Monday, December 10, 2012

The Best Way To Apply a Screen Protector To Your Phone Or Tablet


Sent to you by Chris Hunter via Google Reader:


via MakeUseOf by Aaron Couch on 12/10/12

how to apply screen protectorHave you ever seen someone's phone with a giant bubble in the middle between the screen protector and the screen? Perhaps you've been that person or are trying not to be that person. Whether you have tried applying screen protectors before with unsatisfactory results or are about to apply one for the first time, this is the article for you to learn how to apply screen a protector – what to do and what not to do when installing it.

What I'll do is show you what you'll need, the method I chose and why I chose it and then a couple more methods that you might try which have also proven to work flawlessly.

What You're Going To Need

how to apply screen protector

This somewhat depends on your method, and there are a few. Some people just slap the screen protector on and usually that's what creates the bubbles. Regardless of what you decide to do, there are a few things you'll always need for applying a screen protector.

  • Caseless phone/tablet.
  • Clean, non-dusty area.
  • Microfiber cloth.
  • Plastic credit card.
  • Tape.
  • Lots of patience.

Depending on your preference you can either use your fingers or a plastic card. I used a card, but others have found success using their fingers.  The screen protector I got actually came with an installation card, but I felt it was too small for the job.

how to apply screen protector without dust

The Best Way Is The "Tape Method"

At first I was a little hesitant to try this, but by the end I had a perfect installation and I highly recommend you do this method for your screen protector.

First, always be sure to line up the screen protector. You want to be sure that the correct side is down (usually indicated with blue lettering) and that the screen protector matches your phone to your standard.

how to apply screen protector without dust

how to apply screen protector without dust

Once you've positioned it correctly, add a piece of tape to the side with the tag facing the phone. Again this is the tag with the blue text and also the tag connected to the side you're going to pull away first. Add three pieces of tape: one on each end and one in the middle.

how to apply scren protector ipad

There's a pretty neat method of folding this tape under the phone. You want to do this to each piece individually and be sure that the tape is already partially stuck to the side of the phone. What you will do is hold the phone horizontally and flat on the surface and then quickly pull towards you. The tape will fold under and stick to the underside of the phone.

how to apply scren protector ipad

Next you'll flip the screen protector and wipe both the phone and the screen protector surfaces once more. Then, you'll begin installation.

how to apply scren protector ipad

When you pull the screen protector away, you don't want to rip it all the way off at once. Let me repeat this: don't rip it all off at once. Only remove it slightly and for the whole length (although you're facing it sideways so one might argue it's the width) of the screen protector. As you remove it, pull equally across and push, either with a card or your fingers, the adhesive side against the screen.

This is where the patience comes in – you don't want to be too anxious to just get it done. Take your time, but once you've started the process also don't stop.

Now you will have bubbles at first, but you can push those out with your fingers or a card – again, depending on your preference. To me, a card seemed to work much better. However, there's a technique to this.

  • Push at an angle to the nearest outside edge
  • Start in the middle – those are the most difficult to remove

Now all you do is grab the second tag (red text) and pull the top layer of the screen protector back. Then look for and remove any last bubbles. There really shouldn't be any except for the occasional one along the edge.

The reasons why I decided this was the best method:

  • Extra security with the tape.
  • The ability to line up the screen protector perfectly and catch any "mistakes" before applying it.

Two Alternative Methods

These two methods do work, but they have their risks which is why I don't recommend them as much. Nonetheless, they're still options.

The End To End Method

I didn't particularly try this method, but it has been proven to work on several occasions. The idea and technique is very similar to the tape method. The only difference is that with this one you start either at the top or bottom of the phone (depending on your preference), peel the bottom layer off slightly – just enough to stick the screen protector to the phone.

Once it's stuck securely, continue to pull the bottom layer down revealing more of the stick side of the screen protector as you simultaneously push with either your finger or a credit card. Just like the tape method, it is important that you do both at the same time. Then the rest is the same – push out the bubbles, peel off the top layer and you're good.

The downside to this one (and the reason the tape method is the best) is you don't have the assurance that the screen protector is secure on the phone. With three pieces of tape, it's not likely to move, but with only a small section of the screen protector stuck to the phone, I could see it slipping if it wasn't pressed firmly down.

The Water Method

This one is a bit different and I hadn't heard of it until I saw this video, but it seems to work alright. You basically wet the microfiber cloth, ring it out and wipe down the phone. Leave any leftover water on the screen (note: make sure your phone is off before you wipe it down). Then you peel off the whole bottom layer of the screen protector and without touching the sticky side, wet it and shake off any excess water (obviously there will be some still on it as you apply it to the phone and the water actually helps prevent bubbles). You carefully start at the top and holding the sides of the screen protector, press down working your way from one end to the other.

Personally, although I've never tried this, I'm not to crazy about peeling off the entire protective layer and risking it to my finger prints, dropping it, or placing it on the phone incorrectly. But according to the YouTube video, this works.

Some Important Things To Remember

  • There are three layers to the screen protector.
  • Wipe down everything on your phone (can't get it too clean for this).
  • Remove any exterior protective phone case
  • Line up the screen protector to the phone before installing


how to apply screen protector

That piece of paper above was what came with my screen protector. Although I know how to apply one, I honestly couldn't figure out what this thing was telling me to do. No wonder so many people screw up – they have terrible instructions like this! But thankfully, there is the Internet that we can all go to for articles, photos and videos to help us figure this sort of thing out.

Again, the tape method is the best, primarily because of the additional security with the tape.

Have you found success with a certain method mentioned here? What about a certain method not mentioned? We'd love to hear your story in the comments below.

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