Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you. For more information, please visit our Disclaimer Page.

The camera might be one of the most useful additions to modern smartphones. It allows any user to take pictures on the go, and there is no need to carry a second device with you just for taking photos. Additionally, many of the cameras that developers like Apple put in the latest versions of their iPhones have excellent megapixel quality that can rival some of the standalone digital cameras.

With proper storage considerations, you can keep thousands of high-quality digital photos right on your newest phone, to say nothing of extra space in the cloud.

Having a camera that is part of one’s phone is certainly useful, but some iPhone owners wonder if they might need to invest in a camera lens protector for their devices. We will try to answer this question in today’s article. As we go along, we will talk about how easy or difficult it might be to scratch the lens of the camera when you are using it, and we can get some information on just how necessary protectors for the lenses might be.

Since some users will be concerned about picture or camera quality once they install lenses, we can also address that issue, wrapping up with some information about the front camera.

Do iPhone Camera Lenses Scratch Easily?

It might be difficult for anyone to answer this question definitively, but we can look at some anecdotal or test cases to see if we can make an educated guess on the subject. For some, it seems to depend on the specific generation of the iPhone that they are using.

Some people within the Apple or tech communities may relate their own stories about how their versions of the iPhone seem to scratch easily.

However, it is important to remember that many of these stories tie back to the whole body of the iPhone itself being easy to scratch, not necessarily the camera lens specifically. Furthermore, although anecdotal information from real users has some value, it can be hard for anyone to make any kind of definitive statement using just this data.

Some users seem to feel that the iPhone 12, for example, is more prone to scratches on the body and screen than any previous versions they may have owned. While this can be true, we also have to consider the specific use cases that might come into play.

The body of the iPhone might take a few small scratches or scuffs here and there, but many of these do not affect the overall functionality of the phone.

Of course, many users want to keep their phones looking as nice as they can for as long as possible. However, there is a difference between a scratch that interferes with the phone’s operation and one that is cosmetic.

Similarly, while any kind of object or material can sustain a scratch, the compounds in modern iPhone lenses make this extremely unlikely. This is particularly true if the user takes proper care of their phone. For some generations, Apple has developed iPhone models that use synthetic sapphires as part of the camera lens.

This material is very hard and resistant to damage, with a high rating on the Mohs hardness scale. Therefore, the lenses themselves have some protection that the company builds into them by default.

In general, it is probably easier to scratch the surface of the iPhone case than it is to scratch a camera lens. The case comes into contact with objects more, and it is more likely that at least some part of the case, encompassing the whole phone, will scratch or scuff before the tiny camera lens does.

This does not mean that you couldn’t add extra protection for the iPhone’s camera lenses, but it might not be as necessary as some people think.

Are Phone Camera Lens Protectors Necessary?

To get a better idea of whether lens protectors for the iPhone might be necessary, we can talk a bit about phone cases in general. However, keep in mind what we mentioned earlier about the hardness of synthetic sapphire. In most cases, you should be fine with a regular case protector that covers the whole body of the phone.

Even here, you may not need such an accessory. Some people like to add them by default, and there are others who use them because they know the phone will be in their pocket with other things. If you think that your phone may bounce around with keys, coins, and other things in a confined space, it might be worth it to add a thin case or protector for the whole device.

The coatings that Apple uses on its iPhones are not purely sapphire, but they are still very resistant to scratches. In contrast, the gorilla glass on the phone screen is softer.

This is why you may experience some scratches or scuffs on the front of the phone, but you may never have any problems with the surface of one of the camera lenses. Ultimately, the decision to get a camera lens protector is a personal one.

However, it would seem that this is largely unnecessary if you use the phone in normal, everyday circumstances that do not involve any undue abuse. You are more likely to have issues with the front screen than the camera lenses.

Does an iPhone Lens Protector Affect Picture Quality?

Although it is not a given, a phone lens protector for the camera can impact picture quality. Some camera lens protectors have cutouts that developers design in order to offer some protection to the phone without sacrificing image quality.

However, the very nature of a cover of this type means that the lenses might not have as much of a shield as one would think.

If you choose to go for a full lens protector, you may see diminished image quality. This is particularly true if you need to use the flash to take photos.

Furthermore, a camera lens cover that goes over the whole apparatus will, in some way, alter or diminish the light that comes through to the lens. Any time that you have any obstructions to the light that needs to pass through the lens of a camera, there is the potential for the image quality to degrade. How much it lowers in terms of percentages would be very situational, but the problem exists.

It is possible that if you have any dust or particles sitting on the lens when you install the protector, you will notice a further dip in quality when you take photos. As we mentioned, the decision to add one of these accessories is personal, but you should know that it can alter the quality of images going forward.

Do Screen Protectors Affect Camera Quality?

Much like lens protectors, screen protectors can affect the front camera quality. The likelihood of this happening can depend on the type of screen protector that you get. However, most protectors are not completely transparent.

Because they have some opacity, there is a chance that they will change the quality or feel of the image in some way. If the screen protector is not colorless, it may cause shifts in the tone of the photos when you take them. Without full transparency, it could also make the pictures less sharp than they otherwise would be with no covering over the lens.

With all that said, you may be able to find screen covers that include openings for the camera lens. If your goal is to protect the gorilla glass of the screen as much as possible, but you are less concerned about the front lens specifically, this kind of cover might be a good compromise for you.

The main part of the screen that you use or touch daily will get an additional degree of protection, and the camera lens on the front should not see any differences in image capturing and picture quality.

Should Screen Protectors Cover the Front Camera?

This question relates to the one above, but it gets deeper into the more personal reasons each individual user may have. We spoke already about how covering the front camera by way of a screen protector can have negative impacts on its ability to take quality photos.

How much of a compromise one wants to make it up to them, but the type of screen protector they get is important. You may be able to get one that is totally clear, but the nature of having something in front of that lens could still alter the light that gets through to the camera.

If you really want to protect the front lens, there are covers available that will do that. However, much like the rear cameras, this is not strictly necessary.


Modern iPhones are great for taking photos that you can then share with others through the various apps you have right on the device. With their price and aesthetics, many users want to protect them as much as possible. Both camera lens and screen protectors are two ways they can do this, but these accessories may come with compromises.

Depending on their construction, some of them can alter picture quality. Furthermore, most camera lenses use materials that are so resistant to scratching that some users will consider extra layers to be unnecessary.