You’d probably notice this one on your own.
Walking around with a cracked iPhone screen isn’t a good look. It’s a major turn-off in the dating world, and it can be outlandishly expensive and complicated to fix without Apple’s own care plan.
Since clumsy texters will always find a way to thrash their smartphones, a new patent spotted by Apple Insider Thursday could make it a little easier for future iPhone users to detect screen damage before their display takes on full spiderweb status.
The patent lays out potential methods for detecting cracks as they form on the iPhone’s display cover. The tech could be used to pinpoint problem areas and hairline cracks as they form beneath the surface, warning users that they’re one drop away from reaching the point of no return. What exactly they might do next to prevent critical damage isn’t clear, but a safety warning is better than nothing.
One version of the screen alert system would use touch sensors already embedded in the screen to pick up on inconsistencies that might lead to damage, while another outlines a system of vibrating hotspots that would send signals through the screen and identify damage using the feedback they receive.
Other potential methods are described in the patent, like a series of pulse-emitters that would use mirrors within the phone to detect screen imperfections. Some of these methods would only be triggered after a drop, while others could ask the phone’s owner to confirm a crack onscreen by circling the problem area.
It’s all super speculative—there’s no way to predict when any of these systems will make their way onto future iPhones, if ever. For now, you can probably trust you own eyes and fingers (and that deep sense of shame) to let you know when your phone is on the outs.