iPod Nano Scratches | October 24, 2005

I’ve wanted an iPod Nano ever since they were released, and yesterday I went ahead and bought one. I was concerned by the reports of scratching, but Apple said this only affected a tiny proportion of models, so I wasn’t worried.

I had to nip to the post office today to pick up some mail, so I thought I’d give it a try. I slipped my iPod nano into an empty coat pocket, chose a podcast to listen to, and went for a 30 minute walk. Before I left my iPod Nano screen was pristine. By the time I’d returned it was covered in tiny little scratches. I can’t believe that after 30 minutes of use, the screen is almost as scratched as my girlfriends two year old classic iPod.

I’d be interested to know if any of you have experienced similar problems?

Posted at October 24, 2005 6:00 PM


Dave HS said on October 24, 2005 6:43 PM

Short term solution: Brasso
Long term solution: iWood nano
Shame really - there really shouldn’t be problems in the first place

Amor Entintado said on October 24, 2005 6:46 PM

Not that I own one, but I’ve been following around these scratch reports with strange interest. Sheer envy on my behalf, I guess.

Whatever the case, I’m sorry you seem to be one of the “tiny percentage” that has been affected by this Most Delicate Screen Ever syndrome. You can always try the infamous (and cheap) Brasso solution.

Best of luck!

Darice de Cuba said on October 24, 2005 6:49 PM

I have the same problem. But I have the black one and due to the reflection you notice the scrathes more then on a white one. Even so my nano is not that scrathed, you have to let the light fall on it to see them.

Drew McLellan said on October 24, 2005 7:11 PM

Same experience here. I got mine (black) on Friday, took it out with me for the first time today. It’s had sole occupancy of my jeans pocket for about two hours total.

It’s covered in extremely tiny scratches that you have to hold to the light to see. But meh, so’s the screen of my phone, and so is my 3G iPod. So are all my credit cards, and they’ve been tucked away nicely in a soft leather wallet. It’s just plastic and that’s what happens.

You have to be philosophical about it, else you become paranoid and it spoils your enjoyment of the product all together.

beth said on October 24, 2005 7:30 PM

I’ve heard tell that brasso is dangerous on the white iPods, it yellows them. Be careful.

evan said on October 24, 2005 7:42 PM

same issues here as well; i have a black one. i just put on an “invisible shield” on it. and even though it was a lot like applying car window tinting, it seems to work well without affecting the look of the nano. there’s also a lawsuit against apple due to all of this…

i think the reason for all of these scratch issues is that apple is so used to building computers that aren’t meant to be moved around or placed in anything but a laptop bag, that they have no experience on hardware durability. like cell phones, pda’s, walkmans, etc.

Tim Murtaugh said on October 24, 2005 7:48 PM

There have actually been two issues with the nano, that people are mixing up:

1. It scratches easily

2. A small number of nano screens are prone to cracking and breakage, due to insufficient quality control at a third-party supplier.

Apple has fessed up to number 2, and is presumably accepting returns without complaint.

I don’t think number one has been sufficiently quantified, but, for the record, my one-week-old nano has been in a variety of pockets, and has no visible scratches. (Don’t take this as disbelief on my part however — perhaps the scratchful-screens are yet another bad batch.)

» Apple Addresses iPod nano Complaints

Mark said on October 24, 2005 8:18 PM

And this is why I’ll never buy the first-run of an Apple product.

However, I will continue to thank the early-adopters from the bottom of my heart for dealing with the product faults so that the remainder of the populace and myself won’t have to.

Malarkey said on October 24, 2005 8:28 PM

Even those cutesy, overpriced Apple Socks leave tiny scratches on my nano. I wish I’d kept the plastic cover it came with. Anyone got more info on brasso ‘yellowing’ white iPods?

beth said on October 24, 2005 8:48 PM

Malarkey: here’s the original article where I read about the yellowing

here’s another about it not working:

evan said on October 24, 2005 8:54 PM

hmmm… if the screen on mine scratches easily, does that mean i have a bum screen that may potentially crack?

Cleay said on October 24, 2005 9:03 PM

Apple said the cracked screens were a problem with a tiny percentage, not the scratching (which evidently is a problem with all of them) - for scratching they suggested a cover.

Neil said on October 24, 2005 9:50 PM

Andy, i bought a Nano the week they were released and since then have treated it like a small child, ive only used it about 5 times. SCRATCHED TO HIGH HEAVEN!

Graham Bancroft said on October 24, 2005 10:39 PM

Apparently if you wear soft cotton tracksuit bottoms with cotton wool and bubble wrap in the pockets, so long as you don’t move, all is well, a small price to pay you would think.

bob the builder said on October 24, 2005 11:23 PM

OK. Those that know me by now have assumed that I’ve already owned the Nano for about a week. I’d have to say your right. I, like many, started my MP3 experience with Apple’s first generation iPod. It was impressive. It held 1,000 songs, was portable and like everything Apple, beautiful! I eventually traded it up for a third generation iPod that I just sold today on Craig’s list. Inbetween that time, I purchased an iShuffle for my wife to use while she runs. It’s so low tech that it loops back around to being really really cool, nevermind the the great price. I’m never bothered that it only holds a couple of hundred songs. I think the world is too hung up on how many songs an MP3 player can hold. Put a couple of hundred on it today and change them in a couple of days. Who the hell needs their whole library on one of these… Turn it on and you’re ready to go. I remember thinking that if the iShuffle had a display, it could quite possibly be the sexiest player on the market. Enter the iPod Nano. It’s slightly wider than the Shuffle but has a bright, clear color display, holds 1,000 songs and because it’s flash-based, has a battery life of up to 14 hours. This should keep Apple out of court in the coming years.

I have to say that while I love the Nano and Shuffle (mostly because of their size), I don’t think they sound anywhere near as good as the iPods or iPod mini. They just both sound a bit flat and tinny. Maybe it’s the different chip set or that you really need a hard drive spinning to deliver good quality sound. All in all, I think they make up for it but I still miss a more full, richer sound.

Along with great battery life, it’s been put some pretty impressive stress tests. I’m not sure if I would still want mine after it’s been thrown out of a car at 50+ MPH or thrown 40+ feet in the air but at least I can rest easy knowing that the occassional drop out of my pocket onto the floor won’t hurt it a bit.

So here’s my +/- list:

+ beautiful color screen
+ syncs with iPhoto as well
+ small, beautiful and light weight

- Doesn’t sound as good as the iPod
- Uses USB2 instead of Firewire

Michael Murphy said on October 25, 2005 12:24 AM

This popped up on CNN’s tech page this afternoon.


Apparently somebody has organized a class action suit already.

Handsomefish said on October 25, 2005 8:32 AM

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that people are wrong to be disappointed, or that Apple shouldn’t have done more to prevent the screen from scratching badly, but… You wouldn’t dream of putting an expensive pair of spectacles or sun glasses in your pocket without a case. My father works as an optical technician, at an optician’s practice - he makes specs for a living. Polished plastic lenses scratch - there’s not much you can do about it. There are coatings and treatments you can apply, but they can only do so much. The first thing I did when I got my 4g ipod was buy a case for it - I even carried it around in a sock while I was waiting for the case to arrive. Hope I’m not sounding rude - not trying to be sarky. I’m disappointed that such a nice looking product is a bit lacking, and I don’t even own one!

I guess it’s a trade-off. Coating the screen, making from a different material or protecting some other way may have had an impact on clarity, and with such a small screen, maybe some of the impact may have been lost.

Olly said on October 25, 2005 10:18 AM

If it’s any consolation Andy, my 3rd-gen iPod has been carefully kept in either the tough case which came with it or a recently acquired sock and yet it’s still totally covered in scratches, both on the plastic front and on the metal back. I guess this is an unfortunate reality with modern portable devices. This doesn’t bother me — infact I hadn’t really noticed until you brought it up, thanks a lot ;-) — and it certainly doesn’t affect the player in any way.

That said, the lovely brushed black and silver plastic of my Nokia 6320 phone still looks fantastic after a year of being carelessly chucked around. Perhaps Apple should be holding talks with Nokia, not Motorola?

Andy Budd said on October 25, 2005 11:25 AM

I’ve had my new digital camera now for several months and despite knocking around in my laptop bad, it doesn’t have a single scratch. I’ve had my new mobile phone for three months and despite living in the same coat pocket as I had my Nano in, and being used every day, it barely has any scratches. My girlfriends iPod is two years old now, and despite it being used every day communing and in the gym, the screen is still pretty good. No worse ware than you’d expect from a two year old piece of kit.

My iPod Nano is less than two days old and despite taking better care of it than any other of my expensive digital devices, it is already covered in scratches.

In my book there is a huge difference between acceptable ware and a product being unfit for purpose.

Paul Solecki said on October 25, 2005 11:54 AM

Mine is scuffed but not actually scratched really. It spends about 45 mins a day in my pocket with my house keys walking to/from work so it’s expected. If I wanted it as something that was on display all the time I’d be unhappy but it’s just an MP3 player at the end of the day so I’m happy with mine :)

pylorns said on October 25, 2005 2:05 PM

you should look at the string of posts on apples forums about how bad they scratch. Apple is trying to get out of it… but lets face it, their regular Ipod doesn’t have this problem.

paul said on October 25, 2005 2:39 PM

i got the invisible shield right when i got my black nano, so it’s not scratched at all - altho it does look pretty “cheap” in a not-quite-form-fitting plastic wrap…

Jemaleddin said on October 25, 2005 3:45 PM

No offense to those of you who have suffered scratched nanos, but please correct me if I’m wrong: part of the reason you bought a nano was its beauty, right? So why aren’t you treating it like a faberge egg? If you want something to stay beautiful, you have to treat it well.

bob said on October 25, 2005 7:24 PM

don’t get me wrong but everyone on this post sounds like a bunch of cry babies. the nanon is not that expensive. if you think it is, you shouldn’t be buying one in the first place. just consider it a fun toy. when it scratches too much for you to navigate the display, sell it and buy a new one. for now, stop all your whining!

Andy Budd said on October 25, 2005 10:02 PM

I wouldn’t exactly describe keeping it in an empty coat pocket for 20 minutes as treating it rough. It is supposed to be a nice looking gadget, but it also needs to be durable. I’m not expecting it to stay pristine, but getting covered in scratches after 20 min seems a bit off.

£180 is not a trivial sum of money and when I buy something I expect it to be fit for use. If it’s not I personally believe I have every right to be pissed off.

Andy Saxton said on October 25, 2005 11:28 PM

Mine has been in an iPod sock since I bought it and, as Malarkey said, it is still covered in scratches.

Not sure at all what to do about it. Again this seems to be the same problem. Not so much big scratches as little tiny annoying scratches.

I not sure I beleive that it is a problem with a small percentage, I dont know anyone who has one that hasnt reported the same problem. This comes from both sides of the pond and all over Europe. So according to their report they must have shipped a small percentage of all the “stare at it funny and it scratches” iPod nano’s to each continent.

DJ said on October 26, 2005 8:31 AM

First day I took it out, I was talking to a friend of a friend, and my friend had told them I had the new iPod nano (well new at the time), they asked to see it, I pulled it out of my pocket and the first comment was “wow, that’s really scratched up already”, I acted like I knew, but deep down inside I was so very annoyed. I bought some tough foam packaging, cut a long rectangle slot in it, now I just slot it in the bottom, cause it’s cut to size it fits perfect and no more scratches. I also wrapped clear tape around it, so it’s white, tough, and shiny, has white earbuds coming out the bottom, and thus looks good. Might try some brasso, not sure yet, I was considering buying CD scratch cleaner to see if that had any effect but brasso might work better.

Michael Klein said on October 27, 2005 7:33 PM

In no way am I an advertiser, but there is a solution for the nano that leaves the beautiful design alone and doesn’t enclose it within some huge case. Found on theinivisbleshield.com is the shield that someone mentioned above, which actually works. The shield might be a little pricey for a $20 outer layer, but it made sense for me. After spending $250 for my nano I wasn’t about to watch it turn into a fury of scratches. I got the invisible shield for the nano w/ the click wheel cut out and have been extremely pleased. You can watch videos on the website of how strong it its, nothing scratches it. If something does scratch the shield, they will send you a new one since its guaranteed for life. The application is pretty tough, but in the end I got it working just fine. Rather than watching my $250 dollar investment turn into trash or encasing it in some cheap oversized case I got this and it worked very well. Seriously, I’m not in any way affilliated with the invisibleshield company, but it works. Just flat out works.

Michael said on October 27, 2005 7:36 PM

Sorry to double post, but I remembered an important link. At first I was skeptical about the whole thing, but this article was a good resource for its application and its proof. On the page is a link for their later application of the most recent version of the cover that features the click wheel cut out.

Mike said on October 29, 2005 5:55 PM

I bought my iPod Nano (white) a few weeks ago, and it was “seriously” scratched within 2 days. By seriously scratched, I mean that at the wrong angle, the text distorts.

I carry it around in the same protector bag I used for my Rio Karma, which I’ve had no scratching problems with (even after 2 years), and which has never been damaged.

Then last week, I pulled the nano out of it’s protector at work and was shocked to see at the top left corner (bottom metal part) what I thought was a small dent. On closer inspection, it was a tiny dent, but also a HOLE to the inside. It wasn’t a puncture, like something jammed through it. It just looked like the metal was uber thin at that point and had sorta bent in around something on the inside and cracked the metal.

In the next week or so, I’ll take some pictures and post a link to them.

Scott said on October 30, 2005 12:08 AM

I’m going to second (third, fourth, whatever) the invisible shield. I was advised by a friend to not even take my black nano out of it’s plastic wrapper until I had a shield on it, and I’m glad I didn’t. It looks great, and wasn’t difficult to put on. I’m sorry your test didn’t work out. Maybe you can brasso it and then put a shield on.

Binh said on October 30, 2005 9:20 PM

I make a small case out of a micro fiber cloth. 3 stitches and on trim later, my nano is without a scratch still.

Curtis said on November 1, 2005 1:37 PM

I just bought an iPod nano yesterday and I pride myself on taking great care of my new tech devices. However, no matter how hard I tried there still seems to be tiny scratches all over the screen. Not massive ones but small ones everywhere. I’ve got a 4GB black one. I think I’m gonna return this one and look at a video or photo one

Josef said on November 2, 2005 2:43 PM

Hi Andy,

I bought an iPod Nano for my Dads birthday, beggining of October, he used it for 3 days, then he complained to me that it was scratched, it was exactly what you described, but the scratches were all over it, not just the screen. So i attemped to take it back to Micro Anvika (Tottenham Court Road) they said that “Wear and Tear” isnt covered under their warranty, you may want to try Apple direct, but they will probaly not replace it… i complained abit and called for the manager, but they kept giving me the same answer, i even said, if you swap this 2GB one ill buy a 4GB one right now. But earing an extra £30 and make a customer happy never did it for them.

So i still have my scratched iPod nano.

Boo…..i have had a sony Ericsson mobile phone for a year, and you can imagine how thrown about this would get, the screen doesnt have 1 scratch!

Richard said on November 3, 2005 5:11 PM

I was really paranoid about possible scratches on my 5G iPod, especially after all the nano scratch horror stories. I bought an Invisible Shield for my new video iPod and decided to test its durability with a key and a bunch of coins. Any way, I made a video of my invisible shield key test.

Check out my homemade iPod scratch test video here:

Richard said on November 3, 2005 5:13 PM

Oops, here’s the iPod scratch test video:
iPod Scratch Test

James Stevens said on November 3, 2005 8:28 PM

I’m just p***** off with apple full stop - my 40gb iPod had to be returned within a day after the HDD failed, and my Powerbook G4 has just gone the same way after two weeks!!! THey’re the only two apple products I’ve ever bought!!!!

Kenzie Campbell said on November 8, 2005 1:33 PM

Same problem here; Black iPod nano that developed a million tiny scratches on the face from 10 minutes in my coat pocket. Makes it hard to read the display in certain light.

Ian said on November 10, 2005 5:09 AM

I’m still upset that my iPod 1st generation doesnt like batteries. I bought a new battery for it last week and it doesnt charge up properly.

But am I bothered? No, because I’ve seen the light. I bought some cheap ass TAPES from a charity shop and Im getting myself one of those ultra cool Walkman Tape player things… and apparently, they don’t show up the scratches.

Nic said on November 10, 2005 7:35 AM

I doubt you’ll get to this, as it’ll be drowned in the archives, but I felt I had to respond to your questioning, and I think I took a different approach than other people did once I realize it was getting scratched.

I stopped caring about it looking pristine. I’ll buy AppleCare for it, and it should last me at least as long as the warranty runs (hopefully longer). After watching my 4G iPod’s HD fail on me in August, two weeks after the warranty (I didn’t extend) expired, and my trying to keep it safe, I figured my iPod will be a warrior.

(Although the theft-friendly iPod nano wallet cases looked nice.)

Chris said on November 12, 2005 6:16 AM

The invisible shield really does work to protect your ipod. Go to

I am not affiliated in any way with this company, just a happy customer.

Andrew said on November 21, 2005 11:43 PM

Well, I have the iPod video, and it scracthes pretty easily as well (probably not as bad as the Nano however). Regardless, I would not dare put it in my pocket “naked”.

As far as I can tell, the best thing to do is to get a cover/case before you actually order the iPod. Or just get it ASAP. And my personal recommendation is the Shield 4 Nano by Agent 18. It is a rugged, durable case that doesen’t slip and doesen’t make the iPod look clunky. Link: http://tinyurl.com/7mmxr

Gin said on November 22, 2005 5:15 AM

Can someone tell me if the click wheel on the nano scratches easily cause I’m trying to decide whether to get the invisible shield with the cut out or not?

lee barry said on November 24, 2005 9:48 AM

i had this problem when i got my black ipod nano. the first day there was tiny scratches developing on the screen after a week i could only see half the screen so i decided to try and fix it. i went on to a site that was sayin try brasso so i looked it up further and i decided to give it a go, after twenty minutes of polishing with a very soft cloth that you would get in a glasses case all the scratches were gone even the deep ones that distorted the pixels. brasso is a great product for the ipod nano. give it a try you’ll be amazed with the results…

Sarah said on December 4, 2005 4:28 PM

Hey, i’ve just read ure comment on the ipod nano scratches. I got a nano in october this year and by november it had millions of tiny scratches on it that looked like i had scraped a key across its screen. I took it to school everyday and thought that it was really my own fault that it had scratched. On december the 4th i went to charge my ipod nano only 2 discover that half of the colour had gone from the screen. i could no longer read the songs names or look at my fotos in full without a thick white line going through it. I haven’t heard anything like this before on a nano and if anyone can help then please do write a comment to me. Thank you x

Lisa said on December 5, 2005 9:34 PM

Hi, i was thinking of getting an i pod nano, but seeing all thses comments has put me off a little bit. Does any one think i should not bother and just go for an ipod mini? Thanks x

duffmanth said on December 6, 2005 10:19 PM

I just bought the 30GB black video ipod. I got a little fingerprint just below the clickwheel, then used a soft cloth to get the fingerprint off, and that alone scratched it! I love apple products and have been an avid apple computer user for years, but I am at the end of my rope with this ipod. Just opening the thing up and taking the plastic off, it gets scratched! for something that costs hundreds of $, apple should make this thing from a plastic that is scratch restistant. It should come with a real case right out of the box, not the piece of sh*t case that it comes with. If apple doesn’t smarten up with these types of things, this will be the last ipod I will buy. I can understand making their computers out of the same plastic because you don’t move around with them, except laptops, but something like an ipod that people put in their pockets and travel around with, they should make them out of tougher materials and non scratch surfaces! So you geniuses at Apple. use you your f*cking heads next time!

GABRIEL said on December 12, 2005 2:06 AM

after buying a black 4gb nano i took the film off the nano i saw millons of little scathes on the nano i was pissed off for 350 it shoould have no scathes.

melissa said on December 17, 2005 8:24 PM

Hey, no offence to you all but you sound like pussies. I know after 20 minutes it shouldn’t be scratched to high hell, but who the hell goes out and buys an expensive toy without thinking ahead? Make a chamois case at home. It’s the fabric that cleans eyeglasses and I haven’t noticed any scratches in my cheap ass glasses. Plus it gets a nice shine every time you use it. Slap on a screen cover and you’re gold! Here’s the site that has the directions:


Best wishes with yours.

Andy Budd said on December 18, 2005 11:21 AM

We may sound like pussies but you come across and a bit of a twat. Who on earth goes out and buys electrical goods and then fashions a home-made cover out of chamois? So have you done the same for your mobile phone, PDA or PSP? This isn’t the Swiss family Robinson you know.

becca martin said on December 19, 2005 2:40 AM

i just got a 30gb black video ipod and it got a ton of scratches on it from using a microfiber cloth to clean it! i recommend a couple things for scratches

1. DO NOT USE ICLEANER PRODUCTS! they leave more and more hairline scratches on ipods

2. i DO recommend using brasso and a clean microfiber cloth…my ipod looked like NEW after i used it

3. i bought a leather kickstand case from my local apple store. it has a screen protector AND a clickwheel protector!

my ipod looks brand new AND i have a really nice case for it! so everyone who is sensitive to the scratches has their problem solved!

PS: i don’t think people are sissies for being concerned about scratches…i mean you just spent between 200 and 300 dollars on a product and you would expect that it wouldn’t be a mess after a couple of hours of careful use!

jack beale said on December 26, 2005 11:51 PM

Hi, i just got a new ipod 60gb black video ipod, and i went shopping today put it in my pocket pulled it out after 10 mins of it being in there and in has a massive scratch on the screen and the scroll wheel, what do you suggest i do to rermove these cracthes, are there cleaning kits, or more do it yourself methods, i would be so appreatiative if some1 could advice me on this thanks

stef j said on December 28, 2005 4:12 AM

i had a ipod nano-it got scratched as easy as crap!
have you found any solutions for it???

stef j said on December 28, 2005 9:57 PM


i should have bot a case from the bastard!

stef j said on December 28, 2005 9:59 PM

im gonna try the brasso

i heard toothpaste works also(FOR THE SCREEN)
will the ipod get f-ed up if u use brasso? if it does im gonna kick ur asso!

Miguel said on January 5, 2006 1:21 AM

I have the same problem. Its been 4 days since I bought the black Ipod nano and now its all scratched. Im thinking of returning it and get the white one. Ive heard you cant see the scratches as much as in the black one.

Nicole in Texas said on January 7, 2006 6:22 AM

Tiny percentage my butt—everyone I know of with one of these things has the same problem. I’m looking into buying an ipod “sock” for mine. Hope it works.

Brandon Van Ausdall said on January 9, 2006 4:26 PM

I just got an ipod (white) 30GB video for christmas, and the first thing i did was put music on it before i left to go eat with my family. I put it in my pocket when i was walking out the door, and when i got there, i was scratched to hell…that isn’t cool. i can’t even touch it without putting another scratch on it. does anybody have any way to remove the scratches, that is cheap and effective. Please Help Me. I also forgot to add, that my battery stays charged for an hour at the most, and it says that it should stay charged for like 10 hours. I don’t know what the problem is so can someone please like e-mail me, and help me please!!!!!!!!!!! my e-mail address is schoolbus73@hotmail.com, or brandon_2008@msn.com either one will work… Thanks!!!!

Jim said on January 27, 2006 11:17 PM

I have a thick white line going through the center of my Ipod Nano. Wat can i do about it?

Dylan said on February 28, 2006 11:56 PM

I have a white line going trough the center of my 2gb i-pod nano will they put that under warrnty or tell me to live with it.?