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How to Protect Your Smartphone Screen

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The touchscreen on your smartphone is one of the most important features. From making calls and zooming in for a selfie to texting and playing your favourite app, there’s nothing that doesn’t relying on the integrity of your smartphone screen. To protect this critical feature on your phone, consider using a screen guard to protect it from cracking if you accidentally drop it.

The science behind screen cracks

New types of glass – such as Corning’s Gorilla Glass – are designed to prevent screens on mobile devices from shattering on impact. Gorilla Glass, which has been used in phones such as Samsung’s Galaxy range, is designed to withstand as much as 100,000 pounds of pressure per square inch.

Tests have demonstrated that Gorilla Glass can withstand impact from a 535 gram ball dropped at a height of 1.8 metres. However, screens are not entirely damage proof; drop any device from a position high enough off the ground and you will more likely than not smash the screen.

If the device falls face down, the pressure might be distributed across the surface of the screen, which could mean that you avoid a crack. However, if the phone falls on its side, the impact tends to be concentrated, which means the impact could lead to a fracture in the screen. Over time, an invisible crack can expand until your device has an obvious and serious defect.

Options for protection

There are two main options when it comes to protecting your smartphone screen: the cover or the case, and the screenguard. Covers and cases protect the entire body of the phone while screen guards are obviously designed to prevent scratching and other minor damage to the screen only.

Covers and cases are typically made from plastics, rubbers, or other materials such as leather. These are highly effective in protecting your phone from scratches and damage from dropping. Some cases can be bulky and present significant interference with daily usage; others are lightweight and designed to blend into your phone.

If you’re a heavy-duty user and tend to drop your phone more often than expected, you should choose a hard case. If you’re a lightweight user, you could consider a silicone skin or similar cases that match your minor-protection requirements.

Choosing a screen guard

Screen guards come in different categories, including the following:

  • shutterstock_182159861Pre-cut vs cut-to-fit – Pre-cut models are designed to fit specific phone models, while cut-to-fit film is sold to be cut by the user to fit their specific phone model.
  • Invisible film – Invisible film is a basic screen protector that will provide a thin barrier against small scratches. At around 3mm in thickness, this will feel like a second skin on your phone.
  • Mirror film – Mirror protectors are invisible on the screen is on, but turns the screen into a mirror when the screen is in sleep mode or when the phone is off.
  • Anti-glare film – Anti-glare film eliminates gloss and is useful if you often use your phone outdoors.
  • Privacy film – Privacy film is the thickest type of protection film and makes it difficult for people looking from the side to see what you’re doing on your phone.

Installing or applying a guard

Installing a screen guard can be a frustrating process if you don’t know what you’re doing. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and make sure that your phone’s completely clean before you get started. Wash your hands, and wear some latex glove to protect your phone against fingerprints and dust on your fingers.

(i) Clean the phone

Use a suitable cleaning solution and wipe it down with a non-scratch cloth, such as a microfiber cloth. Use scotch tape or a lint roller to remove any fine dust on the screen

(ii) Apply the screen guard

Start by aligning the film to the top or bottom of the screen. When you’re certain that the corners are level, press gently down. Don’t be too concerned if you’re a little bit off; the film is designed to be able to be reapplied a few times before you get it right.

If there are any bubbles or uneven spots, press gently down with a credit card. If the bubble is large, gently lift off the film and smooth it back down. If you do need to lift the film from the screen, use a piece of tape to avoid touching the contact side of the film with your fingers, if you’re not wearing gloves.

This will ensure that you won’t have to live with seeing dust, particles or even your own fingerprints under the film every time you use your phone.

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