Pixel 4, 4 XL reportedly have terrible oleophobic screen coatings

Some users report as much as half the screen no longer has a coating and now collects more fingerprints and smudges

The Pixel 4’s oleophobic coating reportedly doesn’t hold up well over time and is as bad as last year’s Pixel 3.

According to Android Central, both the Pixel 4 and 4 XL units used by two of its writers have seen the coating all but disappear on the bottom half of the screen.

For those unfamiliar with the oleophobic coating, it’s a layer added to most touchscreens that helps it repel oils. It’s particularly useful on phones since you touch the screen all day with your fingers, which are naturally oily. However, oleophobic coatings don’t prevent fingerprints and smudges entirely, just reduce how much they build up.

Further, phones typically only use oleophobic coatings on the screen and not on the back glass panel to help users grip the device.

The thing with oleophobic coatings is that they tend to wear off over time. If you’ve ever noticed your old phone collects way more fingerprints than your new one, that’s probably why.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the Pixel 4, the coating apparently wears off too quickly. In the case of the Pixel 4, Android Central reports that the bottom half of the screen has virtually no coating left after five weeks of use. To make matters worse, wear on the oleophobic coating is cyclical — the more you wipe off the screen, the more coating you lose, the dirtier the screen gets and the more you have to wipe it off.

Despite these issues some are having, none of the Pixel 4 or 4 XLs at the MobileSyrup office exhibit the same behaviour. I’ve used my Pixel 4 since launch and see no signs of wear on the oleophobic coating. It’s not clear how widespread the issue is.

To make the issue worse, the Pixel 3 had an equally bad oleophobic coating that wore away quickly for many users.

If you have a Pixel 4 and your coating is starting to wear off, a screen protector could help slow the effect. Plus, many high-end screen protectors come with their own oleophobic coating. Alternatively, invest in a good microfibre cloth, because you’ll be wiping down the phone a lot.

Source: Android Central