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

Intro Image   The Best Way To Apply a Screen Protector To Your Phone Or TabletHave 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

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

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.

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

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.

screen protector close up   The Best Way To Apply a Screen Protector To Your Phone Or Tablet

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

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.

taped 1   The Best Way To Apply a Screen Protector To Your Phone Or Tablet

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.

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

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

2012 12 02 07.57.03   The Best Way To Apply a Screen Protector To Your Phone Or Tablet

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.

2012 12 02 07.58.58   The Best Way To Apply a Screen Protector To Your Phone Or Tablet

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

2012 12 02 09.00.28   The Best Way To Apply a Screen Protector To Your Phone Or Tablet

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.

2012 12 02 20.05.57   The Best Way To Apply a Screen Protector To Your Phone Or Tablet

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

Conclusion

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

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.

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

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29 Comments -

grandfred

thank u so mutch , i’ll try it :)

Frank Zedmore

Great tutorial! I do this for all my big screen electronics

Aaron Couch

Nice! Yeah this method is definitely superior to all other methods when applying to larger screens such as tablets.

Doc

“wet the microfiber cloth, ring it out” *wring*

Félix S. De Jesús

So useful recommendation!!

Dorfmeister Vazquez

no more bubbles into our smartphone´s screen!!!. Perfect Highly recommended

Ron Lister

I used a screen protector once, took forever to get it right and get all the bubbles out, but I got it. It was definantely a pain in the butt. If I ever try another one i’ll give your method a try and see if your tricks work, but as fast as the phones change I may just forego the idea all together.

Aaron Couch

Ron,

You should definitely try this method next time! It’s a piece of cake.

Venkateswara Swamy Swarna

Thanks for a good tutorial. I am in a city where there are so many shops who do this day in and day out. So, I just go to one of them and get the job done by a professional for a small amount. That way I am happy and they make a living….

Aaron Couch

Really? That’s interesting. I’ve never heard of shops that would do that. Do they do other things as well? It’s hard for me to believe there is THAT much demand for it.

Perhaps next time you get a screen protector you should try this method though. You might be amazed at how easy it really is and you can save a few bucks in the process.

Thanks for sharing.

Venkateswara Swamy Swarna

I live in the city of Hyderabad (India) where there are hundreds if not thousands of small shops that sell mobiles, accessories including screen guards, chargers etc. – some of them repair mobiles (a few of them can handle tablets too). I got a screen guard fixed for less than 2 bucks (US Dollars) last time. Now I have a tablet PC and got the screen guard gratis – I just need to pay a few cents to get the professional fix it for me cleanly.

So, thanks for the suggestion, but I prefer to help that guy make a decent living and save myself the potential for making mistakes (being a senior citizen with some neurological issues, not completely ruled out). Best regards.

Junil Maharjan

everybody should know this so share more.

Arshad Hasan

nice

Effendi Chung

This is a good tutorial. However, if I might add, for those pesky dust or debris trapped underneath the film, you can remove them by sticking them to a finger covered with a cellotape. I personally used the first method.

claudine ratelle

Ugh I hate when those dust/debris get stuck under! Right now I have one that has debris under it :( But my previous one was a Zagg and it was really easy to install, and there was no bubbles or debris!… Just a little bit expensive…

Douglas Mutay

Thank for that article Aaron. I have recently bought a pack of 4 screen protector for my phone but had to mess up the process twice before I figure out the correct method. Now I still have one left and will surely use the tape method when time for replacement will come. It seems to be very efficient. Good article!!!

susendeep dutta

This article is very good as it’s not so long and is aided with videos too.It’ll help many new ones to learn it.

Ale

Great step by step guide. It´s one of those things everyone assumes how to do right but no one actually knows how to. Thanks!

Lönja Selter

very useful, my cover is due for replacement any time now so will try this trick

Syed Fouzan

This will help me alot :) thanks for sharing

Gaeyle Gerrie-Boss

great ways to approach getting the air out from under the screen protector!

Walter Gilbert

Excellent how to do. I will follow your step when I replace the screen protector.

Thank you

Tony Yarbrough

Great tutorial! My first attempt at applying the thin film used all of my 4-pack. But I didn’t give up. I allowed my son to ruin 2 more to learn… and he is G O O D ! Now, I can dive into it again with extreme confidence.

RonW

When handling the screen protector, be sure to apply spray to your fingertips. Let the fluid flow down the fingers if necessary. In this manner you will not leave any finger prints on the surface being applied to the screen. Keep a clean, lint and dust free cloth handy to collect excess fluid immediately. Also apply fluid to top surface so that wiping card will flow smoothly and without scratching surface. Be sure your work surfaces (i.e., table, desk) are free of any other lint/dust causing substances. No pets allowed during the application process.

Damien Garcia

This is really helpful, thank you. which screen protector is a good choice to go with?

Aaron Couch

Damien,

Thanks! Glad it helped. Well, it’s hard telling which would be the best because a certain brand may not make it for all devices. The one I used in this article just came with my Otter Box case it it worked fine (only had one attempt at putting it on — no pressure, right?).

My advice would be to check out the reviews on the screen protectors and see what others are saying about them. Amazon or Ebay are probably my favorite places to get things such as this, but if you have a different preference, that’s fine. Just make sure you can check out the reviews.

Damien Garcia

Thanks Aaron. Yeah i have an HTC Amaze right now but I am about to switch to an Iphone. I heard Invisishield is the best one out there and i also heard there was better. I bought one from amazon but it was not what i expected it kept falling off lol.

Brenden Barlow

awesome. i dont much care for screen protectors (they generally feel too filmy), but i may try it on my next phone.

Alex Perkins

Thanks, bubbles on a screen drive me nuts.