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How to put on a screen protector without applying bubbles or dust

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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How to put on a screen protector without applying bubbles or dust
Applying a screen protector to your phone or tablet correctly is not for the faint of heart, as the procedure seems to require more patience and steady hands than your average Japanese calligrapher or rice writer. The end result is also often unwieldy, with tilted corners, and bubbles, dust or debris trapped underneath your shiny new screen protector.

To ease the procedure's pains somewhat, alternative methods for putting on your protector exist, that simply involve some masking tape, and a lot less patience than usual, while the end result is much more bubble- and dust-free.

Granted, not everyone cares about screen protection in the days of Gorilla Glass 3, Asahi Dragontrail, or sapphire coatings, but even those are inevitably going to develop scratches - from the miniature to the more significant - which would diminish the resale value of a tablet or a phone. These devices are basically all-screen nowadays, and that's where you look at most of the time spent interacting with your mobile gear, so taking a bit of time to protect your expensive toy's display is utterly warranted. 

The instructions below apply for self-adhesive protectors, where the best brands like Vikuiti by 3M, or Spigen's Steinheil, cost quite a bit more than the pack of five you got on eBay for a dollar each. However, it's the more expensive ones that fit perfectly, and keep themselves smudge- and scratch-free, too, not only the handset's screen below. Thus, if applied right, they can stay on the job for the duration of your ownership, so check out Billy The Cat's excellent updated guide in the slideshow below, if you are interested.

source: BillTheCat (XDA-Devs)

29 Comments
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posted on 10 Feb 2014, 08:32 9

1. HASHTAG (Posts: 179; Member since: 31 Jan 2014)


Always have a hard time with that.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 08:46 2

6. akki20892 (Posts: 3621; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


i don't, because i don't use anymore. it's useless in high end smartphone, because they got Gorilla Glass.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 09:43 3

12. HASHTAG (Posts: 179; Member since: 31 Jan 2014)


I don't use them anymore either since I got the Lumia 1520. I just hate them because I would always leave bubbles throughout parts of the screen.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 10:44 2

14. MrTzr (Posts: 115; Member since: 26 Jun 2013)


I need to use it beacuse I have an Xperia Z. Only removing the cheap-ass sony screen protector won't help, because the screen is barely usable without it as it lacks an oleophobic coating. And thanks PA for this turtorial, as I failed to put one on the last time.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 11:51 1

17. alrightihatepickingusernames (Posts: 428; Member since: 29 Dec 2013)


Considering something as simple as a grain of sand can scratch the glass and weaken it overall I use a screen protector on my phone (not my tablet because it rarely leaves the house). I use a case as well just to be safe but I would leave that before I leave the screen protector.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 15:37

22. vincelongman (Posts: 1597; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


I use a glass screen protector, not for scratch protection, but for shattering proofing it
So if I drop it, my glass screen protector shatters and my screen is fine

posted on 11 Feb 2014, 01:57

27. joe1blue (Posts: 118; Member since: 25 Jul 2013)


I agree with that I've seen way too many cracked screens on High end devices, so I stick with the tempered glass screen protector.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 14:35

21. zhiae (Posts: 179; Member since: 26 Aug 2012)


if u think ur tech consumer u shouldn't put a protector on it will mess with ppi pixles plus very uncomfortable touch and always dirty
believe me use ur smart phone as smart phone and gorilla glass will save ur ass well.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 08:37 4

2. PootisMan (Posts: 204; Member since: 02 Aug 2013)


Its not that difficult. I always go in my bathroom after a hot shower because it brings down all the dust and particles in air and then apply my screen protector. Works every time.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 08:43 1

5. HASHTAG (Posts: 179; Member since: 31 Jan 2014)


Interesting! Would never think of during that.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 08:37 2

3. darkskoliro (Posts: 995; Member since: 07 May 2012)


Desire HD c:

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 08:42 3

4. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Desire HD: Surprise motherfuka.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 11:50

16. darkskoliro (Posts: 995; Member since: 07 May 2012)


I still kinda want a desire hd as my daily driver hahahahha >_< Obviously rooted with AOSP and overclocked :D It would be so much fun.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 08:54 1

7. Deaconclgi (Posts: 322; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


I don't use screen protectors on any of my Nokia phones since the Nokia N8. That Gorilla Glass version 1 still looks pristine after 4 calendar years. The last screen protector I used on a Nokia device was on my Nokia N900. No screen protector on my Nokia Windows Phones.

No screen protector on my Nexus 5 yet I did keep the plastic on my iPhone 5s that Apple put on there. I was lazy....I cut off the bottom part that covers the home button and kept the rest on. It's an ugly hack job but oh well, I don't use the phone as a main phone anyway so it is sufficient.

I did however install a screen protector on my friend's Lumia 925 as Tmobile sold one to her at the time of purchase. I told her she didn't actually NEED it, gave her the tech specs, did a key scratch demo on my 1020 but she still wanted it on her phone. It proved to be a challenge with the curved screen of the 925 and is definitely not the best screen protector application that I have done. She was happy with it though and I guess that is all that matters.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 08:58

8. boblight (Posts: 84; Member since: 28 Jul 2012)


Hehe... The legendary N8. Mine had no screen protector and it survived a 3 story drop and finally landed on metal grills. Screen didn't had a single crack. It finally broke when I threw the phone at a wall in rage. :(

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 09:56 1

13. Deaconclgi (Posts: 322; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


Ha!!! The N8 rage quite on you due to your rage!

My N8 is still around, tucked snugly in a travel bag. It only comes out to be shown to friends who think Nokia just now started making great camera phones with the 1020. My 808 PureView is in the same bag and comes out for the same reason plus the occasional audio recording via Nokia Rich Recording.

I wish I still had my Nokia N82 though.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 09:05

9. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2057; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Thanks alot Daniel, a very helpful article. :)

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 09:06

10. Amir1 (Posts: 269; Member since: 20 Aug 2013)


i absolutely hate screen protectors and i don't need them anyway. i always buy ultra slim premium leather case that protects the back and front. that way the phone is truly protected and it looks good.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 09:33

11. ChafedBanana (Posts: 360; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)


Why don't manufacturers include a pre-installed screen protector that you can actually use? For example: Apple includes one on the iPhone but you have to tear it off because it doesn't have a cut out for the speaker or the home button. Apple is putting one on there anyway, so why not have one on there already that people can actually use?

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 11:26

15. ryan5609 (Posts: 99; Member since: 01 Nov 2011)


Thanks for the tip, never thought of it this way before. I hate screen protectors, but unfortunately still find them necessary. I had a GS4 and managed to scratch the screen. I didn't drop it or scratch it with my keys. You know what did it? Sand. Sand at the beach. I was using my phone on the beach, put the phone in my pocket, took it back out and BAM! Several tiny scratches on the screen. The scratches must have been caused by sand rubbing in between my leg and the screen. So before you head to the beach, get a screen protector. Good luck keeping all of your clothes and phone 100% sand free.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 12:58

18. Michaelsalaets (Posts: 27; Member since: 09 Feb 2014)


i do these at work all the time takes me about 20 seconds for any phone, any screen protector, using a spray duster a 60/40 alcohol and water mix in a little spray bottle, a credit card, and a micro fiber cloth

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 14:04 1

19. kozza3 (Posts: 574; Member since: 17 Oct 2012)


60/40!?!? your CRAZY!!!

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 18:01

24. Michaelsalaets (Posts: 27; Member since: 09 Feb 2014)


makes it super smooth in getting the dust out!

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 14:20

20. cantstopkchen (Posts: 2; Member since: 10 Feb 2014)


I find that the basic cheapy screen protectors at work go on far better than the expensive Zagg ones. I put these on all the time. Now I put them on for everyone, lol.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 16:24

23. remtothemax (Posts: 239; Member since: 02 May 2012)


the zagg ones are significantly easier to put on and last a lot longer. mine is on its fifth year and is only just starting to peel up in one of the corners. on the other hand i do not know anyone who had a cheap protector that lasted longer than a month.
either go naked or go with zagg. there really aren't any other options that don't turn into a maddening disaster. at least in my experience.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 22:21 1

26. Baseballer (Posts: 132; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


See put zaggs are easy to put scratches in. Every time i buy one, the screen protector always has little scratches. Never heals either.

posted on 10 Feb 2014, 18:17

25. Michaelsalaets (Posts: 27; Member since: 09 Feb 2014)


a lot of people including me hate the texture the ZAGG Screen Protectors have. i use the cheapy ones or the thin glass ones

posted on 11 Feb 2014, 07:45

28. _Bone_ (Posts: 2137; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Let Gorilla Glass and protection around the screen do their job and YOU DO YOURS by keeping it away from keys, kittens and the kitchen floor.

Oh but why the effort, you'll ruin your comfort and experience with a blocky case and grease-collecting protector anyway, only realizing the pointlessness when it still shutters upon dropping.

Protectors are pointless cause they are not good enough when needed, and if you are caring enough, you don't need them at all. FREE YOUR DEVICE FROM UNNECESSARY CLOTHING, YOU BOUGHT IT TO USE IT COMFORTABLY, SO USE IT COMFORTABLY DAMNIT!

posted on 12 Feb 2014, 17:59

29. puregear (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Feb 2014)


Our PureTek Roll-On Kits are a great way to get a bubble-free and perfectly aligned screen shield. Find them at pure-gear.com.

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