How to Remove Bubbles from a Screen Protector

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When it's time to snag a new smart phone, buzzwords like "Liquid Retina display," "augmented reality" and "dual-aperture lens" send hype levels through the roof. "Screen protector bubbles," though, are hardly hype-worthy. Glass and plastic screen protectors are essential accessories for any smart phone, but when unsightly air pockets slip between the protector and the screen during installation – it's time to break out your best bubble-busting tricks.

Prevent Screen Protector Bubbles

The best way to remove screen protector bubbles from your smart phone's future is to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Dust is public enemy No. 1 during screen protector installation. Whether you're using plastic or tempered glass (which often sees the dreaded glass screen protector halo effect), air bubbles easily form around the tiny space dust puts between the phone's screen and the protector. That's why you'll want to perform the application with clean hands in a dust- and dander-free zone. Pro tip: Do your installation in a steamy bathroom, because the steam makes it difficult for dust particles to float in the air.

Nail the Application

Before applying the protector, give the screen a thorough cleaning with an alcohol wipe and use sticky dust removal strips (both wipes and strips are often included with screen protectors as part of an installation kit) or clear tape to peel dust particles off the screen. Try wrapping clear tape around your finger, sticky side out, to grab any stubborn particles. Only when the screen is completely squeaky clean are you ready to line up the screen protector and press it onto the phone.

Speaking of pressing the protector onto the phone, do not remove plastic protective covers from the protector until the very last second before application. Once you've aligned the protector and placed it on the screen, firmly press your fingers into the middle of the glass or plastic and work out any potential air bubbles by moving them toward the edges of the protector. This helps press the adhesive onto the screen and forces bubble-forming air out through the edges.

Bust Existing Bubbles

Sometimes, installation isn't perfect and you end up with air bubbles despite your best efforts. In this case, use a clean plastic card – like a debit card or driver's license – to push bubbles out toward the corners of the screen protector. Be persistent, because it may take plenty of firm swipes. If the card just isn't doing the trick, gently lift the corner of the protector to allow bubbles to escape – no need to completely remove and reapply.

If you prefer to fight screen protector bubbles with a war of attrition, simply keep in mind that most bubbles work themselves out after about 24 to 48 hours. After all, they're just air.

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