iPhone case rehabilitation

[Richard Cabrera's] iPhone was scratched from years of use. A big part of the appeal of Apple products is the dose of sexy that comes with them, so he set out to remedy this abomination. His iPhone case rehabilitation guide walks you through the miraculous transformation. One of the tools he uses is a headlight lens restoration kit from 3M because its polishing pads include graduated levels of grit for the transition from rough sanding to buffing. As you can see, the logo and text have been buffed off but that’s a small price to pay for what looks like a shiny new device.


  1. DJcrayon says:

    Some would say the logo being polished off is an added plus!

  2. Asuraku says:

    Oh man! That is sharp lookin’! I wonder if I can do this on teh metal back for my Touch? I’d probably have to find a different set of polishes and sanding grits though.

  3. aliencam says:

    lol I have done this many times with the grinding and polishing wheels in my school lab. (they are supposed to be for polishing SEM samples) We’ve done it to a class ring with a scratched stone, scratched watch bands and watch faces, and other stuff.

  4. nick says:

    Yeah done the same thing using G3 car cutting compound then various polishes. But once you’ve polished passed the logo the case gets very soft, and scratches easily. Apple must have used a more durable top layer.

  5. dave park says:

    What you are looking for is a product called Ice Creme http://www.radtech.us

    Great product, specifically designed for this task.

  6. Ben Wright says:

    Polished off the logo and the serial number. Even mentions that he got it for a real good price. I think he had more intentions than just making it look new.

  7. vonskippy says:

    So how many hours did that take? Depending on your billable rate – I’m guessing he wasted way more time then it was worth (especially since he ended up with a phone that will scratch even more easily the second time around).

  8. Scott says:

    Wouldn’t a good coat of paint have been faster and have kept the hard surface layer?

  9. derp says:

    nice finish. but won’t he just be upgrading to a new iProduct shortly? why bother with fixing old ones when the new generation is just around the corner ;D

  10. walt says:

    looks better without the apple logo

  11. taylor says:

    Apple-mocking aside, it looks like darth vader’s phone! Its so shiny and ominous, without being too busy, just like his costume. :)

  12. BENTOT says:

    what happened to the Apple logo from the before and after. It shows it on the before but not the after, you sure its the same iphone?

  13. Josh says:

    Should sell that pile and get an android device. Apple’s days of phone sales are numbered unless they stop being so stingy.

  14. M4CGYV3R says:

    So…if you’re about to open it up and replace the screen anyhow, why wouldn’t you just pull the back cover off before sanding it to avoid hurting the rest of the phone?

    Also, get a Droid dude. They’re buy one get one free right now through Verizon at about $200.

  15. derp says:

    lol @ bentot

  16. Olivier says:

    BENTOT is right, nobody wonder what happened to the logo.
    And also, where is the screen? This iPhone looks so weird without it. How someone can use it?

  17. Bobby says:

    Um… my droid already has electrical tape (to hold the battery cover).

    It’s a phone… phones get dropped and abused… who cares how they look.

    I hate to be a walking cliche with my droid but I really do see the differences in users.

  18. barry99705 says:

    Put one layer of electrical tape on the pad under the battery cover. Works just as good, and doesn’t look as bad. Also, the tape will start leaking the glue all over and you’ll get fuzz stuck to it. Makes a mess.

  19. osgeld says:

    “BENTOT is right, nobody wonder what happened to the logo.”

    no one is wondering because the explanation is in the last sentence of the review

    Tho I am more surprised by peoples reaction, first thing I though was “oh someone took a I phone to a buffing wheel” I was expecting the usual “but that is not a hack” rampage that usually happens when someone does a no-brainer

    whatever, It did the job, looks good and if it does end up being softer you can always put a coat of lacquer on it or something

  20. Fork the apple says:

    Apple will be annoyed to hell!
    Every true and dedicated Apple fan boi knows that more than 8 scratches means its time to replace the device.

    8 scratches or 3 months which ever comes first.

  21. Amos says:

    “always when sanding keep a thumb/finger above the camera to avoid scratching the glass lens !”

    O_O! Seriously?

    Also, I can’t believe nobody suggested flame-polishing (especially since he opened it).

    Finally: What, no “apple-polisher” jokes? :P

  22. Simbo says:

    @Josh, I have an iPhone and when my contract ends there’s no way in hell I’d get another now android looks and is much better from when it started!

  23. Dale says:

    You’ll definitely want to add a layer of clear coat to that. Eventually, if you keep scratching and buffing it out enough, you’ll get down to the metal I’m sure.

  24. acceptablerisk says:

    Personally, I like a little honest wear in my stuff. It feels more real, somehow.

  25. k0ldBurn says:

    I know what you mean acceptable risk. The first time I upgraded my phone, I nicked the back a little with a knife so it felt a little more like something I use and not a shiny new toy. Looking back it wasn’t the best idea I ever had but it just felt better that way somehow.

  26. jaded says:

    What works better for me these days is prevention. I remember being right pissed when I put a nice cell phone in my new jeans pocket and it came out scratched to hell (looked like the “before” in the picture.) I’ve also ruined the finish on several Swiss army knives.

    “Stonewashed” literally means they tumbled your jeans with little abrasive rocks, and they leave nasty grit in your clothes. We use the exact same abrasive stones for deburring and polishing parts in a machine shop.

    So now whenever I buy new jeans I turn the pockets inside out and run them through the washing machine for a cycle or two before wearing them. No problems since.

  27. Elbarfo says:

    Novus plastic polish will work just as well…and likely not be abrasive enough to remove the precious logo.

  28. FDP says:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t find this to be a hack? I’ve polished all kinds of things in my day… perhaps if he’d used acid or something…

  29. byTheWay says:

    with 10$ you can have an invisible shied full body for the iphone.
    why I’ve to waste my time after when with 15 minutes of patience you could have no more problem with the scratches??

    and who’s a sticker addicted, with the tinny shield could stick all the stupid things that you want without problemz!

  30. I own a Droid so I really can’t relate to over-flashy, over glossy devices but this is a job well done Richard Cabrera. I congratulate you.

  31. @Bobby ~ hey man there is a really easy fix for this. all you need to do is take a razor blade ann/or small eyeglass screw driver (flathead) and pry up the small metal piece on the actual phone so it catches the latch on the cover better. takes no time at all, and works perfect.

  32. therian says:

    why it always have to be shiny with apple ? inst there other positive sides

  33. cheapstyle says:

    Why not just buy a new backcover for 20 bucks?

  34. kez says:

    for the same reason a lot of people make sex to do child and not call other man to make sex with his wife…

  35. monopole says:

    Silly fools! It is the Apple logo on the case that makes the iPhone magic! The only way to clean one is to buy a new one. Preferably rather than recharge your phone, you should buy a new one.

  36. walt says:

    lol @ BENTOT & Olivier

    reading is knowing fellows. give it a try. it doesn’t hurt that bad.

    looks like a few mac fanboys snuck in here. this post, with the word “iphone” in it, must have showed up in there rss twitter apple isuck pad pod feed.

  37. jim says:

    You could just dissemble it, clean it, spray a new top coat on and polish that to a mirror shine.

  38. strider_mt2k says:


  39. buschetta says:

    They say that when you throw it on the floor in just the right angle a small devil pops out.

  40. rev426 says:

    I used a very similar method on my ipod along time ago. Brasso works very good with a rag (takes a long time but crazy cheap.)

    Also a great option for a iPhone I just purchased a full iPhone restore kit (everything that you can see on the outside of the phone) for 7 dollars! looks OEM too just look on ebay.

  41. D- says:

    We where polishing plastic in High School shop 35 years ago. Not that hurts we on the backside of 50 to see posts that introduces newcomers to old techniques applied to modern products. I have had a simple polishing setup in my shop for severals year now, though I polish mostly metal.
    @jim; Any new top coat sprayed on will reflect the surface it applied to, if you want a smooth top coat you apply it to a smooth surface.

    @vonskipp; Billable rate? This is all a hobby. Who would gig the old gals in a quilting club about a billable rare? Anyway it WAS a lot of effort and expense to polish an apple.

  42. DeAthWaGer says:

    Is it really that hard to get some plain white toothpaste for rough buffing and then Nu Finish to polish? That’s what I’ve used for decades for everything from portable game system screens to CDs and DVDs.

    Stop spending retarded amounts of money for bullshit polishing/”rejuvenating” products.

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