TiPb How-to: Apply a screen protector to your iPhone

TiPb How-to: Applying a Screen Protector to your iPhone

Screen protectors are a great way to keep your iPhones screen scratch-free but they can be tricky to apply. So, here's a video explain some of the basic concepts and techniques I find make the application process much faster and less stressful.

Used in the video are a non slip mat, iKlenz, a screen protector, microfiber cloth, ID card, and the star of this short -- your iPhone.

If you have any special tricks or techniques for putting on a screen protector or thoughts on the video, let me know in the comments below!

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Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, hosts the ZEN & TECH podcast, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Prime.

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There are 46 comments. Add yours.

UntidyGuy says:

The iPhone screen is made of glass. Does it really get that scratched up?

sharonpeters11 says:

Yes it can... It takes a while but it can and it will. I have one with some scratchs in it.

Rene Ritchie says:

My iPhone 3G screen was scratched by the back camera housing of CrackBerry Kevin's Bold 9000 :(

Kevin says:

Since I got my 3GS I've been screen protector free. Once you get use to that oleophobic screen everything else seems like a smudge magnet.

BBYM#IM says:

I use zagg invisble shield it's scratch proof and awesome.

Cobra302 says:

is this going to be a new series for tipb?

Tansen says:

What really helped me is to have scotch tape handy. As you place the screen over the glass, look for air pockets. If you find one, Remove that portion and dab the protector with the sticky side of tape to grab dirt, then remove and try again. It worked really well for me.

Georgia says:

@Tansen Great tip, thanks!

Paul says:

I find a sheet from a lint remover roller gets all of the dust and particles off of a screen. Just lay it on and peel it off immediately before applying.

Usman says:

@Paul Great idea man! I've used blue painter's masking tape before with the same effect...

Chris Vitek says:

Just tried your technique! Looks great!

Georgia says:

Awesome Chris, happy it worked out !

Glenn#IM says:

Off topic, anybody having trouble updating an app. Error message states to log on to the pc and sync to get the update. This is a pain. Why have the app store on the iPhone if you have to connect to the computer just to get an update.

Jon says:

I have never had a screen protector on mine and it is fine. No issues. I also don't put it in my pocket with another phone or keys!! I think screen protectors on glass are kind of stupid personally. Now I do have a Zagg protector for the back of the phone which can and does get bet up.

Glenn#IM says:

I have a case from prima that closes over the screen. Only trouble, the iPod Touch slid out once and hit the concrete floor. Caused very minor scratch, almost unseen. Got a screen proctector after that.

TumnusMr says:

My advice is don't use those cheap plastic protectors at all as they themselves get scratched up in next to no time.
I would only recommend those protectors made out of the material that products like the Zagg Invisible Shield uses. That stuff it amazing. Even if it does get scratched (and that is pretty hard to do) just forget about it for a week and use the phone as normal and the scratch will disappear.
What most people don't realize about that material is that it is semi-porous so even when you get bubbles after applying it, again wait for the glue to dry and then just carry on using the phone as normal. Within a week, even the biggest bubble just work themselves out.
The one and only thing you have to be careful of is getting lint or any other particles under the skins that glue on since that stands out like a sore thumb and there's little you can do but take it off and apply again, if you can get rid the of bits stuck on that is.
The only weakness in the glue on skins is that the glue eventually fails, especially at the corners so you end up having to get a new one.

Sean Curley says:

Whenever I put a protector on, I run the protector -- both sides -- under water and then immediately put it on the iPhone. Then I squegee out the water from underneath using a credit card. Works perfectly everytime. If anything doesn't look perfect after it's on, I just peel it off rinse it off and do it again.

Alli says:

Georgia, you inspired me to try again, and it looks great. Thanks!

Georgia says:

@Alli So happy that it looks great ! Thanks for the comment

BootsMcGavin says:

I've never even touched the screen on my 3GS. Ever since day 1 i had a Power Support anti-glare screen protector right form the Apple Store. They are like $15 for 2 of them but totally worth it. I haven't even used my 2nd one yet. It lasts forever. Doesn't show any finger prints, and when swiping there is basically no friction or resistance. Love it.

Proto732 says:

Whenever I need to apply one go into the bathroom, close the door, run the hot shower for 5 minutes, then apply in the steamy room.
Lint and dust aren't so free flowing in the air when a room has got some steam going on.

69monos says:

Hi there, not sure which brand you're using but after having researched quite a while found a guy in Macrumours forum that did all the tests with different brands and the best are Bodyguardz for front (much better than Zagg, which is not as good and super expensive) and BestSkingEver for back (which is a bit thicker but works perfect to provide the grip you need in the back). With the first ones you can get life replacements when you send out the used ones.
My advise is to spray a mix of water + baby shampoo on the skin before applying. You method seems alright but chances are you might not align it perfect and then you're stuck, while if its humid you can always slide it through the screen until desired position. Finally you squeege it with credit card or similar.
ALSO a bit of advice: never start from the bottom if you use the liquid solution, otherwise water may end up getting inside earpiece and shorting your LCD backlight as result. Start always from the top and apply it downwards.
Regarding the back skin... this one is actually much more difficult to fit, because of the corners. In fact you can damage your phone if there is an excess of water applied as it would get from either the dock connector or the headphones or even the sleep button. You have to be very careful and plan well this operation. Take your time and use a similar setup to tehe one on this video, but rather place something more absorbent (like a cloth) underneath the phone. TIP: once you're done, wrap the whole phone with kitchen wrap paper (the one used to wrap sandwiches and other food). That way corners will stick perfect and after a few hours you can remove.
It is somewhat tricky, but once you are done your phone would look perfect, way much better than those bulky covers.
I recently went to Apple store and the genius told me he never saw a phone with such perfect finish. It is all about patience and practice. Look in Bestskinsever website for pics and applying instructions and best of luck.
P.N.: I'm not endorsing any products and I don't work for any of those companies. But "you asked for the best and you got it!" (this is actually a quote from KISS on their concerts :)

Georgia says:

@69monos Thanks for the detailed method and information. Yes a few people have endorsed the water method. Though I have to say that it scares me to think of having water on the screen of my iPhone. I worry about all the dangers you already pointed out, esp since I got a perfect fit the first try. I am intrigued though and I will think about testing it out.

aimz says:

I use Zagg InvisibleShield on my 3GS. Works great but I need to get a new one because it got a bit mangled on one side when I was trying to put my phone in a case it ended up not fitting in (turned out the case was made for 1st gen iPhone... 3G & 3GS are slightly thicker... too bad cos I really liked that case).

GrandmaBetty says:

I had an invisible shield but when I got my screen replaced (dust under it) I took it off. I don't think I'll ever put another screen protector back on. Bare glass is soooo nice.

appchel says:

I keep going back and forth between screen shields and none. I def like no protector better, but I am always afraid of getting little tiny scratches on the screen. I can't use the cardstar app with a screen saver on, has anyone had any luck using the cardstar app with a screen saver?

Joebin says:

I caught this video a day late. My friend and I were in Cairo and another friend living there just got an iPhone there but couldn't find a screen protector. I just so happened to buy a pack here in the US before flying out, so I gave it to him. It was pretty comedic how it all went down when I put the screen protector on for him... from applying it crooked, to smoothing out massive bubbles, then getting lint trapped underneath. At least I had a pack of 3 protectors, and my friend already knew I was a buffoon. This video will definitely up my iPhone accessory installing skills. Thanks Georgia.

meinvein says:

Can I use the lens cleaner that came with my prescription eye glasses? The brand is instaClears Lens Cleaner. Thanks

Adam says:

I like the fact that these shields obviously protect the screen but I also like the look of my IPad without a shield; I always seem to get a bubble under the shield when I am placing them on my IPhone.... Tips??

Ashlie Byerly says:

very nice iphone screen protector at shoponlinegoods, great buy at 99p do have a look at it people

Latricia Boxley says:

Had some difficulties looking at the web page in Opera using the Macintosh, nevertheless I still appreciated the website!

v pills says:

Awesome Chris, happy it worked out !

Selülit kremi says:

What most people don’t realize about that material is that it is semi-porous so even when you get bubbles after applying it, again wait for the glue to dry and then just carry on using the phone as normal.

fred says:

you can get blackberry screen protectors at: www.blackberryplace.com

Lara says:

I was never satisfied with my first screen protector, there were some airbubbles no matter what I did. Then my dog mistook my iphone as a chewtoy, thankfully no damage done except the cheap silicone casing and the screen protector (screen itself was perfectly fine, not a scratch on it ;-)). I bought a new casing and protector and this time I was wise enough to check how it is done correctly. Thank you so much for this tutorial, with the new casing and the bubble free screen it looks all shiny and new.

helen says:

Hi ,my friend
We can supply you the mobile phone/PC accessories in lower price and higher quality.
Our products for mobile phone /pc include four kinds :screen protector ,case ,cover and pouch .and the samples for your test are free
If you need the price to compare with it your partner give you,welcome!

basur says:

I had an invisible shield but when I got my screen replaced (dust under it) I took it off. I don’t think I’ll ever put another screen protector back on. Bare glass is soooo nice.

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Amy says:

I just got an ipod touch and managed to stuff up the screen protectors so mum suggested putting high quality glad wrap over the screen, it feels great and the screen isn't stick at all

Mark says:

After about 15 attempts which were alright but not perfect my advice is to simply make sure the surface is dust free and clean and the best way to do that is to get the most powerful light source you can. It's amazing that the dusters they give you will create dust particles themselves. If you get it dust free then the protector will go straight on without any bubbles and you dont need need a card to get the bubbles out. I've done it 1st time about 5 times now for friends.

Bobt40987 says:

Can you use regular lens cleaner for an invisible shield screen protector

Henry says:

Before I used to use a transparent skin that only protected the screen, but then I switched to full body protection. But the issue that made me switch wasn't just the vulnerability of the rest of the iphone but it was the "orange peel" problem. Because of the drag that the transparent skin had on my iPhone, it made the operation of my touchscreen frustrating. I decided to discontinue use because it's not worth it if I can't operate my touchscreen comfortably. So I started using my iPhone "naked". But then I saw a product, GadgetShieldz, that wasn't costly and offered free shipping. I was cynical about transparent skins, but I still wanted one and the relatively low price was enticing. It turned out GadgetShieldz didn't have any orange peel feeling and I was able to operate my iPhone smoothly.
Oh yeah, and GadgeShieldz covers the whole phone, not just the screen.

Richie Gick says:

You really provided me very useful information.Its great to have things which makes your life more easier.

Treasa Tuohy says:

When sending the unit back for repair, do I just send the unit?

iHof says:

Be careful when spraying an iPhone, iPad or iPod. They contain liquid sensors which, when triggered, will render your warranty void. The best approach is to cover all ports with tape or rubber plugs (easily found online).

The best method of installing screen protectors is the "hinge method," as used by professional decal artists. No bubbles, no fingerprints, straight and true, and right the first time with no do-overs.

After that I would have to go with Zagg's "wet" method, noting the above cautions regarding liquids. The liquid helps flush out impurities, and allows for slight adjustments to the film position before it dries.