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iFixit has recently made a teardown test of Apple’s iPhone 15 FineWoven case using a microscope. And while we have already seen some reports before showing how it gets dirty, the new review gives us a better idea of why this happens.

The new material replaces leather, which Apple used to employ for its different accessories. As the giant shared, it is part of its sustainability efforts as the new material has less carbon footprint versus cowhide leather. Unfortunately, the microtwill FineWoven case, which means it is woven, can easily catch stains.

iFixit has shown in a test what the material looks like up close under a microscope employing 490x magnification compared to a strand of hair. According to the team, FineWoven’s fiber is only 6 microns fine or about 1/12 the width of the strand of hair. The fibers, nonetheless, are grouped together to form approximately 150-micron-thick threads. The threads are then used to create the visible texture of FineWoven.

As expected, the case isn’t just made of the microtwill. According to iFixit’s teardown, it is layered in the following order: FineWoven fabric, gray foam, rigid plastic sheet, MagSafe hardware/white foam, another rigid plastic sheet, and finally, an inner layer of FineWoven fabric.

Despite the FineWoven layer being only 0.17 mm thin, it seems it can take simple scratches pretty well, according to iFixit. After being keyed, it only obtained minimal damage. That’s the end of its good quality, however. After being tried with a knife, it got serious damage (although it is expected) and suffered “heavy jostling” after it was scratched with fingernails. And although the material didn’t tear up completely, the tests performed caused “scratch-jostled fibers reflect light irregularly compared to the untouched bunches, creating a lasting visual mark.” As such, iFixit deduced that the case could easily lose its beauty by simply putting it with other sharp materials in your pocket.

As for the stains, FineWoven isn’t the best material to have. iFixit reported that it is similar to the material in the Arc’teryx Atom LT jacket and Patagonia TechFace jacket, but FineWoven lacks the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatment, which often comes with contains polyfluoroalkyl chemicals. EPA says it is toxic, so it is wise for Apple not to use it in its cases. Unfortunately, it makes the FineWoven material vulnerable to stains.

iFixit tested FineWoven with coffee, grease, and hot sauce. Although the former dried off with little marks, the two last liquids made permanent traces after penetrating the material. Worse, detergent washing did little to help alleviate the issue.

This affirms the previous reports of other users and Apple’s reminder of how delicate FineWoven is. Unfortunately, whether we approve of this or not, it seems we are now stuck with the material since Apple has already decided to use it on iPhone cases and its other accessory offerings.

What do you think of FineWoven? Let us know in the comment section!


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