Right now, about 700 million iPhones are actively being used. That's about 10% of the whole world's population. Which is a lot considering not everyone has access to these kinds of gadgets. And you must admit, iPhones are not cheap devices, and it can be soul-crushing to find a gash across the screen of something so costly. Not only that, but a large scratch can even affect your ability to use the phone’s touchscreen interface. Sometimes, getting a scratch on your screen is inevitable, especially when we put it in our bags or pockets alongside keys and pens, or maybe even by the occasional screen-first-drop-on-pavement.
Current smartphone screens are made with Gorilla Glass, able to prevent most scratches, but it, too, has limited capabilities especially against sand, dirt, concrete, and gravel. So how do you avoid these wretched disasters? There are a mere two accessories every smart iPhone user needs when it comes to protecting your phone – a phone case and a screen protector. But the case can only do so much in protecting your precious screen. If you spend a lot of time at the beach, you might want a screen protector anyway.
Why Screen Protectors?
Some say screen protectors are unnecessary because of the built-in Gorilla Glass screen, but being a smart iPhone user means also enhancing the usability of your smartphone. And screen protectors can do just that. It’s wise to remember that there are more to screen protectors than just protecting. Here are other advantages of using screen protectors:
Anti-Glare: Like all glass, direct sunlight can hinder you from seeing whatever is going on on your screen. The anti-glare feature saves you from the glint and allows you to look at your screen wherever you are, while also giving a matte feel to your screen.
Bye-Bye Finger Prints: The fantastic feeling of unboxing your brand-new phone might be cut short when you see many fingerprints all over it, especially when they are yours. Oleophobic coatings help repel oil found not only on your finger but also from other surfaces. A simple wipe with microfibre cloth rids you of unwanted smears or smudges.
Old Devices: If you’re the lucky type and miraculously acquire an old iPhone without a nick or scruff, or you still have your old model from 5 years ago, you need to remember that these were pre-Gorilla Glass days and are most definitely vulnerable to scratches. A screen protector can help retain the condition until you decide to get a newer model.
Private Screen: With thickness close to 8mm, these are designed to darken the screen when viewed from an angle. They make the display invisible to others and making it private. The added thickness also allows extra protection from accidental drops.
For the Narcissist: Invisible to the naked eye when the display is turned on, the screen protector turns into a mirror once you turn the display off. Perfect to use in between selfies.
Which One is for You?
With its current uses, plus who knows what use developers might think of next, you might have a hard time deciding which screen protector to get. There is a wide variety of them both in your local shops or online. First things first, know what jargon like “9H hardness” and “Oleophobic” mean.
9H Hardness: This refers to the screen not getting scratched by a 9H pencil, the toughest of all standard pencils. It’s not a great test, but it’s a good enough measuring system. But there are a lot of everyday items that can scratch your screen more than a 9H pencil.
Oleophobic Nano-coating: Honestly, this is the only specification that you should look for. With its etymology being “oleum” meaning oil and “phobos” meaning fear, screen protectors which contain this characteristic reject fingerprint smudges. This feature ensures that your fingerprints (and even oil from the side of your face) won’t stick. Oil from food can also be repelled. So, say goodbye to ketchup stains, fried chicken smudges, and grease marks.
The bottom line is that picking the perfect protector can be a tedious undertaking, but it’s worth it once you find the right one. It all just depends on your daily routines and rituals.
Applying a Screen Protector
The dry method keeps the protector attached to the screen using static. Just clean your phone, align the protector and apply it. After a few tries, you will soon apply the protector almost perfectly. But until then, mistakes are the norm. Luckily, protectors via dry application method will allow you to carefully lift them off the phone and take care of the mistakes and remove dust particles before trying again.
The other method of applying the screen protector is via wet application. It works by spraying a liquid on the backside of the screen protector, then carefully and precisely place the thin film securely on the phone. Apparently, manufacturers say this method is the best way to avoid air bubbles and is more resistant to peeling. You might mess up the installation at first, but they too give second chances at applying them correctly.
Even though most packages come with detailed instructions, it won’t hurt to apply these extra few tips to make installation easier:
- Start off by washing your hands;
- Then find a dust-free environment (some recommend a steamy bathroom since the humidity reduces the amount of dust in the air);
- Use latex or rubber gloves to keep fingerprints from getting on the surface of the screen;
- Using sticky tape works well to pick up dust that settles back onto the screen;
- When small bubbles form, use a credit card to push them to the edge; and
- If dust or large bubbles form, use more tape to lift a corner of the protector gently.
As the future comes nearer and innovations are inevitable, some users are rethinking the use of screen protectors on their devices. But for most iPhone users, the additional security and reassurance that screen protectors offer are worth more than any extra cost and installation hassles. A protector is never as comfortable as using the bare screen of your phone, and it doesn’t always look nice with the body either. It’s an aesthetic problem. But will you choose aesthetics over safety? Screen protectors are inexpensive compared to the cost of replacing an iPhone’s screen (or replacing the whole unit altogether). Not only are screen protectors a great way to prevent unsightly scratches, but they also protect screens from fingerprints and dust. Guard your iPhones against unwanted gashes and scuffs by applying screen protectors, and keep your equipment functioning and looking new for years to come.