In the early days of smartphones, you probably didn’t dare walk out of the Telstra store without a screen protector and case already installed on your very delicate (and very expensive) device. A fall to the floor or any jostling in your purse would leave you with shattered or scratched glass, which would cost more money to repair.
But times have changed, and smartphones aren’t as breakable as they used to be. So are screen protectors still worthwhile?
Probably not, unless you are really rough with your device.
Most smartphone manufacturers use tough glass developed by Corning for their screens. Many Androids come with Gorilla Glass, and Apple purchases custom-made glass for the iPhone. This means your phone is less likely to shatter with every single drop or scratch on contact with your keys.
Screen protectors, meanwhile, can actually get scratched or dinged or grimy depending on the material—and unless they’re installed flawlessly, they may make your screen look less perfect than it actually is. Plus, a screen protector will only help the screen itself. It won’t prevent dings on the edges or back or your phone—for that you’ll want a case—and it probably won’t prevent a shattered screen if you drop your phone on a really hard surface.
Of course, we won’t discourage you from using a screen protector if you want every little bit of insurance against possible damage. You can find decent protection for cheap—or pay up to $70 for bonus features like privacy or blue light filtering. But if you don’t want to bother with an extra piece of equipment you may have to change out a few times over your phone’s lifespan, you’ll probably be fine without.
This article has been updated since its original publication.