Blog Post

Practicing Safe iPod

I got me one of them shiny new black iPods a couple weeks back. It’s real purty. While the black is very nice looking, it’s also going to scratch if you breath on it with anything less than freshly brushed teeth. I’m not much for the cases – I don’t like hiding my iPod, but I DO want to protect it. So I set out to find some skins to properly protect my new toy.

DecalGirl and The Invisible Shield hooked me up with a couple to try out. I went through the installations of both, and tried each out for a few days to see how it protected my iPod from daily use. It’s been widely established that these new iPods scratch far too easily, so while I take good care of my things, having these protective skins was a great help.

I got the IPV9000 skin from DecalGirl. It’s pretty cool – looks like H.A.L. from 2001:A Space Odyssey. There’s a front and a back, but the sides are left bare. Not a huge problem unless you’re anal retentive about that kind of thing. The disappointing part that I didn’t realize until I got the Decal in the mail, was that there’s no screen protection. That’s the most important part to me – especially now that I’ll be watching video on it. Otherwise, the Decal looks sweet – I really like the H.A.L. look. I would have left the button labels off though, to preserve the coolness.

Installation was pretty easy. The non-gummy adhesive is a great feature when adjusting for that perfect placement. But don’t stick the thing down all the way, as it doesn’t remove from the iPod so gracefully. I found that the best way to place it was to line up the BOTTOM edge, and lay it down slowly. That way you eliminate bubbles, and get the edges lined up just about right the first time.

Protection wise, the DecalGirl skin did a pretty good job. Actually, in the areas it covers, it does a great job – but I only give it a ‘pretty good’ because of the lack of screen protection. It’s possible to put a stand-alone screen protector under the Decal, or possibly wrap a clear skin over the Decal if that’s what you want, but by itself, it was left slightly wanting.

The Invisible Shield is apparently a solution by the US Army for protecting Helicopter Blades from the elements. It’s tough stuff. Watch the video to see them trying to puncture the skin with a pen – they’re not successful. Let me tell you now – BELIEVE THE HYPE. The Invisible Shield is just that, invisible. If you apply it well, you’ll barely know it’s there, except for that your iPod is basically invincible to scratches.

You should know first off, that The Invisible Shield installation is not simple if you’re a perfectionist. It takes a little while to get it on right, and looking good. So be prepared to spend up to 30 minutes. There are instructions on their website for installing it, and they link to a tutorial that includes pictures to appease those desiring visuals. TIP: Apply the back first, to get an idea for how it goes on, that way if you smudge it up some, you can try to do it better on the front.
You’ll be lightly applying soapy water to the film, and then putting that wet film on your iPod…But don’t worry, you’ll squeegee the moisture out and it doesn’t harm your iPod at all. (Though you may want to tape over your ports temporarily.) I would suggest being somewhat liberal with the amount of water you use, as it gets difficult to adjust the Shield as it dries. You can still remove it after it dries, but you may notice smallish stretch marks in the skin when all is said and done.
The one thing I was displeased about is the way the click wheel and center button are scored-out of the front skin. It goes on as one piece, but if you need to re-adjust in that area, it’ll become 3 pieces really fast.
Once finished, it’ll take a good couple of days before the entire thing cures completely. Each day following installation, my Invisible Shield looked better and better, despite the small spots and ‘smudges’ (see pictures) I thought I’d just have to come to terms with – they all went away!

Protection is what the Invisible Shield is all about. It covers the sides, top, bottom, front, and back. There’s just a couple minimal spaces around the ports that are left bare, but you’d need a razor blade to mar them at this point. I even got up the guts to slash at my newly protected iPod (granted, only the back, I’m not crazy enough to go at the screen!) with my keys. There’s NOTHING on the skin itself! It doesn’t scratch, the iPod doesn’t scratch beneath it. It’s perfect. I really could go after my screen if I wanted to, but that’s just not going to happen.

While I liked the DecalGirl skin (the black decal on the back looked pretty awesome, and I would have left it on if not for the IPV9000 graphic), I couldn’t get past the lack of screen protection and the labels on the buttons. (There’s only 5 possible buttons, I KNOW where they are…) Since I got my skins to review, DecalGirl has come out with a new product – the Crystal Shield – that offers FULL front and back protection, and is [obviously] clear. They’re selling for $3.99
The Invisible Shield is all it claims to be. You can’t tell it’s there, and it will absolutely protect your iPod from anything that could possibly happen to it (ok, not ANYTHING, but you know what I mean). You can check out all my pictures of the 2 skins below.

DecalGirl skins run about $6.99 while The Invisible Shield runs $24.95.

If you’ve tried other protective skin options – especially the new DecalGirl Crystal Shield – let us know your experiences.

(Both sets of pictures are immediately following application. In the case of The Invisible Shield, all the goobery lookiung spots have since vanished.)
DecalGirl Pictures:
1 2 3 4 5

The Invisible Shield:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7


2 months later, here’s how my ipod with Invisible Shield is looking:

53 Responses to “Practicing Safe iPod”

  1. I found another Invisible Shield type product. It’s called Protech, and you can find them on eBay. I had the thing on in only a few minutes, and it’s working great. They claim it’s the same material as the invisible shield. I’ve had it on for about a week, and it looks great, and there’s no scratches at all.

  2. Here is a 7.00 way to safly protect your IPOD nano SCREEN and UNIT:

    Step 1: Perchase a Decalgirl Skin at for your ipod nano. 5.99 tac = 6.20

    step 2: Remember the earphone cotten things that came with your nano? Open them and use the see-through plastic wrapping for the screen protector.

    When your decal girl skin on, place the plastic from the earphone muffs on the screen, then TAPE them with see through masking tape to the nano. Its residue free and it works. If youd like a picture just e-mail me at

  3. Well, i went to my P.O. box today and there i found my decalgirl skin for my ipod nano. i love it, but i just cant stand the Center butten sticker for it, its too big. thats my only complaint. i even like the back

  4. Wow, I put my Invisible Shield on yesterday and was really discouraged cause when I was done it looked like hell. I woke up this morning and I’d say 90 percent of the blurry stuff was gone. I have a few bubbles on the back that I didn’t catch because they were in the middle of the blurry stuff but I can live with that. If it continues to improve I’ll be more than pleased.

  5. Seijornec

    I have to followup and say I’ve been very impressed with the Invisible Shield and the company Protective Solutions. My nano conked out on me so Apple replaced it. I pulled off the IS. I then emailed PS and asked for a replacement and they responded within the day and said that a replacement would be on the way. They just asked that I return the used Shield when I received my new one. Anyway I got it today and applied to it my new nano. I put on in a few minutes. Took much less time the second time around. The first one held up extremely well and my nano looked as new as the day I bought it. I know there are cheaper “clear” solutions out there but knowing PS makes good on their lifetime warranty says a lot I think.

    -a happy customer

  6. I got the “cool blue flames” or whatever its called, i dont want a invisable thing because of bubbles and smears, but it should work,

    thanks for all your help, next time i have question, ill be sure to come here :)

    im off to bed as well

  7. I’d say for your needs, the Decal Girl skin should do you just fine. For everyday use – from which those hairline scratches seem to appear – you’ll be fine.

    If you think you’ll like to see the pretty white of your ipod, maybe consider the Decal Girl Crystal Skin (or whatever it’s called). I didn’t get to test one of those out, so I cannot attest to it competing with the near-invincibility of the Invisible shield, but it should at least do as well as their other skins which will do the job you’re looking for.

    I’m headed to bed now, so the responses will slow down at this point…

  8. YET again a fast and speedy reply, :)

    Im not gonna be throwin my ipod around, nor will it ever be left on the ground or anything, i just spent 250 dollars on it, and i sure wouldnt like to replace it. i just want something to porevent those dang hairline scratches (those really thin ones that you can see when shining a bright light on your ipod). I hate those and will do almost anything to prevent them (in my 20 dollar budget)

    so is decal girl the best reccumended for my problem? or is another product for the same or close to price better than decalgirl?

  9. Nope, we’re not dead here. ;)

    While I wasn’t comfortable trying to scratch my ipod through the decal girl skin, I don’t think I’d rely on the Decal Girl skin to protect against major scratches.

    the ipod’s surface is susceptible enough on it’s own, that I think any covering will protect it from daily use and handling. But the Invisible Shield will protect it from just about anything you can throw at it.

  10. dang, you replied very quickly!! but thanks anyway :) its nice to know this blog isnt dead like many others are, and people actually respond to out questions instead of saying good/bad things about the ipod.

    oh, and to get to-dos on you go to microsoft outlook (for windows) and sync it to the ipod i went to ipod support page :)

    ok, a couple more questions on decal girl skins.

    for the skin, does it actually protect the ipod from scratching? or do scratches go right through the skin and onto the ipod?

  11. NARU –
    The soundcheck – I believe – sets all tracks’ volume to the same level, in case they were ripped/recorded to your computer at differeing volumes. This Sound Check ‘fixes’ that.

    not sure about the to-dos though. I’d investigate ical/isync when you have your ipod attached, to see if anything stands out.

  12. I have a white ipod nano, and i love it, so far, i hope it doesnt break, im getting a decalgirl scin in the mail ANY day now, i ordered it last week, so it should come in pretty soon.

    i have a question about my nano though, in the “settings” menu on my ipod nano, it has an option saying “sound check:, what the hell is that? and what are compilantations?

    also, im having trouble with the calender, how do i set up TO-DO lists? or any of that sort of stuff?

  13. Ian –
    Yeah, I’ll get some new pics up for you.

    My recommendation would be NOT to remove and reapply though. The smudges I had were mostly from trying to reapply. As the invisible shield would stretch, it put marks into the shield itself. So i’d stick with your original.

    But check my pics to decide for yourself.

  14. Nick:

    Can you post pictures of your iPod now? I applied my Invisible Shield two days ago and I still have some “smudges” and small bubbles similar to what appear on the lower right part of your iPod as shown in your pictures. Unfortunately, I’m very impatient and don’t know whether I should try and remove the “offending” portion and reapply it.


  15. MARK – sorry I neglected to reply sooner. Yes, in theory that should work fine to put on the DecalGirl skin, and cover with an Invisible Shield. Though the Invisible Shield is EXTREMELY precise in its sizing, so even the slight thickness of the DecalGirl skin would probably offset it slightly enough to be noticeable.

    NARU – I didn’t think it looked odd at all with the sliver sides showing – though I had a black decal on the top AND back. I actually liked the black decal on the back, and considered leaving it, if not for the somewhat cheesy “IPV9000” part.

    My Invisible Shield is going strong. I ‘toss’ my iPod around with nary a care these days, and there’s not a blemish to show for it. It’s completely unlike me to handle it that way, but the Invisible Shield really lets you concentrate your anal retentive efforts elsewhere.

    I’m kind of curious how I’d actually remove the thing, were I ever to want to re-apply a new one, or take it off for some reason. It is ON there. But not a real concern. I don’t see any need to un-protect my iPod.

  16. I just ordered a DECALGIRL skin for my white nano, and a screen protecter as well, all that totaled up to 11.23 WITH standard US shipping :) i think it was a good buy. now here is my question: for the decal girl skin thing, how it DOESNT cover the sides of my ipod, does it make it look weird? i was thinking of possibly just covering the front to prevent scratches and keep the back bare(i like the shiny back) but i justed wanted someone elses imput.

  17. Like Mark Lowerson asked up there, is it even possible to use both products simultaneously, invisibleShield on iPod, then DecalGirl skin on Top for style?
    I might not always want to have a skin on my iPod covering my hilarious engraving. So i would want the option to remove the DecalGirl skin & let it shine through a transparent film.
    thank you

  18. Thanks for the reply Nick, so I guess the only thing I can hope to do is order it online….but how long do you think it would take to ship?…Remember I live in thE Bahamas not the U.S. but i’m prepared for the $14.00 airmail cost? I’m just really anxious to see what the Nano can do.

    Thanks again…

  19. I don’t know of any retail stores that carry the Invisible Shield. I’d bet there are a few kiosk type places that may have them, but I’ve not seen evidence of this yet.

    thanks for reading – hope the case/skin treat you well!

  20. Thanks alot. I loved ur review, but I have a slight problem and need some advice. I live in The Bahamas and I’m waiting on the Tuffwrap Accent case for my Nano (which I decided not to open until the case get’s here) I ordered yesterday to arrive I was wondering if there was a retail store in the U.S. that would carry The Invisible Shield.

    I think I’m gonnna use both products..The Invisible Shield to prevent scratches and the Tuffwrap Accent to protect my Nano from short falls.

    Thanks again for the review!

  21. Thanks for the review, this helped me a lot. I was first shown the InvisibleShield and while looking for a cheaper alternative I saw the Crystal Shield. Your blog covered both. After reading this, it tells me that 25 bucks to cover the ipod without a thick rubbery case and be as protective as the demo movies, it’s worth it. I had bought one of the rubbery cases for 20 or 24 dollars and took it back the next day. You didn’t mention how safe you felt your ipod was with the Crystal Shield. Besides looking pretty, do you think the shield would have protected it from keys in the pocket or sliding on the desk type scratches for a long time?

  22. Mark Lowerson

    Ever thought of using both?
    Ideally you’d want it all in one skin but could you customize it with the DecalGirl then protect it with the invisible shield?
    Does this work okay?

  23. John – I wasn’t able to get a MartinFields at the time. I was interested in them though – especially for the supposed polarizing effect on the screen.

    I’ll get some pics posted soon, of the ipod in its current state. check back.

  24. Seijornec

    “The one thing I was displeased about is the way the click wheel and center button are scored-out of the front skin.”

    That’s because Invisible Sheild offers 2 types of ipod skins. One with the click wheel cut-out the other not (front sheet is whole). Sounds like you applied the version that was meant to leave the click wheel uncovered.

    I have the cutout version on my nano and love it. The nano is protected but you can still see the cool matte finish of the wheel.

  25. Fats Vernon

    I was also turned onto the Invisible Sheild. I used it for my new white Nano… is everything you said it is. It’s so gratifying to be able to use my $250 investment as I see fit without any fear of scratching or smudging.

    I think this should be shipped with evey iPod. I got the shield with the click-wheel cutout. I wanted to retain the feel of the wheel.

    Anyway, glad to see someone else is in on this awsome product.