Do You Need a Screen Protector for an iPhone?

By Edward Mercer

IPhones are designed to resist normal wear and tear.
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Apple's iPhones are expensive items containing valuable personal information, prompting a natural instinct to protect the device with all kinds of cases and screen protectors. While prevention is generally a healthy attitude with delicate electronics, the reality is that the iPhone 5 already incorporates enough protective features into its design to make items like screen protectors unnecessary. Strictly speaking, you don't need a screen protector for your iPhone, but you might want one if it provides extra functionality.

Scratch-Resistant Features

The iPhone 5's screen is made from Corring's ultra-strong Gorrila Glass 2, which is scratch-resistant and 20 percent stronger than the glass used in the previous model. The unibody case design also leaves less of the glass screen exposed to potential scratch risks. Very sharp objects applied with a lot of pressure may still be able to scratch your iPhone's touchscreen, but the devices are safe from normal wear and tear. A review by TechCrunch, in fact, found that the aluminum case was far more prone to scratches than the glass screen.

Impact Protection

While the difference may be minimal, any bit of shock-absorbing material can reduce damage to an iPhone if dropped or impacted by another object. The potential effect of a screen protector, however, is far outweighed by integrated security features, like strong optical glass and an approximately 20 percent reduction in total weight in the iPhone 5 over previous versions – reducing the force of collisions in the case of drops. Every little bit can help, but a screen protector is unlikely to make the difference between a shattered and whole screen if you drop your phone.

Inconveniences and Benefits

A wide variety of screen protector models exist for the iPhone, from full cases with integrated screen protection to adhesive films for the screen. Any barrier between your fingertips and the screen can make the touchscreen slightly less responsive, especially in the case of poorly applied films that bubble. On the other hand, some of these screen protectors also provide added functionality like glare reduction, stands and clips integrated into the case, and greater privacy.


Whether or not you choose to use a screen protector with your iPhone depends more on personal preference than necessity. Added features included in a screen protector can make the inconveniences worthwhile, but you shouldn't need a protector in order to keep your screen scratch-free and the touch functionality working. All the same, some basic precautions are advisable: keep your iPhone in a dedicated pocket without sharp objects, don't leave it on the corners of desks when it's set to vibrate, and periodically clean hand oils and dust off your screen.