I Took It Off and I Feel Fine

27 Comments

I’ve been reading all the reports, like this one from our own Darrell Etherington, about how Apple (s aapl) 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

27 Comments

Peter

I used a case on my iPod classic and took it off. Now it’s all scratched up.

I use an incase case and a screen protector. The incase case is necessary to fit into my incase holster. I keep my keys in my left pant pocket and my wallet in my right pant pocket, no room for an iPhone. Having my iPhone in my front shirt pocket weighs my shirt down and looks sloppy.

Screen protector does not hamper the screen at all.

Jerry

I always kept a screen protector film on my original iPhone. When I got the 3GS, I bought a screen protector film as well. The one I bought for the 3GS started to peel at the edges, so I completely removed it and within a few weeks noticed a small scratch on the screen. I immediately went back to using a screen protector, but this time, I bought a higher quality one. Once you get a scratch, you will regret not using a screen protector.

Sir Cake

I’m a belt and suspenders guy. I have a full Invisible shield AND a soft rubber case. I’ve had to replace both over time. I’m not gentle on my devices, but my 2-year-old iPhone looks as good as new.

Gazoobee

@ all the scratched iPhone owners: let’s settle this once and for all …

It’s pretty near impossible to scratch an iPhone screen with keys. It’s simple physics. The screen is made from glass with a higher hardness rating than the keys, which are mostly brass. It’s simply IMPOSSIBLE for a softer thing (the keys) to scratch a harder thing (the glass).

If you have a steel key ring with a handy protuberance, then maybe, but that’s not your keys anyway. Other than STEEL things, SAND is the next most likely culprit. Brass, gold, aluminium, and most of the common metals are simply not capable of scratching that screen. Period.

Gazoobee

@ all the scratched iPhone owners: let’s settle this once and for all …

It’s pretty near impossible to scratch an iPhone screen with keys. It’s simple physics. The screen is made from glass with a higher hardness rating than the keys, which are mostly brass. It’s simply IMPOSSIBLE for a softer thing (the keys) to scratch a harder thing (the glass).

If you have a steel key ring with a handy protuberance, then maybe, but that’s not your keys anyway. Other than STELL things, SAND is the next most likely culprit. Brass, gold, aluminium, and most of the common metals are simply not capable of scratching that screen. Period.

Leo's hairpiece

I don’t think I care what El Jobso thinks is implied by using a case or protector. He can send a memo to his secretary requesting six new ones each week if he wants. I’m not going to buy a new one very often. I’m keeping my screen protector on my 3G. Never a problem with visibility, clarity or sensitivity. I feel there’s no price to pay for the peace of mind when it’s in my pocket with my keys.

Esteban seemed content to let the Apple stores keep protectors on the shelf all this while till now.

I also don’t see liability being an issue with poor protector applications, however I do see them having a customer service or profit problem by honoring replacements for lousy jobs.

As for a case? The iPhone is, once again, designed with style first and pragmatic use second. It’s designed to shoot directly out of my hand and straight down to the concrete it’s so gosh darn slippery! So, my slim profile case stays on too because it’s the only thing I can keep ahold of. ;)

That Guy

Umm.. I have had my 3g since around it launched.. I still use it. I have NEVER had a case or a protective film on my screen. I have yet to get a scratch on my screen. I have a couple very little scratches on the back that you have to look very close at to see. I have dropped it a number of times and my child has gotten a hold of it a number of times.

You really do not need the extra protection… although, in some cases it might be a good idea, like if your job has you doing some sort of construction or manual labor.. I’m sure dropping a heavy object on the phone might hurt it :P

John_B

I bought the 3GS the day it was released.

I use a Griffin Reveal “case”, it’s almost more like a skin but has a slightly raised border that keeps the screen off the surface of a table/desk/etc. when I set it face down. Where little bits of dirt have gotten underneath the case on the back there are a couple of minor little scratches.

The case also came bundled with a screen protector but I’ve never used it.

And the set of anti-glare screen protectors from Power Support I bought at the same time have never even been opened. Still in the package, LOL! I tried the iPhone without for the first couple of days and never felt the need to use them. No scratches on the screen after almost a year.

I do tend to keep metal things like coins and car keys in a different pocket.

Simon White

Like others have posted, I’ve never used a screen protector nor a case on my 3G iPhone. There’s a little bit of scratching on the back of the phone but the screen is as good as the day I got it.

Dan

Same here. I always cringe when I see iPhones that are wrapped in huge bulky cases that make them nearly twice their normal size. An unprotected iPhone is much lighter and nicer to hold.

That Guy

I just posted basically this same response, than I read your comment. I 100% agree. my iPhone 3g has yet to get a scratch on the screen. a couple very minor wear and tear scratches on the back. I absolute hate cases and have never had a protective film on my phone.

Oliver

unless you’re completely careless, screen protectors aren’t really protecting you from anything. i’ve never used one and it’s never been an issue. i even returned my iPhone 3G to the Apple store for a replacement (cracks in the casing) and the guy was stunned at how unscratched the thing was after 11.5mths of being thrown in my pocket.
as for a hard shell case, well, if you’re the kind of person who wants to obscure the phone’s nice design with a bulky casing that stops the back getting scuff marks then that’s your perogative, but me? nope, waste of time.

Alex Layne

I’ve never used screen protectors or cases. My philosophy is that if you’ve paid a bunch of money for the design, why would you obscure it with an awkward case? Sure, you’re protecting it, but what’s the use of protecting it if you’re not going to enjoy it?

Jim

I have a screen protector, it doesn’t prevent me from enjoying the device. Nor does it cause any issues using the touchscreen.

The reason Apple doesn’t want them in their stores is so that when some idiot hires a lawyer because he scratched his iPhone screen and tries to sue Apple, he can’t use the “Look, Apple knew this would happen – that’s why they sold screen protectors in their stores” excuse.

JFLIP57

Purchased my iPhone 3GS on 6/20/2009. Guy in front of me in line advised against screen protector (this wasn’t his first iPhone), so I didn’t get one. I always carry the 3GS in my pocket (often with my car keys) and there is not a scratch on the screen. Free yourself from screen protectors, people.

trexpixx

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.

Neil

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.

vjk2005

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.

reeree

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.

Joe

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.

Sam G.

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.

Joe

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

Jacob

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.

Erik

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.

Chris Roman

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.

segaprophet

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

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