Since an iPhones represents a serious investment, the last thing you want is a careless drop or scratch to completely ruin your screen. That's where iPhone screen protectors come into play. Usually made of a thin piece of plastic, screen protectors ensure that the glass screen on your iPhone doesn't end up damaged. Protectors can cost serious money if you're willing to pay for the top-of-the-line models, but before you pay up, make sure that you'll get the most life out of your device's screen protector. Some types of products work better than others, and the way you apply the protector might shorten the life of your investment.

Film protectors. If you want the least amount of interference between your screen and your user experience, a film protector is probably your best bet. Film protectors are made of a super thin layer of cling plastic that needs to be applied precisely in order to work. Unfortunately, getting fingerprints, dust, and other particles on the underside of the plastic means you'll have less use from your screen protector. Using a tight-fitting case can also cause problems, as it can peel up the corners and edges of the plastic over time. A perfectly-installed film protector should last around a year, so long as it's not damaged through scratching. Once you peel up the protector, it'll need to be tossed, since it cannot be removed and replaced again.

Plastic protectors. One of the newer forms of protectors is made of a plastic that adheres to the outside perimeters of your phone only. If you're nervous about the installation process, this type is more user-friendly than film protectors, since you can remove and replace the cover as many times as you want until you've got the perfect fit. The protector is matte, which helps cut down on glare in the sun. Since these plastic protectors are thicker, some users complain that they interfere with their iPhone experience; they "float" over the screen rather than laying directly on the top of your iPhone. Still, if you don't mind the feel, they last a lot longer than cling covers. You can even peel it off, wash it with a mild detergent and water, allow it to drive and replace it again, meaning you always have a fresh, clear protector for years to come.

Choosing a type. If you're looking for longevity alone, definitely look for a stiffer plastic protector, since it will definitely outlast a cling protector. A cling protector is better if you can have a professional install it for you, otherwise you risk peeling corners and bubbles that could cut its life short. Just remember, you spent a lot of money on your phone   do you really want to bargain shop on a reliable screen protector?

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