I’ve always used a screen protector on my iPads. Although many claim that the glass is scratch resistant, I’ve never felt comfortable going “naked,” especially since I once had a scratch on my iPhone that drove me bananas. Since then, I’ve tried a bunch in my search for the best iPad screen protectors for use in Procreate and GoodNotes.
Although I started out using a screen protector just to protect the screen from the potential for scratches, I’ve since grown to love the feel of writing on my iPad with a screen protector, especially one that has a bit of texture to make it feel like I’m writing on paper.
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Paper Texture Screen Protectors: Pros and Cons
The first time I used a iPad matte screen protector, I was worried I would hate it because it tones down the screen a bit. Luckily I was wrong and I love them. I’ve experienced several positive benefits:
- There’s less glare, so you can use it outside.
- I don’t have to look at my face reflected in my screen while using my iPad.
- My handwriting on the iPad improved dramatically right away.
- I love the way it feels to write on the screen with a matte protector.
- It feels more realistic than writing on glass.
When I purchased the new 2021 iPad Pro I considered going back to a glass screen protector, but I love the feel of using the paper textured screen protector so much that I couldn’t do it. Although it changes the screen a little bit, it doesn’t distort anything or make it blurry. To me, it just seems less shiny.
I’ve tried quite a few screen protectors and am writing this post to share my experiences with you. Please note that these are my personal experiences only and may not reflect your experience (this is me feeling bad for some negative things I’m about to say 😉 ).
Let’s get the negative out of the way:
Paperlike iPad Screen Protector
It seems like everyone recommends the Paperlike iPad screen protector.
It’s the most expensive of the bunch. I avoided this for awhile because of that but finally decided to give it a try. I figured since others had a lot of good things to say about it, it was worth a shot!
When I first put on the Paperlike, I fell in love. I loved the way it felt to write on the screen and it seemed like my lettering improved with this screen protector. I was super excited and planned to only purchase the Paperlike screen protector for life.
My opinion changed within 2 weeks.
Somehow the screen protector already had a long, deep scratch on it.
I really hate changing screen protectors. This was a pretty expensive purchase if it was only going to last 2 weeks!
I also noticed that the screen was showing a lot of scratches. At first I was able to sort of wipe those off, but it kept getting worse.
I didn’t have the screen protector on for long, maybe three weeks, before I removed it.
Since there were 2 in the package, I decided to give it another try when I purchased my new iPad. Here is what it looked like after 1 week:
This wasn’t super noticeable while the iPad was in use doing normal things on a brightish screen.
When painting on a white canvas I didn’t see these scratches. I saw them when I carried my iPad around. It looked pretty beat up.
This week I recorded some updates to my Skillshare classes. When I started editing the first video, I noticed that my screen looked TERRIBLE and there was no way I could use those videos in my classes and they would need to be re-recorded. Here is a screenshot of the video 🙁
Yes, I was recording outside so there is also a bunch of pollen on the screen. Oh well, real life.
So, after 1 week I ditched the expensive screen protector once again and put on a new one from Amazon (see my description of the Bersem below). I chose this one because I have a similar one on my old iPad and I like the way my handwriting looks when using it.
If you want to give the Paperlike a try, here is a link to the Paperlike screen protector. I don’t recommend it; however, it does have good reviews and a lot of other people like it. Maybe I got a faulty batch?
Let’s look at some others
Paperfeel by Mobdic
The screen protector I have on my other iPad is the Paperfeel screen protector by Mobdic. So far, I really like it.
It’s a little weird feeling when you first put it on. It feels almost like a sand paper. It sounds like writing on some loudish paper for sure. (I like that)
I like writing and drawing on this one and haven’t seen scratches on it. I’ve had it on my other iPad for approximately a month and use my iPad nearly every day to create art projects or to practice lettering.
With this screen protector, I’ve even enjoyed taking notes!
This is one of my top recommendations for matte screen protectors for writing and drawing. Here is the link on Amazon for you to try it out. There are 2 in the package and the price is about a quarter of the price of the Paperlike.
Paperfeel by Bersem
Because I like to live dangerously (haha) I decided to try a new screen protector when I took off the Paperlike. Note that I’ve had my new iPad for two weeks as of today, so that means I used the Paperlike for about a week and the Bersem for about a week.
I wanted to try the Bersem because the package is super similar to the Morbic and frankly, I just wanted to know what the difference is between the two.
So far, I can’t figure it out. I think they are exactly the same product with different branding. Even the tools you use to put on the screen protector are the same.
I’m guessing that someone makes these as a sort of template that they sell to companies who then sell them as their own or something like that.
Kinda weird, but hey, these are inexpensive and pretty awesome. As of this writing, the Bersem costs less than the Mobic. Especially since they recently changed to have three in the package!
I seriously think they are the same thing. Even the package looks the same and says “jot til you drop” on it.
The Bersem is one of my top recommendations of screen protectors for people who want to write or draw on their iPad. Here is the link to the Bersem on Amazon. There are 3 in the package! (This is a recent change since the package I purchased only has 2 – BONUS).
iCarez Matte Screen Protector
The only reason I changed is because I was curious about the Paperlike and wanted to try it.
The only reason I didn’t go back to using it right away was because I saw other people raving about the Mobdic Paperfeel and wanted to try it.
This is the least expensive of the bunch and I highly recommend it.
That said, I have not used it after using the Paperlike or Paperfeel so I am not sure whether I would have a different opinion now. This was my first matte screen protector.
When I first put it on, I was amazed at how much easier it was to do hand lettering on the screen. As a newbie I needed all the help I could get!
Tech Armor Tempered Glass Screen Protector
Prior to trying out the matte screen protector, I used this tempered glass iPad screen protector. (Well, an earlier version of it anyway). This is thicker than the matte protectors and it is clear and shiny just like the iPad screen. It is a beautiful screen protector.
I still use a similar one on my iPhone. I’ve purchased this one for several of our iPhones over the years and love it. It’s super clear and it breaks instead of my phone if I drop it. It’s a tough screen protector though and only cracks if it falls in a very bad way 😉
If you want to use a tempered glass screen protector for your iPad, you can’t go wrong with this one. I know a lot of people want to avoid using a matte protector right now on the new iPad due to the new mini-LED screen so wanted to include this.
I recommend that if you’re looking for a screen protector for art or writing, that you at least try out a matte protector of the variety that is supposed to feel like paper. My top recommendation is the Bersem since it seems to be the same exact thing as the Mobic at a slightly lower price.
A little update! I got super curious about how I would feel about a glass screen protector now that I’ve been doing a lot more drawing on my iPad (and now that I have the new M1 iPad). I put the glass protector on it yesterday and OMG I love it right now. The screen is so pretty. I’ll have to practice some lettering later and see if I still love it. Just wanted to pop on and say that it does make the screen look NICE!
Update 2: The tempered glass may be a bit thick for drawing. The result is that with some brushes you aren’t really able to get a straight line and instead it is weirdly wavy. I switched back to the Bersem.
Will a Paperlike Screen Protector Ruin Your Pencil Tip?
One of the biggest complaints about matte screen protectors is that they wear down the tip on your Apple Pencil. Is that true?
The answer is likely yes and also that it depends. Some people report they’ve never had to change their pencil tip, while others say that their tip wore down in a few short weeks using their tip.
I think it’s going to depend on the screen protector you use, how often you use your Apple Pencil, and how hard you press when using your Apple Pencil.
For the first 2-3 years of having an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil, I never had to change my pencil tip. I could not tell you whether that was because of the screen protectors I was using (the glass screen protector and then the iCarez screen protector) or if it was because I wasn’t using it that often.
Recently I’ve found I’ve had to change my pencil tip more often. But, I’ve been creating art with Procreate, taking notes, and using my digital planner every day. With my current setup and use, the answer is yes. Using the matte screen protector does wear down my pencil tip.
The question you have to ask yourself though is whether it’s worth it. A box of 4 pencil tips is around $20 on Apple. Let’s say you have to change your Apple Pencil tip once a month. Would it be worth $5 a month to you to write on a screen that is less slippery and that feels like paper?
I keep a spare box of these just in case.
What About Those Pencil Tips?
You may have seen some advertisements for silicone pencil tips for your Apple Pencil. They also sell inexpensive versions of this on Amazon. (I have not tried the Amazon ones, but they have decent reviews).
Being the curious person I am, I purchased some silicone Apple Pencil tips off of a Facebook ad.
I personally don’t like them. I don’t like the drag on the screen that I experience. Of course, that makes sense since I seem to push hard on the screen when creating art. If you don’t, your experience might be different.
I also thought it was a little weird and unnatural to have a mushy pen. Pens don’t usually have cushions. I don’t know how else to explain that. It was a bit like writing on a marshmallow.
I didn’t notice any problems with sensitivity of the iPad picking up the actions of the pencil. The tips did not interfere with the pencil at all in my opinion. Note that I used the pen tip AND my screen protector at the same time (I think I was using the Paperlike when I tried these).
These are not for me. As mentioned above, the Apple Pencil tips are inexpensive and I’d rather just replace my tips.
I hesitated with whether to include the company I purchased from since I’m saying I didn’t like the product; however, they were pretty awesome to work with and you may like using these tip covers, so here you go!
I purchased the pink ones from pen.tips. If you’re going to try out the silicone tips, I recommend these. The company is responsive to questions and they come in a nice little black box you can store them in.
Should You Use a Screen Protector?
Most people say that a screen protector isn’t necessary and that the screens on the iPads are super strong. I’ve personally experienced having a scratch on my phone so I choose to use a screen protector.
I use a matte screen protector on my iPad because I enjoy writing and drawing on my iPad.
You may just want to pick up a few pencil tips while you’re there in case you’re one of the people who wears down your tips quickly with a screen protector. After all, you don’t want to be without your Apple Pencil. That would be a huge bummer!
For more accessories that I recommend, see my post on the best iPad for creatives!
Best Screen Protector for Writing on Your iPad
I take a lot of notes on my iPad. I love using GoodNotes to take notes because I can search for things instead of having to find things in all of my notebooks.
Handwriting can be sort of hit or miss with a digital note taking app. I find that using a matte screen protector helps me to have better writing.
In my opinion, the best screen protector for writing is the Bersem
Another Recommendation (??)
I go back and forth on recommending this last one. At one point I almost changed my top recommendation to this one because I love the feel of writing and drawing with it. The Bellemond Screen Protector feels very similar to the Paperlike and lasts longer than the paperlike. I have not had any problems with scratching on this screen protector and I really do love it.
I only recommend it if you’re really good at installing screen protectors. No kidding, this one is a challenge. You have to align it correctly when putting it on and then there is this really weird blue film on it that you take off after getting the bubbles out…but that blue film is sort of soft so it gets gouged easily, making it hard to smooth out the bubbles.
I hate installing this screen protector. HATE.
I’ve been able to get it on ok each time but it just feels so much harder than all of the other ones.
I’m a self proclaimed master at installing screen protectors now that I’ve tried so many of them. This one loses so many points.
Another big problem is that although it doesn’t get scratched and lasts a bit longer than the Paperlike because of that, it doesn’t last long at all.
This means that you’ll have to replace the screen protector A LOT. And since this one is terrible to put on, that’s a problem.
What happens? It loses all of its texture quickly. It ends up being just a smooth piece of plastic on your screen after just a couple of months. To me it is an unpleasant experience. I’d rather have a bare screen than this screen protector when it wears out.
I have this one on my iPad right now and I notice I’ve been avoiding doing art 🙁 I need to switch it but am procrastinating.
So while the Bellemond is a joy to use, it seems like a lot of work for a short period of time. If there was a better installation method, I’d move this to my top recommendation. (It would have to be an amazing installation method though because you have to change it pretty frequently).
Best iPad Case
I’ve always disliked using cases with my iPad but I recently discovered a case that completely changed my mind. I wrote a blog post describing the best iPad case for drawing which you can read about here. It holds your iPad in the perfect position for drawing comfortably. (Seriously, I stopped using a lapdesk…and I have like 8 lapdesks). There is a coupon code in the post too 🙂
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