How to Get Air Bubbles Out of a Screen Protector on iPhone

Use these easy hacks to get rid of air bubbles under your screen protector.

Whether your screen guard is glass or plastic, air bubbles can get trapped between the screen protector and the iPhone screen. Screen cover bubbles not only look tacky, but they can also obscure your screen and make touch gestures more difficult on your phone. While your initial instinct might be to remove the screen protector and re-apply it, this should be a last-ditch effort, since this process can be messy and reduce the strength of the adhesive backing. To help avoid this, we've compiled a list of clever and easy tips to help remove air bubbles from under your screen protector. 

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Why Do I Have Air Bubbles in My Screen Protector?

These pesky air bubbles can form for a variety of reasons. Air bubbles are more common when using a plastic screen protector, but they can occur with glass screen protectors too. If you've just applied your screen protector, these air bubbles are either the result of improper application or because the device screen wasn't thoroughly cleaned in advance. Small bits of dust or lint often cause air bubbles, as can the oil from our fingerprints. So if your device screen had fingerprints, or you touched the adhesive as you applied the protector, this is likely the cause of the air bubbles. Unfortunately, an air bubble can appear many months later, even if you applied the screen protector like a pro. Sometimes pressure on the screen from dropping your iPhone can cause your protector to shift and suddenly form air bubbles. In either case, the methods for removing these air bubbles are the same. 

How to Get Air Bubbles Out of Screen Protector: Plastic

Air bubbles usually form under a plastic screen protector because of uneven application, or an imperfect seal around the edges. When installing a plastic screen protector it’s important to be very careful, as the plastic ones are less forgiving than glass. For more handy tips on your iPhone features, consider signing up for our free Tip of the Day Newsletter. Now, let's cover how to remove air bubbles from your screen protector.

Use a Plastic Card to Get Bubbles Out of Screen Protector

For this method, you'll need a clean plastic card, such as a credit card or a driver's license. Then, follow the steps below to learn how to get rid of air bubbles in your screen protector using the plastic card. 

  1. Place your iPhone or iPad on a flat surface. 
  2. Hold your plastic card at an angle over the center of the screen. 
  3. Apply gentle pressure and push the card from the center of the screen to the outer edges. This will help to push the air bubbles out towards the corners of the screen protector. 
  4. Work your way around the entire screen until all the air bubbles have been removed. 

Use Scotch Tape to Get Air Bubbles Out of Screen Protector

For this tip, you'll need a piece of scotch tape and a plastic card (such as a credit card), which you'll use to dab your device screen to help lift off any dust and debris that might have been missed before your first application. Because completely removing and re-applying plastic screen protectors can get tricky, I recommend using this option instead. Let's cover how to use Scotch tape to remove those annoying screen protector bubbles. 

  1. Using the credit card, carefully peel back a corner of your plastic screen protector. (You'll want to avoid touching the glue with your fingers as your natural skin oils with further weaken the adhesive.)
  2. Dab the area of your iPhone screen that had the air bubbles with scotch tape to remove stubborn dust, lint, and debris. 
  3. Lower the corner of your plastic screen protector and press from the center to the edges of your device screen to re-apply the protector. 
  4. Repeat for each corner, as needed. 

Related: How to Tell If Your iPhone Is Unlocked & What Does That Mean?

How to Get Bubbles Out of Screen Protector: Glass

Tempered glass screen protectors are generally recommended over the cheaper plastic screen guards, since they are easier to install and less prone to air bubbles. The good news is that if air bubbles have appeared beneath your glass screen protector, they won't be as hard to get rid of. Read on to learn how to remove air bubbles from a tempered glass screen protector.

What to Avoid: Cooking Oil 

Let's start by covering some online solutions you should probably steer clear of. A commonly recommended solution is to apply a translucent cooking oil to the edges of your iPhone screen so it seeps beneath the screen guard and (hopefully) removes air bubbles. However, I strongly recommend avoiding using this solution because of the risks of damaging your device. While some report success with this tip, if the oil accidentally gets in the ports of your device or seeps beneath the screen, it can damage your iPhone or iPad. While we do want to save your glass screen protector and avoid buying a new one, your iPhone or iPad will be much more costly to replace. So please leave the cooking oil in the kitchen and skip to the suggestions below!

Use a Credit Card To Remove Bubbles from Screen Protector

For this method, you'll need a clean plastic card, such as a credit card or a driver's license. Then, follow the steps below to learn how to get rid of air bubbles in your screen protector using the plastic card. 

  1. Place your iPhone or iPad on a flat surface. 
  2. Hold your plastic card at an angle over the center of the screen. 
  3. Apply gentle pressure and push the card from the center of the screen to the outer edges. This will help to push the air bubbles out towards the corners of the screen protector. 
  4. Work your way around the entire screen until all the air bubbles have been removed. 

When All Else Fails, Remove the Glass Screen Protector

If the tip above didn't work, the good news is that unlike plastic screen protectors, glass screen guards are more forgiving. This means that it can be removed and pressed back on and keep a perfect fit. The most common culprit of air bubbles beneath glass protectors is small bits of dust or lint that weren't properly removed prior to the first application. So when you remove your protector, you'll want to make sure to carefully clean your device screen before re-applying the screen guard. 

  1. Use a toothpick or your fingernail to slightly lift a corner of your glass screen protector. 
  2. Gently slide a credit card beneath the lifted corner, and slowly run it around the sides of your iPhone. Make sure not apply too much pressure on your iPhone with the credit card, as this might damage your iPhone screen. 
  3. With the card still inserted at the top of the iPhone, slide the card all the way under the glass across the entire width of the iPhone. Slowly slide the card down towards the bottom of the phone, while simultaneously lifting the screen protector away from the screen.
  4. Now you'll want to thoroughly clean your iPhone's screen with a soft lint-free cloth to remove all dust and oily fingerprints. (Removing all dust and lint is very important, as this can cause air bubbles to form again when you attempt to re-apply.)
  5. Align the edges of your screen protector with the iPhone screen. 
  6. Place the protector on your iPhone screen and press lightly from the middle out to the edges of the screen. 

Hopefully this time you'll see a bubble-free application, and your iPhone will be ready to use! 

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Author Details

Devala Rees's picture

Author Details

Devala Rees

Devala Rees has been a writer since the age of eleven, and a loyal user of Apple products for even longer. His writing background is quite eclectic, from freelance professional articles to Hindu religious scholarship to fantasy novels. Much of his writing on various topics can be found on Quora.com.