The iPad screen issue nobody talks about

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
The iPad screen issue nobody talks about
So you've finally decided to buy an iPad and enjoy that top-of-the-line tablet experience. Maybe you've picked up an iPad Pro with a keyboard and an Apple Pencil to do my favorite experiment for yourself – seeing just how long you can last with an iPad as a PC replacement before you give up. Or maybe you just want to watch some Netflix, YouTube and do some occasional web browsing.

But a day or two after using it, a ray of sunshine hits the iPad's display and you realize a horrifying fact about it – under light it looks disgusting, smudged up – it's somehow collected all the fingerprints in the world… Ew!

Nobody told you that this was a thing that would happen, even if you've read all the reviews and prepared carefully for your iPad purchase, the tragic state of your iPad's display wasn't something you expected at all. You knew fingerprints were a thing, but not like this!

Well whether or not you can relate to this story, I sure can, because I've lived it. And it's not just me, but all of my iPad-loving friends and colleagues. We've come to realize that…

The iPad's display has weak oleophobic coating that needs constant wiping

What's oleophobic coating? We have a full explanation here, but in short – it's a thin material most manufacturers glaze their more premium phones and tablets' displays with, that aims to reduce fingerprints and smudges. But back to the topic at hand...

For some reason the majority of Apple users don't seem to be bothered by the fact that Apple claims the iPad Pro has "fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating", yet its display collects seemingly way more fingerprints and smudges than the iPhone, which too has "fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating" listed under its display specs.

So why does this term mean two different things to Apple? On iPhone – yes, while the display still gets fingerprints, they're not that bad, but on iPad – things are much worse.

Presumably the iPad has terrible fingerprint resistance because of its Apple Pencil support

There's been speculation between us iPad users in regards to why iPad displays get so greasy, and the most commonly-accepted theory is that Apple has used weaker oleophobic coating on the iPad because of the Apple Pencil.

Some have claimed that stronger, traditional oleophobic coating would have indeed interfered with the Apple Pencil's accuracy, so compromises had to be made and Apple used a weaker coating, while still basically claiming the same "fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating" as on the iPhone. Even if, as we mentioned, the iPhone actually has more effective fingerprint resistance, so things do feel a bit deceptive there.

How to properly clean your iPad's display

Are you one of the quiet, but certainly frustrated people who have noticed, and are bothered by how quickly their iPad turns into a GreasePad?

While there's really nothing permanent you can do about it, except maybe experiment with different iPad screen protectors, you can periodically clean your display the proper way.

Apple's advice is essentially to "simply wipe iPad's screen with a soft, lint-free cloth to remove oil left by your hands", and what's worked best for me is a simple microfibre cloth. Wipe in circular motions and eventually the greasy fingerprints will disappear, giving your iPad's display the satisfyingly clear, clean look it had when it was brand new.

Of course, this perfection will last until the next time you start using it, but as we concluded, that's the best we, as users, can do...

Apple needs to improve its iPad oleophobic coating

Even if this issue is overlooked and not talked about often, there are indeed people online who have had it with disgusting iPad screens. Those people need to be heard by Apple, and their issue addressed.

If the Apple Pencil support really is the reason behind the iPad's weaker fingerprint resistance, and if Apple can't find a better solution, it can at least release an iPad Air or iPad Pro without Apple Pencil support, because let's face it – many of us don't really need it anyways.

What we need is a clean-looking tablet, not something that looks like part of a DNA collection kit.

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