Apple patent reveals company is working on foldable self-healing screens

Rebecca Hills-Duty
Apple Foldable silhouette on gradient background

Apple has applied for a patent that will automatically ‘heal’ from small scratches and dents, which could potentially ease fears about foldable phone displays.

Foldable smartphones have only recently become viable thanks to advances in display technology. However, many customers are wary of buying a foldable phone due to the fragility of the displays, since the nature of the design makes them more vulnerable to scratches and other damage.

A new patent application submitted by Apple might offer a solution for this issue, as it describes a type of ‘self-healing’ layer on a smartphone display that can automatically fill in dents and other minor damage.

As reported by PatentlyApple, the patent is listed as for ‘Electronic Devices with Flexible Display Cover Layers’ and shows what Apple might be working on with regards to a future foldable iPhone. Similar to other foldable phones like the Samsung Galaxy Fold 5 or OnePlus Open, it uses a hinge and flexible display cover layer. The difference is that it uses a ‘self-healing material’ coating on the screen that, according to the patent text, “may fill the dent even without external intervention.”

A concept image showing clamshell foldable iPhone
A concept image showing a clamshell foldable iPhone

The patent doesn’t describe exactly what materials this ‘self-healing’ layer would be made of. The only clues are references to “a polymer or any other desired material having self-healing properties.”

It is also not clear how exactly this self-healing would function, but it is possible that it would need some sort of additional stimulus to activate, such as additional heat or electrical current. If that is the case, then it would be logical to assume that the healing process would activate during charging.

According to a May 2024 leak, Apple is working on a foldable version of the iPhone. The leak specifies a 2026 launch date, however, it’s unknown if this self-healing technology is planned to be incorporated.