iPhone X screen protector

Installing a screen protector yourself is one of the worst things ever, possibly worse than stubbing a toe. It’s so bad that I went to an Apple Store and paid them $42.75 to do it for me. I regret nothing.

Anyone who has ever tried to install a screen protector knows exactly what I’m talking about—you can never truly get it aligned correctly, and specs of dust always seem to make their way underneath the screen protector right as you go to lay it down.

RELATED: Does Your Smartphone Really Need a Screen Protector?

I eventually threw in the towel and went to an Apple Store, where I knew they had special little doohickies that can install a screen protector perfectly every time on your fancy new iPhone. The results are always fantastic.

A Closer Look At Those Special Little Doohickies

The screen protector applicators that you see at Apple Stores are actually of Belkin’s design, called the ScreenCare+ Application System.

It’s as easy as setting the iPhone and the screen protector into the slots (which line everything up for you), closing the shell, and then yanking off the protective films. A trained seal could probably do it.

The ScreenCare+ system is proprietary to Apple Stores, although T-Mobile stores have something similar from Belkin as well. Unfortunately, the public can’t buy these devices for themselves, so us peasants are stuck doing it the old-fashioned way.

You can buy screen protectors that come with cheap little frames that make it a bit easier to line up the screen protector, but it’s not quite the same as Belkin’s application systems.

You’re Paying for the Service

When you go into an Apple Store and look at their screen protectors for sale, it’s easy to balk at the $39.95 price tag of Belkin’s InvisiGlass Ultra tempered glass screen protector. After all, no one in their right mind would spend $39.95 for a screen protector with the intent of installing it themselves. Instead, most of us would head to Amazon and buy something like this $14 three-pack of tempered glass screen protectors from a no-name brand, which comes out to just $4.67 per screen protector.

Buying a screen protector at the Apple Store

But here’s the kicker: Apple will install screen protectors “for free” as long as you buy one from the Apple Store. So really, you should think about it more along the lines of the installation service being included in the price. That isn’t too bad of a deal after it’s all said and done.

So really, when you pay a little over $40 (with tax) for a screen protector at an Apple Store, you’re really mostly paying for the convenience of Apple installing it for you It at least makes me feel a bit better thinking of it that way. I would never spend that much on a screen protector if I had to install it myself.

Profile Photo for Craig Lloyd Craig Lloyd
Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile.
Read Full Bio »