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A future foldable iPhone could have a self-healing screen

We've previously seen self-healing rear covers on phones, but how about a self-healing foldable screen?

Published onMay 22, 2024

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 crease
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • Apple has filed a patent for a self-healing foldable screen.
  • The screen could heal itself from scratches and dents without user intervention or via external stimuli.

We’ve heard rumors and read reports about Apple‘s foldable devices for a while now, although it sounds like we shouldn’t expect the company’s first device any time soon. However, a new patent points to one potential area of differentiation for a future foldable from Apple.

Apple Insider spotted an Apple patent that was filed with the US Patent and Trade Office (USPTO). The patent describes a device with a self-healing folding screen, adding that it could be anything from a laptop or tablet to a smartphone, monitor, or wearable. The filing notes that the self-healing material — which would heal scratches and dents — can either cover the entire display cover layer or only the flexible/bending portion of it.

Apple also describes how healing would occur:

Self-healing may occur in the layer of self-healing material without prompting (e.g., when the self-healing coating is dented, the material of the coating may fill the dent even without external intervention). Alternatively, the self-healing may be initiated or expedited by externally applied heat, light, electric current, or other type of external stimulus.

The iPhone maker also raised the possibility of heat-induced healing taking place during wired/wireless charging or on a predetermined schedule.

A familiar feature returns for the foldable era?

It wouldn’t be the first time we saw self-healing technology used on a gadget, though. LG most notably offered self-healing backs on the G Flex and G Flex 2 smartphones in the mid-2010s. This tech healed minor scratches on the back, although it didn’t heal more significant grooves and damage.

This would nevertheless be a neat idea for foldable phone screens, as their plastic nature makes them more prone to scratches than conventional glass screens. Much like LG’s aforementioned phones, we’re guessing that self-healing capabilities won’t work with more significant damage.

It’s worth stressing that this is just a patent, so there’s no guarantee that Apple will bring this technology to a future foldable device. In any event, this feature would still be a neat feather in Apple’s cap if it ever chooses to bring this to a foldable iPhone.

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