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Tech 101: How to install or replace a screen protector on your phone

Antivirus software for computers has been around for decades, and you know it’s your first line of defense against cyberattacks. But do you need the same protection for your phone? Tap or click here to find out.

Let’s turn to physical protection. Newer phones are a significant investment, and a cracked screen is not a cheap fix. Screen protectors act as a barrier between your phone and the ground or a dropped object, sacrificing themselves to protect your precious display.

The best screen protectors are durable, easy to install and resistant to dirt and fingerprints. Here’s everything you need to know to protect your phone.

1. Protection properties

Tempered glass screen protectors have many advantages over plastic ones. They better simulate your phone’s actual screen and shouldn’t affect touch sensitivity. They’re typically more durable than those made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).

When choosing a screen protector, many advertise a 9H hardness. This refers to the screen being resistant to scratching by a 9H pencil, which is the hardest of all pencils. It’s a good standard for toughness.

Screen protectors usually come in thicknesses ranging from .2 mm to .5 mm. The thicker it is, the less responsive to your touch. Plus, you’ll want a screen protector with an oleophobic coating to resist fingerprints. It’s easy to clean with a microfiber cloth as well.

Finally, you’ll want to ensure your screen protector is compatible with your case if you use one.

2. Location, location, location

Once you’ve chosen a screen protector, you need a clean workspace to install it. Your bathroom may be best for this since there’s likely less dust, along with better lighting. Any room devoid of carpeting and lint-bearing furniture will do nicely.

Wipe down the surface and clear a space. Get yourself a pair of powder-free gloves while you’re at it. Fingerprints can ruin the job before you even begin.

What you do on your phone is nobody’s business. Unfortunately, not everyone feels that way. Want to foil those people looking over your shoulder? Tap or click here for three anti-snoop screen protectors to keep your privacy.

3. Removing your old screen protector

First things first, power down your phone so you don’t accidentally call someone or activate the buttons.

If the screen protector is cracked, be careful! The glass could cut you if it broke through the plastic layer surrounding it. This is where a credit card can come in handy, and your gloves will offer some protection.

Once you get it going, it’ll be easy to peel off the entire screen protector in one piece.

If you have a new phone, then great! This makes everything easier. Your phone comes with a protective film on the display. Don’t remove it until you’re ready to install your new screen protector! You can skip to the last step in this case.

4. Cleanup

This is a crucial step. Any dust, fingerprints or dirt on your display will be trapped under your screen protector forever (or at least until you replace it). Before anything else, check your screen for hard dirt, sand, or glue residue.

You want to remove this before wiping anything down, or you’ll scratch the glass. Use the stickers provided in your kit or a piece of Scotch tape to lift off any particles. Just apply the tape or sticker and peel it off.

Many screen protectors come with cleaning kits. Use a mild solvent like eyeglass cleaner or rubbing alcohol. Don’t pour the stuff on the screen; apply some to a soft, lint-free cloth and rub down your entire display. Make sure to get the edges where dirt finds a way to stick.

Now you can use stickers or tape to remove any leftover residue. Hold your phone up to the light to see if you got everything.

These wipes are great for cleaning your phone screen, as well as your tablet, monitor, camera lenses, glasses and more. They are made with fine fibers that won’t scratch your lenses.

5. Application

Now you’re ready to apply your new screen protector. The most basic kits come with a screen protector and some cleaning tools.

Before peeling away the protective film, place the screen protector on your phone to confirm its alignment. When ready, peel the film off just one end of the screen protector and put it on your phone. Peel away the rest of the film as you apply the screen protector to your phone.

If you made a mistake, you might be able to peel off the screen protector and reapply it if you’re quick enough. But this may lead to bubbles you can’t remove later on.

If you get it right the first or second time, then great. Otherwise, it may be a good idea to try again with a fresh screen protector. Many come in two-packs.

Once the protector is applied, wipe the air bubbles toward the edges with a smooth implement like a credit card or the little squeegee that comes with your kit. Don’t push down too hard, or you can crack your screen!

If you’re planning to get a new phone, buy the screen protector beforehand. When your new phone arrives, peel off the protective film and immediately apply your new screen protector. No cleanup is necessary!

RELATED: Phone cases for everyone, from the clumsy person to the minimalist

This screen protector makes everything easier

Following steps 1-4 above is easy, but the hard part is the application process. The good news is there’s a product that makes it so easy anyone can get it right on their first try.

The Spigen GlasTR EZ FIT tempered glass screen protector has all the features you want: tempered glass construction, 9H hardness and dust-proof coating. Best of all, it comes with an alignment tray that takes all the guesswork out of applying the screen protector.

These Spigen screen protectors are super easy to install:

  • Remove the protective film from one side of the tray.
  • Place the tray over your phone. It should fit like a glove.
  • Press down on the sticker in the middle of the tray to apply the adhesive.
  • Peel off the sticker and remove the tray.
  • Remove the final layer of protective film and you’re done!
  • You likely won’t have any bubbles, but you can use the included squeegee to eliminate any you might find.

Spigen GlasTR EZ FIT kits are available for Apple, Samsung and Google phones. You’ll also find them under the name GlasTR AlignMaster. We’ll include one for each brand below but search for your phone model if you don’t see it here.

Keep reading

Ten best ways to block blue light to protect your eyes

Your earbuds are gross – Here’s how to clean them the right way

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