Morrison (TLD) have stepped it up in a handful of collaborative sapphire display torture tests. Unfortunately, the glass panel doesn’t live through the all of the tests, but when you shoot objects with arrows, things tend to get a little messy. The testing spans across a set of videos (embedded below) and there’s even a cool “behind the scenes” to go along with it.

In the first video, Brownlee explains exactly why knives and keys have trouble scratching this purported sapphire panel. The materials being used aren’t stronger than the sapphire material found on the front panel. In order to actually scratch it, Brownlee had to use sandpaper. The sandpaper definitely scratched this “sapphire” panel, but not nearly as much as it did to the glass found on an iPhone 5s.

Interestingly enough, Apple’s Touch ID button held up better than the alleged sapphire iPhone 6 front panel. We know for a fact that Apple uses sapphire crystal to manufacture its Touch ID home button, but does this durability test debunk the iPhone 6 panel’s sapphire construction? Well, not exactly. The only definitive way to tell if this glass panel is actually made of sapphire is to run some scientific tests on it. Our guess is that it’s probably some type of sapphire laminate being used on the iPhone 6 panel, but only time will tell at this point.

The second video introduces a new torture element. What do we have here? Well, thanks to Joe Rogan and his archery skills, the iPhone 6 panel is put through the ultimate durability test (high speed cameras included). I never expected this front panel to survive a bow and arrow test, but it sure is fun to watch. Check out the entire video below to see all of the glass-shattering action.

As mentioned there’s a pretty cool behind the scenes video that gives you more of a backstory on the testing performed in the videos above. You can check it out here on Jonathan’s YouTube channel. In addition to those videos, Austin Evans has published an expectation video that’s in line with the embedded videos above. Even though nothing groundbreaking or scientific happened here, it’s still pretty interesting to see how well the front panel held up through each test. If Apple does actually use sapphire or a laminate, this could change the game for iPhone screen durability.

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39 Responses to “Alleged 4.7-inch iPhone 6 sapphire display meets sandpaper and Joe Rogan’s mean archery skills”

  1. Great video, intelligently presented by someone who knows how to do videos. I’m so glad that someone FINALLY did a scratch test that makes some kind of sense.

    Three problems though:

    1) Marques talks as if he *knows* whether it’s pure sapphire or not based on his test, when if fact it’s a guess. Sandpapers are usually made with multiple different abrasive elements and he doesn’t know for a fact what the grit on a particular paper is or is composed of.

    2) He says it’s a laminate of sapphire and glass, instead of more correctly saying that it *might* be, and even if he’s right about that, the patent has sapphire on the *outside* of the laminate sandwich, so the claim makes no sense.

    3) That is NOT a “crossbow.”


    • Bob Smogango says:

      If there are problems like he doesn’t really know about the sandpaper he’s using, or whether it’s a laminate of sapphire and glass, etc. then it’s not an intelligently presented video. I’ve seen this guy’s videos on other products and I classify him as a flat out half witted person that knows how to talk fast on a YouTube video, but I wouldn’t take what he says with any amount of seriousness. He’s a mere child when it comes to product testing. If it passes the tests, great. But people don’t normally have sandpaper in the same pocket as their smartphone or purposely try to hit it with a bow and arrow. There are other sources that test in more real world tests where they do things that are far more likely going to happen to a product and it’s done with a little more scientific approach.


      • Um the idea is to find out whether it is sapphire or not, by way of testing it’s scratch resistance against extremely hard materials. If it were sapphire then it wouldn’t have been scratched, it’s as simple as that (hence why the Touch ID button wasn’t scratched). There’s no reason to test real world scratching if it is sapphire, as there will never be real world scratching, if it is. They could have tried testing how it holds up to drops with weight attached, but nothing will really tell you about that until it is fully assembled and dropped at different angles and heights.


      • I think your criticism is way over the top relative to what the video contains, and far too personal. It seems you have a grudge or bias or something to me.

        This video is far better than most and he is the first guy I’ve seen out of all the “iPhone torture test videos” who actually bothered to look up what the Moh scale is and use that information in the video. Most torture test videos consist of some douchebag trying to scratch it with his keys, which are typically made out of brass and one of the softest substances you could try.

        His test is more scientific, and more thorough so I gave him credit for that. Maybe it all went over your head?


      • hkk3000 says:

        Seriously? Regardless of your thoughts on the guy, he made a valuable comparison video here. Knife? Keys? Coins? These are things people normally carry around in their pockets and all the dust and lint that clings onto the inner lining of pockets can sometimes create an abrasive surface making the sand paper a nice touch here. My god, where do you get off?


      • spiralynth says:

        @Bob Smokeganga

        As Mr. Grey clearly explained, while this was a great video, it has its flaws. So what? That doesn’t somehow disqualify it from being “intelligently presented”. I guarantee you that your entire existence is flawed beyond measure, which would mean you’re dumb as f*ck.

        Marques is a 20 year college student who does reviews in his spare time, as he has been since he was 15. What were you doing at 20? Flippin’ flapjacks? Partying like a half-wit? Don’t tell us; provide us a link … or some kind of intelligently presented proof. How you resort to insulting this kid for absolutely no reason is very telling about your bias. I know people like you. They’re the most miserable souls with deeply damaged psyches. Kinda pity you … mostly don’t.


      • I agree, using sandpaper or bow&arrow is an utter and complete waste of time! Its totally irrelevant, unscientific and difficult to watch the whole thing without thinking “these jackasses with tattoos trying to be cool”.
        If you want for example a real sandpaper test, then use a machine that wipes it at a certain velocity, with a certain pressure and test with different sandpaper corning. So that at the end, you can make a graph to show which sandpaper at what pressure does the most damage. Then you take that analysis and compare it to iPhones gorilla glass and measure the results.
        THEN we’d get a better idea of how robust it is compared to Gorilla glass.

        Total waste of time these videos. Can’t believe people even pay attention to it!


    • appleo says:

      About your first point: if it was pure shaffire, only diamonds would have been able to scratch it. And i bet there are no diamond pieces in the sandpaper :P


    • charismatron says:

      Mr. Grey,
      You complain way too much about a clip that does a fine job, which is inform the masses about what’s possibly the next iPhone glass. Instead of complaining about bullshit, just sit back, relax, appreciate the channels working together to bring you the content, and have a nice glass of warm milk and take a nap. Or have a Snickers™, cuz you’re not yourself when yer hungry.


    • “1) Marques talks as if he *knows* whether it’s pure sapphire or not based on his test, when if fact it’s a guess. Sandpapers are usually made with multiple different abrasive elements and he doesn’t know for a fact what the grit on a particular paper is or is composed of.”

      Marques is a smart guy, if he says the sandpaper had a hardness of X, then it had a hardness of X. Even more, he is likely correct in his assumptions that the material is NOT pure sapphire since the home key on the 5S, something we know for sure IS sapphire, did not scratch.


  2. The Joe Rogan podcast changed my life. I HIGHLY recommend you pick a handful of episodes that interest you and listen to them. Right now im listening to him talk with the guy from UnboxTherapy.

    So this screen is a little harder than gorilla glass. The screen was already key proof. They needed to just make the metal scratch proof.


  3. So gullible. It is not sapphire.


  4. appleo says:

    Ergo: don’t put sandpaper in your pocket!


  5. cjt3007 says:

    What does this arrow test prove? That you shouldn’t buy anything that will shatter when hit with an arrow?


    • appleo says:

      Good point! I guess it’s just to receive views though… ;)

      Liked by 1 person

    • charismatron says:

      The arrow test proves YouTube channel hits.

      The basic test has already been done, and it’s a bunch of guys goofing off with crazy bows and arrow action. While you may not be familiar, most of the folks milling about in the background have their own channels and are working together to provide some over the top entertainment.

      When it comes to tech-talk, that ain’t exactly commonplace–so I approve of this explosive total waste of time. :)


  6. Android screens would have stopped the arrow.


  7. bb1111116 says:

    I thought that Marques Brownlee did a nice job explaining the hardness of different materials (iPhone 5S screen, Touch ID, alleged iPhone 6 screen, a knife and 2 different sand papers).

    Since the alleged iPhone 6 screen was harder than the 5S screen, Brownlee explained that the iPhone 6 screen could be a sapphire / glass composite.
    If the iP6 screen is legit, it would be a definite improvement.

    We shall see what is official in September.


  8. simonfuller2012 says:

    I think it’s because a bunch of alpha males just wanna go: “grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr”

    Silly rednecks


  9. That 4.7″ iPhone 6 screen is not sapphire. ‘m disappointed :(

    3M 110N Garnet Paper is “Garnet mineral coated on to an A weight open coat
    paper backing…”. Garnet’s hardness is 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale.
    3M 011K is “aluminum oxide”, hardness 9.0 on the Mohs scale. Same as sapphire.


  10. The reason that the sapphire glass shatters when hit with an arrow is the same reason that Gorilla glass (since we know about its properties now) shatters when dropped on an edge: the material is not specifically designed to dissipate energy in such a way. Materials that are “bullet-proof” work precisely because they are malleable to a point; they are able to absorb and redirect the energy of a bullet (or arrow) from the point of impact while still maintaining structural cohesion. When that arrow hits that sapphire “glass”, the energy of the impact has no where to go…and as the arrow drills through the surface, the entire plane is expanded outwards radially with the diameter of the shaft, so the material would need to be “stretchy” to accommodate without shattering, which it is not. Kevlar, oppositely, does stretch (as it made up of many strong, stretchy fibers), and that’s why it is able to take the energy of a bullet, deform, and yet continue to protect. The sapphire glass is rigid, and although slightly malleable, not nearly enough…also, it is a material that may be able to quickly transmit energy, however the sustained expansion of the arrow shaft expansion is not quick; that force is applied for the duration of the shaft’s time in the glass.

    The sapphire glass did exactly what any materials engineer would have predicted, it shattered. That wasn’t a particularly good test, although quite entertaining from a “blowing shit up” perspective (which I happen to enjoy ;).


  11. At the end of 2011, Sony puts on sale a telephone for the sportsmen.
    Xperia Active.


  12. buzzmega says:

    Is the scratching on the iPhone 6 glass actually killing the glass, or could it be scratching a coating on the glass. The anti-fingerprint layer, for instance.


  13. Ok, I have some qualms with this article. First of all, taking things stated in the video and writing them as if they were your own thoughts is simple plagiarism. Secondly, everyone is questioning whether or not this panel is made of sapphire. I would’ve expected 9to5 to remember reporting on Apple’s patent in regards to display composites and laminates. However, no such luck. It seems through months of reporting and commenting on how sapphire crystal is less shatter resistant than Gorilla Glass that people would be expecting Apple to solve this with their patented technology. It seems I’m asking too much. It has even been reported on 9to5mac that Apple had made a sapphire crystal display that was more shatter resistant than the previous Gorilla Glass – thereby taking a drawback of the material and turning it into a positive. Does nobody think that this may come at a price? How about adding materials that are not as scratch resistant and adding them into a composite to make the display? It certainly explains that by simple dilution the decreased scratch resistance. Now, what really confuses me is how people are completely skeptical of the display being sapphire, but almost certainly convinced that Apple is using a laminate process to make the display! I don’t think it’s a laminate. I think it’s a composite, where multiple materials including sapphire crystal and melted together to make a screen.


    • GG may be more prone to shattering actually. GG is able to be scratched through normal accidents such as grinding across concrete. Sapphire wouldn’t be scratched from anything normal. Scratches act as micro fractures and when dropped they increase the likeliness of shattering, substantially. Corning may have shown that sapphire is more likely to shatter, but that was with abrasion, and the fact is, a sapphire screen would never have any abrasion, ergo I believe it may be less likely to shatter in fact.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Andy Munitz says:

    Ok…. REALLY????? Vin Diesel look alike shoots a hardcore bow and arrow shattering the screen. Did you really think it was going to be shatter proof???? Come on!!!! 90% of iphone 6 users will never put their phones in harms way like that!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. aiflcblog says:



  16. cb says:

    If it were sapphire, it should not have scratched. If it were a sapphire-glass laminate with the lamina sapphire … it should not have scratched.

    Someone with personal expertise will need to answer this … BUT, I don’t think you can take glass and sapphire and melt them together to make a composite material. Glass is technically a very viscous liquid, whereas sapphire has a crystalline structure.


  17. This isn’t sapphire glass!!!! The iPhone 6 (4.7) glass displayed here, will be provided by corning. This is a corning’s iterative improvement on its prior product “GGIII,” and apple is the beneficiary. There is an agreement barring corning from announcing the product until a certain time after apple reveals the new device, as has been the case often times in the past. The 5.5″ along with the iWatch will have the sapphire sandwiched glass, making it virtually scratch-proof, aside from diamond encounters. The 5.5″ and iWatch would be a better testbed because it would elicit a smaller demand, smaller production, ergo smaller risk if the display doesn’t hold up to typical usage within that smaller sample and demographic. If the apple-made “sapphire-glass sandwiched display” (gulp) holds up in the 5.5″ and iWatch, they will roll it out across their iPhone 7 line (with a much larger demand) in two years where the economies of scale would be better, following a market more amenable to general sapphire application, utilization, and refined product and production process. Corning is still very much in the game with this new product that is more scratch-resistant and flexible, but a marginal improvement on the Mohs scale. Once Apple rolls out their own glass across all of its portable devices, save for iPads and Macs, corning’s clientele will no longer include Apple. However, it will force Corning into the sapphire business and allow a client base that is less resource-hungry and margin-depleting.


  18. ssanook says:

    None of this really means anything, but its enjoyable to watch and speculate, thanks for the video…..

    As most of you should know, Science is capable of altering the properties of the sapphire material to make it more acceptable in both weak and strong areas, so until we see the final product and get to do a fact based material property analysis its all just fun and games.