Reducing an iPad back aluminum scratch using Meguiar's Scratch X 2.0

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domitron

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Before I start I wanted to say I am writing this because when the subject of scratch removal comes up online, often there are a lot of well-meaning people that say things like "just live with them if you didn't protect your unit" implying it's YOUR fault that Apple made a product that scratches ridiculously easily; no, it's completely Apple's fault and a shame the durability of their casings don't match their beauty (but perhaps soon they will - more on this later).

Within three weeks of getting my new Ipad and with extreme caution of use, somehow I managed to create a 1" long faint scratch on the back of the unit. These kinds of scratches are unbelievably easy to make since the back of the unit is only anodized aluminum, a relatively soft metal with a coating that accentuates any scratch. I kept saying to myself that I was going to eventually apply a protective coat, but I wasn't fast enough. So I'd recommend anyone who cares about such scratches either put on a plastic coating like ArmorSuit MilitaryShield or get a case over the unit immediately after taking it out of the box (oh and by the way, some cases will themselves scratch the unit as will Apple's Smart Cover around the hinges - even if Apple doesn't admit it).

I tried to reduce the faint 1" long scratch's visibility using Meguiar's Scratch X 2.0. I rubbed the polish with a microfiber towel across the scratch (i.e. perpendicular swipes) for about 15 or 20 minutes applying between moderate to fairly high pressure with my finger. The scratch was not removed, and that's expected because you really can't remove a scratch unless you reduce the material to the depth of the scratch or fill it with something; neither of which this product does. Indeed if Meguiar's did reduce the metal surface that much, the anodized aluminum finish would probably be removed and the case appearance completely ruined. However, Meguiar's reduced the scratch visibility by about 70% to my eye. I did take pictures to try to prove this, but they are not helpful because in my pictures the visibility of the scratch is almost entirely dependent on the angle of it with respect to the flash both before the treatment and after, so my camera is simply not good enough to capture the true average visibility of the scratch in real-life lighting conditions (maybe with a good softbox I could have).

So did Meguiar's alter the color or nature of the anodized aluminum around the scratch? Yes, it did, but the effect is so slight that it would hardly be noticed unless you look at the surface at exactly the right angle with respect to the light. It basically slightly increased the luster where I rubbed. But the small increase in luster is nowhere near the increase a plastic coating results in, so for me it doesn't matter since I plan on applying the ArmourSuit (again). Other than that there was no real effect on the surrounding surface.

Summary: with a little elbow grease, Meguiar's Scratch X 2.0 reduced my new iPad scratch's visibility by approximately 70% yet did not damage the finish in any way. I recommend it for iPad scratch reduction if you made the mistake of not protecting your iPad, have a scratch, and are obsessive enough to be motivated to reduce it. Otherwise, I'd recommend you just save your money and time for a more worthwhile project.

Regarding the future of Apple casing durability: as some of you may have heard, Apple purchased Liquidmetal technology around the launch of the new iPad. Liquidmetal is a patented amorphous metal alloy that promises the workability required for case molding yet is as strong or stronger than steel, so I suspect (and sincerly hope) Apple's notoriously easy-to-scratch casings are soon going to be a thing of the past.
 
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domitron

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I decided to do one more treatment to the scratch because I was bored and it sounded like fun. I bought a Sharpie silver paint pen with extra fine point (see Amazon.com: Sharpie Paint Marker Extra-fine Silver (Single Marker): Arts, Crafts & Sewing ). I think I paid like $2.50 for this exact pen at Michaels after a 40% rebate (they have them all the time, just print the online coupons).



The marker left a line, of course, far too wide and the color was much darker than the silver when wet. I let it dry for about a minute (it lightened as it dried), then I took one more drop of the Meguiar's Scratch X 2.0's and rubbed it gently with my finger a bit to remove the paint that was above the scratch, leaving the paint behind only in the crack (do NOT rub this for long or else it can remove all the paint)

The result is that the original scratch went from the 30% of the original scratch noticeably (after the Meguiar's treatment) to about 10%. Now it is nearly impossible to see unless you are viewing it from just the right angle (i.e. perpendicular to the line).

Attached are two pictures. I took a shot of the iPad before either treatment and adjusted it to be about exactly how noticeable the scratch was before the treatment (it was still under the ArmourSuit at that time). Keep in mind that this shot was angled intentionally to maximize its visibility. I then took another shot after both treatments and at the same angle. Again, I adjusted it slightly in Photoshop to match what I am seeing now (and again the shot is worse than real life - by a long shot).

I think the results shown in the picture pretty much speak for themselves. Now most people would not even be able to see this scratch without being told where it is. I would say the two steps were a 100% successful since I did not think I would be able to reduce the scratch that much given what others were saying online.

Conclusion: you CAN remove iPad back scratches if you really want to!

PS - The left picture is the before shot (of course). In the before pictures, there is a piece of white cat hair on the far right, not a scratch. See what a difference!
 

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crazy ones

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That is perfect! I was actually thinking about buying a polishing kit off of amazon and trying to repair the scratches I got on mine. I thought the high shine polish look might nice but this seems way cheaper and easier.
 
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