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How to remove a screen protector

There’s a moment between when we drop a smartphone and it hits the ground that we are relieved that we purchased a screen protector. Crafted from either plastic or glass, screen protectors help keep our device’s screen safe from scratching or shattering. However, there may be a time when you want to remove your screen protector, whether it has become damaged or is in perfect shape. Here’s how to remove a screen protector with ease.

Are you looking to install a new screen protector? Be sure to check out our guide on installing screen protectors for a bit of assistance.

What is a screen protector?

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A screen protector is a thin sheet of plastic or glass placed atop a device’s screen to protect it from becoming damaged. While plastic screen protectors are less likely to shatter, they don’t tend to be as clear as a glass protector. While it is still possible to damage your device’s screen with a screen protector installed, it is significantly less likely to occur.

If you need help selecting a new screen protector after removing your current one, be sure to check out our guides on the best screen protectors for the Apple iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S21.

How to remove a screen protector

Image used with permission by copyright holder

In many cases, removing a screen protector doesn’t require any additional tools beyond a single fingernail; however, some tools that can help your out during the removal include a toothpick, credit card, guard pick, or business card. We would also recommend having an alcohol wipe and microfiber cloth to clean the screen after the protector is removed, but they aren’t a requirement.

Step 1: Begin by attempting to lift one corner of the screen protector gently. Use either a fingernail, toothpick, credit card, or guitar pick to carefully pry the protector away from the smartphone or tablet screen.

Step 2: Once the corner has been lifted, we recommend using a credit card or business card, sliding it under the screen protector, and gently moving it around until the screen protector releases.

Step 3: Once the screen protector is detached from the screen, lift it carefully from the surface, then dispose of it.

Step 4: Finish the process by cleaning your screen with an alcohol wipe and a microfiber cloth; a soft, damp cloth can also be used. Do not attempt to clean your screen with any chemicals.

Note: When removing a glass screen protector, take extra caution as the glass may crack. You may opt to wear a pair of gloves when removing a glass screen protector for additional protection. Dispose of the protector the same way you would any piece of glass.

Dealing with strong adhesives

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In some situations, you may have trouble getting your fingernail or a tool under the corner of a screen protector to lift it — in this case, we have two recommendations. You may want to try to use a piece of strong duct tape to lift the screen protector; do this by placing the duct tape on the corner of the screen protector and then slowly pulling it upward.

Another option is to use a bit of heat from a hairdryer to loosen the adhesive holding on the screen protector; in this circumstance, only keep the hairdryer on the low setting and focus on your device for around 15 seconds. When using a hairdryer, don’t focus on a single spot; move the focus of heat around the entire screen protector.

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Michael Archambault
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Michael Archambault is a technology writer and digital marketer located in Long Island, New York. For the past decade…
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