Does Apple Watch Need a Screen Protector? A Detailed Analysis

by | May 10, 2023

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Quick Answer:

While a screen protector offers extra defense against scratches and cracks, it may alter the feel of the screen and require regular maintenance. Conversely, not using one preserves the original touch experience but leaves the watch more vulnerable to damage.

The Apple Watch is a significant investment, so it’s only natural to want to keep it in the best condition possible.

This article will dive into the screen durability of Apple Watches, the pros and cons of using a screen protector, and we’ll even throw in a few of our favorite products to make it as easy of a decision as possible for you.

Does Apple Watch Need Screen Protector?

Apple Watches don’t need a screen protector, especially the Ultra 1, Ultra 2, and other models with the sapphire displays.

However, using a screen protector on your Apple Watch can be a smart move. Here’s why:

    • Scratch Resistance: Provides an extra layer against everyday scratches.
    • Damage Control: May help prevent cracks from drops or impacts.
    • Resale Value: Keeps the screen pristine for higher resale value.
    • Peace of Mind: Offers assurance against accidental damage during daily use.

    Understanding Apple Watch Screen Durability

    The Apple Watch screen’s durability largely depends on the model you have. The primary difference lies in the type of glass used.

    If you’re unsure of your model, check out our guide here.

    Take a look at the table below to find out what type of screen your Apple Watch has, as well as its pros and cons:

    Screen Material
    Ion-X glass
    highly resistant to impact
    more susceptible to scratches
    Stainless Steel
    Sapphire Crystal
    extremely scratch-resistant
    more prone to cracking upon severe impact
    Sapphire Crystal
    extremely scratch-resistant
    more prone to cracking upon severe impact

    Ion-X Glass

    The Aluminum models use Ion-X glass, which is highly resistant to impact but can be susceptible to scratches.

    Sappire Crystal

    The Stainless Steel and Titanium (Ultra and Ultra 2) models use a sapphire crystal display, which is extremely scratch-resistant but could be more prone to cracking upon severe impact.

    Pros and Cons of Using a Screen Protector

    Screen protectors can be a great way to prolong the life of your Apple Watch, but they come with their own set of pros and cons.

    We made a table to help you decide which option best fits your needs. Take a look below to compare the pros and cons of using a screen protector on your Apple Watch:

    No Screen Protector
    Screen Protector
    No additional protection beyond what the watch offers.
    Extra layer to prevent scratches and cracks.
    Screen replacements can be costly.
    Screen protectors are cheaper to replace than the actual watch screen.
    No risk of bubbles or peeling edges.
    They might detract from the sleek design of the Apple Watch.
    Can be tricky, risk of air bubbles.
    Can change the feel of the screen.
    No need to replace unless watch is damaged.
    May need to be replaced over time.
    Regular cleaning of the watch's screen is enough.
    May need to be cleaned or replaced if it gets dirty or damaged.
    Some screen protectors can reduce the touchscreen sensitivity.

    Types of Screen Protectors for Apple Watch

    When choosing a screen protector, it’s important to pick the style that fits your needs.

    We’ve laid out the three major types of screen protectors for Apple Watch, as well as the pros and cons that come with each one of them:

    Tempered Glass Protectors
    Highly durable. Excellent scratch & impact protection
    Thicker, might affect the touch sensitivity
    Film Protectors
    Thinner and more flexible. Offers a more natural feel
    Less protection against impacts
    Full-Case Protectors
    Also protects sides and back of the watch. The best protection

    Tempered Glass Protectors

    These are highly durable and provide excellent scratch and impact protection. However, they can be a bit thicker, which might affect the touch sensitivity.

    Film Protectors

    These are thinner and more flexible than tempered glass protectors, offering a more natural feel. However, they offer less protection against impacts.

    Full-Case Protectors

    These not only protect the screen but also the sides and back of the watch. They offer the best protection but can make the watch bulkier.

    Top 3 Apple Watch Screen Protectors 

    We’ve tried and tested numerous Apple Watch screen protectors. We then chose our top 3 from each type listed above.

    Check out our top 3 choices below:

    Tempered Glass
    Full Case

    Before purchasing, make sure to select a screen protector that fits your Apple Watch model and screen size.

    If you are unsure about which model and screen size you have, check out our Apple Watch model guide.

    How to Apply a Screen Protector on Apple Watch

    The process of applying a screen protector will vary depending on which you purchase, but generally, this is how they’re applied:

    1. Clean the watch screen thoroughly.
    2. Peel off the protective layer from the screen protector.
    3. Align the protector with the screen.
    4. Apply the protector, starting from one edge and slowly moving to the other to prevent bubbles.
    5. Press out any remaining bubbles and ensure the protector is firmly in place.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do Apple Watches scratch easily?

    While the Apple Watch is designed with tough materials to withstand everyday wear and tear, it is not completely immune to scratches. The susceptibility to scratches can depend on various factors including the model of the watch and the user’s activities.

    Watches with aluminum cases are more prone to scratches as they use Ion-X glass, while the stainless steel and titanium versions have sapphire crystal, which is more resistant to scratches.

    Is Apple Watch Ultra scratch resistant?

    Yes, the sapphire crystal screens are designed to be scratch resistant. This does not mean scratch proof! It is possible they can get scratched, but they are not at risk as much as screens made of Ion-X.

    Are Apple Watch screen protectors worth it?

    Screen protectors can provide an extra layer of protection against scratches and cracks, making them a worthy investment for many users.

    Do screen protectors affect Apple Watch touch sensitivity?

    Some users report a slight change in touch sensitivity with a screen protector, but many high-quality options aim to preserve the original touch experience.

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    Ken Lynch

    by Ken

    Ken is a Data Analyst in the Healthcare industry and the owner and sole contributor to The Wearable Guy.

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