I’ve got both a case and screen protector on my iPhone 3GS, and I used cases and screen protectors for the original iPhone and iPhone 3G as well. But I threw caution to the wind and tore those off.


I’ve been reading all the reports, like this one from our own Darrell Etherington, about how Apple is removing film-based screen protectors from its stores. Multiple accounts suggest that this is for one or both of two key reasons: First, the mere presence of them in the store suggests somehow that the iPhone needs them when in fact it doesn’t; and second, the liability to Apple of imperfect applications is simply too great to ignore.

I’ve got both a case and screen protector on my iPhone 3GS, and I used cases and screen protectors for the original iPhone and iPhone 3G as well. Upon reading these reports, I did the same thing that any cautious and deliberate person would do. I threw caution to the wind and tore off the screen protector, which was in need of replacement anyway.

Despite my hesitation, I have to say that I prefer my iPhone without a screen protector. Images are more clear, the user interface responds to touch controls much better, and the screen is really easy to keep clean with a quick wipe on my t-shirt or another clean soft cloth (as long as I’m not eating chips while using the iPhone). I also realized that I long ago set the brightness of my iPhone really low to conserve battery power. I used to travel much more than I do now, and often found myself needing to conserve my battery for necessary phone calls and email. Now I’m always closer to a power source for a recharge, and a friend gifted me a Mophie Juice Pack not too long ago for times when I’m off the grid.

I haven’t gone completely native, though. I kept the case. I’ll have to do some digging to remember which one it is, but it’s a very low-profile, hard shell case that simply and easily snaps on without adding any significant weight or bulk. I keep my iPhone in the same pocket as my keys, and I really want to preserve the back for resell value. Without the case, I’d be afraid that it would be scratched too much. The case also has a slightly more matte, tactile feel that still slides in and out of my pocket easily but doesn’t slide across the table or get slippery with sweaty palms (I know, I know).

If you’re using a screen protector, you might want to do what I did and take it off. It’s almost like getting a brand-new iPhone.

Image courtesy of Flickr user williamhook

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  1. segaprophet Monday, April 5, 2010

    umm, no thanks, I like to protect my expensive investments.

  2. Chris Roman Monday, April 5, 2010

    I got a brand new iPhone 3G soon after it came out and had a case and screen protector on my wish list for Christmas which was around the corner. I figured I could go a couple months without a case or screen protector and be okay. I was wrong. Let me first say that I take incredibly good care of my things, especially expensive things. I never keep my iPhone in the same pocket as my keys, coins, or anything else.

    However, maybe a month after getting it I already had THREE scratches on the screen. From what, I have no idea. These were small scratches, but clearly visible when the phone was both on and off. I still don’t know how they got there but I became incredibly frustrated and went out and bought a screen protector ASAP to avoid further damage.

    I will never go without a case or screen protector again. I think the fact that Apple is removing them from their stores simply because they don’t think you need one is ridiculous.

  3. I think you can drop the films on a 3GS since it has that oleophobic coating, but I don’t have that ‘luxury’ on my 3G model. So I’m sticking it out until I upgrade.

  4. I have never had a screen protector, and never plan to use one. It makes the touch screen less responsive and it just does not look as nice. I have not had scratching problems thus far, and I think it’s safe to say that I won’t in the future.

  5. Took my screen protector off after reading the first post on here. Got my first scratch within the week. Not sure where it came from either. No coins or keys in my pocket. Maybe a rivet on my jeans. Either way I was bummed because I love using the phone sans screen protector. Not sure I can leave it off much longer, though.

    1. It may not be a scratch. Get a microfiber cloth and see if it rubs out.

  6. I took mine off about five months ago (screen protector) and I haven’t looked back. Not a single scratch. I was scared at first, but it feels and looks much better. If you haven’t, don’t be scared. Unless you keep it in a purse or man bag, you should be good.

  7. i also took my screen protector off, but i did it out of aesthetics rather than preference. i recently bought a case and this new case caused my screen protector to rise up and bubble. that bothered me to no end. so i took it off. i really like my 3gs without the screen protector and i think i’m going to keep it this way. that is until i get the 4G/iPhone HD or whatever it’s going to be called. i will protect that thing with my life.

  8. yep. iPhone is a sturdy beast. Have had mine without a protector for close to 3 yrs now and I got about 40 odd friends of mine to ditch the protectors on theirs as well. No regrets.

  9. Removing your screen protector, if you use one, is like getting a brand new phone. Until you stop using one, then your phone may get scratched like so many others and the only thing you’ll be able to remove is the $180 screen.

    Obviously where you store your iPhone affects how likely it is to get scratched, but keys and other hard, sharp things WILL scratch the screen. And the oleophobic coating protects against finger grease, not scratches, so I wouldn’t expect the 3GS to fare any better than any other model.

    I let articles such as this one convince me to free up my original iPhone and I enjoyed the protectorless screen for about two weeks before I was forced to enjoy the screen with a large scratch through the center.

  10. How nice for you. I didn’t start out with one, but I could not keep the screen clean. Anything on your fingers gets smeared, and God only knows what the 3 year old is smearing on it. Keeping the ipod in my purse was like putting it through the washing machine. I could not afford, not to protect it. Besides protection, I gained piece of mind and it cut the glare. A very useful item.

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