Does Your iPad Need A Screen Protector?

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by Jack Taylor | Last Updated:  February 19, 2020

Though the iPad display is made out of glass, it is a hardened glass that can withstand a lot of abuse before cracking, but what about scratches or micro-scratches? Is there a way to protect the screen on my iPad from getting scratched?

There are things you can do to prevent your screen from becoming scratched, but placing a screen protector on your new iPad is completely unnecessary. There are better ways to protect and care for your display, without sacrificing the beauty of your iPad. 

In this article, we will take a look at the “need” to protect the screen on your iPad, and I’ll share a few measures that you can take right now to ensure that your iPad screen is protected from potential cracks or even scratches.

Does Your iPad Really Need a Screen Protector?

Screen protectors are not as effective on iPads as they are on iPhones.  The reason for this is that we use our iPads differently than our iPhones.  

We put our car keys in our pockets, and we put our iPhones in our pockets, but we don’t stick our iPads in our pockets. Frankly, there are far less things that come in contact with the surface of our iPads than come in contact with our iPhones. For guys, it might be your keys, but for girls, it could be anything in your purse. 

So what really does come in contact with a surface our iPads? There are basically three things that come into contact with your right the surface of your iPad. 

You Can Use Your Finger

Obviously, your finger is the primary means of interacting with your iPad. When using your iPad, you want to make sure that your fingers are clean. It’s probably not a really good idea to use your iPad while eating finger food, like greasy chicken.  If you were to use a screen protector, you would have the same issue.  Fingerprints happen.  Just wipe your screen and keep it clean, but more on that in a minute.

You Can Use the Apple Pencil / Logitech Pencil

The Apple Pencil was designed to be used on the surface of the iPad. The tip of the Apple Pencil is made out of smooth plastic that glides over the surface of your iPad.

The only way that you could do damage to the surface of your iPad when using an Apple Pencil is if you had embedded sand particles within the tip of that Apple Pencil and were to press very hard while drawing on your iPad.

The solution to this? Ensure that you’re the tip of your Apple Pencil is clean before every use. Simply wipe it clean and inspect it for any sand or dirt particles that may have found their way into the tip of the Apple Pencil.  After all, you don’t want to mistakenly scratch the surface of your iPad by pressing sand onto it through the tip of your Apple Pencil.

Of course, one never intends on embedding sand or dirt particles within the tip of their Apple Pencil, but this can occur the Apple Pencil is dropped to the floor hitting to floor tip down.  If that were to occur, you would probably notice that the tip has been damaged as it would be dented. The answer is to simply replace the tip. You can purchase a 4-pack of Apple Pencil tips from the Apple store or online at Apple.com for $19.00

You Can Use a Cleaning Cloth

The third and final item that comes into contact with the surface of your iPad is the cleaning cloth that you use to clean your device. Of the three items to come in contact with your iPad, this is by far, the most dangerous(?) threat to the surface of your iPad. Let me explain.

It is true that the surface of your iPad is made out of Gorilla glass, which is strong and beautiful. When you first get your brand new iPad, you will go to great lengths to take care of it, ensuring that every single fingerprint is removed immediately after use. 

Even Apple recommends that you “use only a soft, lint-free cloth. Avoid abrasive cloths, towels, paper towels, and similar items that might cause damage.” So, tissue paper, napkins and paper-towels are out.  The only cleaning cloth you should ever use on your iPad is a micro-fiber cleaning cloth or a lint-free cleaning cloth.

What you use to wipe your iPad clean can make the difference between a clean fingerprint-free iPad and an iPad that has micro-scratches all over the surface of the glass.  Knowing what type of cloth to use and what type of cloth not to use to clean your iPad will determine the difference.

If you are in the habit of cleaning your iPad after every use, and you keep it housed in a clean environment such as a sleeve, you can get away with only using a microfiber cloth after each and every use.

However, if your iPad is dirty and has grit or grime anywhere on it, you will want to use a micro-fiber cloth first, and then a lint-free cloth to clean it.  The difference between the two is the texture of the cloth being used. 

Note, however, that before using a micro-fiber cloth, you MUST be certain to inspect it for any small pieces of stone, sand pebbles, or other foreign objets.  If you don’t remove any foreign objects, those very objects will be pressed into your iPad, and can potentially cause serious scratches that will remain on your screen forever.

Use a Protective Case and a Protective Sleeve

There are two things you can purchase today to ensure that your iPad is protected during everyday use. They are the protective case and the protective sleeve for your iPad.

The Protective Case

For example, where do you use your iPad?  Do you only use it at home, or do you take it to work?  Is work in an office setting, or on a construction site?  Answering questions like these will help you determine which case is right for your needs.  

While on the topic, note that there is no BEST case for every user.  That’s just ridiculous.  Do we all work in an office, or make make presentations in corporate board meetings?  Do we all work outside on a farm or on a construction site?  One case does not fit all needs.  You need to find a case that meets your needs.

After determining how you will use your iPad, you can then select a case that meets your needs.  Personally, I primarily use my iPad at home to watch TV or movies.  I also take it to church as it houses my Bible.  As such, I don’t need a case that will withstand construction sites or the elements.  I simply use the MoKo Magnetic Smart Folio Case that I bought from Amazon.com for only $2.99 (and yes, you read that right.  In fact, I just now bought it again, not because the one I have has failed, but because the price is just too good not to buy another one).

One thing I would recommend, however, is that when choosing a case, be sure that you get a case that will protect both the front and the back of your iPad, to protect it from scratches if nothing else.

The Protective Sleeve

A protective case for your iPad is a great idea, but housing that case in a protective sleeve offers even more protection. To be clear, I’m talking about putting a case on your iPad, and then placing that case in a protective zipper sleeve.

This ensures that your iPad will be protected from liquid damage like rain, or perhaps an accidental spill.  It’s not a guarantee, but placing your iPad that has a case on it, within a zippered sleeve offers even more protection.

As you can see, my zippered sleeve may not look the greatest, as it has protected my iPad, which is the point. I’d rather that my zippered sleeve suffer wear-and-tear, than my iPad.

Unzipping the sleeve to access your iPad is not a big deal.  When traveling anywhere outside of my house, I have my iPad in it’s case, and I put that in the zippered sleeve, and put that zippered sleeve in my backpack.  I haven’t had any issues yet.

AppleCare+ is by far, the best Screen Protector

This is a bold statement, I know.  But it’s true.  Let me explain.  When you purchase an iPad, you have 60 days from the date of purchase to attach AppleCare+ to your iPad.  I’ve written extensively on what AppleCare+ offers in an article entitled, Is AppleCare+ Worth It?, but let me briefly share the incredible advantage of placing AppleCare+ on your iPad.

To begin, the one year warranty covers everything that can go wrong within your iPad. For example, components that go bad, (like the battery, loss of cellular or WiFi connectivity, logic board, or any component within the iPad that go bad), are covered by the 1 year limited warranty. Just keep in mind that the 1 year warranty does not cover accidental damage, (anything that you do to your iPad). Again, the one-year warranty does not cover accidental damage.

AppleCare+ Does Cover Accidental Damage

Unlike the 1 year warranty, AppleCare+ does cover accidental damage. With AppleCare+, if you . . .

AppleCare+ does NOT Cover Intentional Damage.

Let’s say that you intentionally took a hammer to your iPad or threw it on the floor in front of an Apple employee, AppleCare+ would not cover the damage you inflicted. However, if you accidentally dropped it on the floor and your screen shattered into a thousand pieces, AppleCare+ would cover that.

AppleCare+ is VERY Inexpensive

I own the 11” iPad Pro. I pay $5.99 a month for AppleCare+ on my iPad Pro, and as long as I pay that $5.99 each month, I can maintain AppleCare+ coverage. If I drop it and crack the screen, I only have to pay a deductible of $49 (plus tax), and Apple will replace it for me with a remanufactured unit. So, what is a remanufactured unit?

A remanufactured unit is a unit that has never been owned or used by anyone else.

A remanufactured unit has brand new Apple components that have never been used in any other unit.

A remanufactured unit is certified as new by Apple technicians, and is in flawless condition.

If you ever receive a remanufactured unit, I understand that the replacement unit has a 90 day warranty, (or the balance of the remaining coverage of AppleCare+, whichever is greater)

AppleCare+ allows for up to 2 incidents while covered by AppleCare+. So if you happen to crack your screen twice within two years, you can get two separate replacements. For $5.99 a month with a $49 deductible, that’s a no-brainer.

Closing Thought

There are those who want to meticulously care for their iPad and will choose to put a screen protector on it, regardless. If you are that type of person, you will definitely want to have A professional apply it to your device. Otherwise, you will inevitably find air bubbles, pieces of hair or dust under the screen protector, which will undoubtedly frustrate you to no end.

If you take care of your iPad as I have detailed in this article, and ensure that your device is covered by AppleCare+, you can actually save money and be thoroughly protected should you accidentally crack the surface of your iPad.


Jack has been helping people with computers needs for several years, and he loves to help people succeed. He brings a wealth of wisdom and insight from an entrepreneur's perspective and enjoys freelance writing. In fact, when he's not writing an article or working on his YouTube channel, you might find him binge-watching Suits or formatting his computer . . . again, just for fun. To learn more about Jack, click here.
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