Choosing one of the best iPad screen protectors not only offers protection for your tablet but can even make it feel nicer to use. Made using Corning's Gorilla Glass, iPads are pretty solid, but they're certainly not impervious to scratches if they come up against a sharp object. An iPad screen protector is a lot cheaper to replace than an iPad, so we generally think it's worth the investment for some extra piece of mind.
But even better, some of the best iPad screen protectors can actually make the tablet feel nicer to use, especially if you use a stylus like the Apple Pencil for sketching or note taking. Some screen protectors provide more "bite" – that is, they provide a little more friction so that the stylus doesn't slide around as much as it does directly on the glass. This can help to make digital drawing feel more like working on paper. There are also screen protectors that provide a blue light filter, which can help ease the strain on your eyes during long sessions.
Take a quick glance online and you'll see that there's a huge number of products available, and although prices can vary, they often look fairly similar, so it can be tricky to work out which are the best iPad screen protectors. To try to clear things up, we've made our own pick based on hands-on reviews, customer reviews and recommendations from the digital artists we've spoken too. We've evaluated each of the best iPad screen protectors for ease of application, surface finish and feel, friction when using a stylus and value for money.
In each case, we've noted what materials the screen protectors are made from, what finish they offer and which of the various iPad generations each product is compatible with. For more accessories for your tablet, see our guides to the best iPad keyboards and the best iPad stands. If you're looking for a stylus, see our Apple Pencil 2 review and our pick of the best Apple Pencil alternatives.
The best iPad screen protectors available now
Drawing on the shiny iPad with an Apple Pencil can feel a little strange compared to working on real paper or on a more expensive graphics tablet. The Paperlike screen protector can help improve that. Made with (and by) design professionals and artists, it's created to give the feel of paper under your stylus – and that's exactly how we felt it performed when we tested it.
The surface is filled with tiny microbeads that give just the right amount of friction, or bite. When we reviewed the Paperlike we found that the difference is enough to be able to feel more connected to what you're doing, but not so much that it takes its toll on our Apple Pencil's tip. We felt it was really like an upgrade to the tablet and the best way to protect your iPad while also enhancing the experience of drawing on the tablet.
Read more in our full Paperlike review.
If the thought of applying an iPad screen protector makes you worry about getting it slightly wrong and ending up with a wonky fit or an air bubble trapped underneath, you're not alone. Some of the cheaper screen protectors can certainly give you such problems, making them a false economy.
We found the opposite experience with Spigen's Glas.tR EZ Fit. This tempered glass protector comes with its own foolproof installation kit to make positioning it correctly a breeze. Plus you get extra scratch and drop resistance and an oleophobic coating to see off greasy fingerprints, too.
Read our full Spigen Glas.tR EZ Fit iPad screen protector review.
From an evolutionary point of view, the human body was never designed for the large amount of blue light we blast into our eyes every day. Too much of this disrupts melatonin production, disturbing our sleep cycle. And that can lead to health and wellbeing issues that have far-reaching effects.
The Ocushield Screen Protector, available for most iPads as well as rival tablets, offers an interesting solution: a tempered glass construction that filters out a lot of blue light. This makes it easier and more comfortable to use your iPad at all times of day, and we found that it doesn't create that intense orange colour shift created by the iPad's own ‘Night Shift’ mode.
Constructed from premium tempered glass, the Ocushield Screen Protector is a solid, multi-functional screen protector in general, too. We found it easy to fit with the included applicator.
If you have a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, amFilm's Glass Screen Protector is both a good and a very affordable screen option. Its carefully shaped design fits neatly around the selfie camera, so Face ID still works fine. The premium-grade tempered glass is resistant and we found it does a good job of protecting the screen from scratches. Overall, it's crystal clear and feels like it should last.
As you'd expect, this screen protector is compatible with the Apple Pencil and also has an oleophobic coating that reduces fingerprints and smudges. The kit includes two protectors, dust removal stickers, wet and dry wipes, and a squeegee to help remove bubbles. Just note that this is compatible with the iPad Pro 12.9 2021, 2020 and 2018 versions, but it won't fit earlier generations.
Looking for the best cheap iPad screen protector for your 12.9in iPad Pro? You won't find better quality at this low price. The Olixar screen protector should effectively prevent scratching and damage from drops, bumps, and scrapes while retaining touch sensitivity. It features an oleophobic coating to reduce fingerprints and smudges, and we didn't notice any effect on the clarity of the display. It comes with an installation kit to help you position it without dreaded air bubbles and a two-year guarantee.
This iPad screen protector protects your screen in a different way – not so much from scratches but from straying eyes, preventing people from seeing what's on your screen? The Belkin Screenforce True Privacy provides a privacy screen so that anyone looking over your shoulder sees nothing but darkness, but looking at the screen directly, everything is perfectly visible.
Unlike other screen protectors, the Belkin is designed to be removed when you don't need it, and it's washable too. We reckon it could be a good option if you're worried about entering sensitive data on your iPad when you're in a public place. Just note that it doesn't actually offer a great deal of physical protection for your iPad.
On the other hand, of you're super-worried about dropping your iPad, then this pricey screen protector from Zagg promises a high level of protection. Made with military-grade components, InvisibleShield’s technology is designed to absorb and distribute the shock of an impact, keeping your screen intact during an accident. Glass+ promises three times the shatter protection of an unprotected screen, as well as oil-resistant technology to prevent fingerprint smudges and a high-level of touch sensitivity, and the reinforced edges help prevent chipping too. It is pretty expensive, though.
If you're looking for a budget alternative to the Paperlike screen protector (number one on our list), the ESR Paper-Feel is significantly cheaper, especially given that you get two protectors in the pack.
Okay, it's not quite the same paper-like feel you get with the former. But ESR's specially-treated surface does simulate the feeling of writing and drawing on paper pretty well, and it's also nicely fingerprint-resistant. It's compatible with a load of different iPad versions as well.
The iPad Mini isn't as well served when it comes to screen protectors as some of the larger devices, which is a shame because its portability perhaps means that it's more likely to be carried about on the move, with the risk of picking up scratches and other damage. Ailun's screen protector is available for the iPad mini, however, and we found it to be an excellent option. Made from 9H tempered glass, it offers great scratch and drop resistance, and it has an oleophobic coating to repel oils. It's very well priced too. The package comes with two guide stickers for fitting, along with a wet wipe, a dry wipe and a dust absorber.
If you want to give your iPad Pro 12.9 inch more of a paper texture at a bargain price, the JETech Write Like Paper screen protector is another budget alternative to the Paperlike. Made from high-quality matte PET film, it gives your iPad a more paper-like feel and reduces glare while also making your screen more scratch- and fingerprint-resistant. It's also easy to fit without ending up with air bubbles. Bear in mind, though, that JETech warns the protector can affect the clarity of the screen.
Which is the best iPad screen protector?
The best iPad screen protector for you will depend on what you want it for. If you're going to carry your iPad in a case or sleeve and simply want a little extra protection against scratches, then you could get away with one of the cheapest iPad screen protectors like the Olixar Screen Protector.
However, if you think you're going to use it a lot without a case or sleeve and want extra confidence – particularly if you have one of the more expensive iPads, then you might want to invest in some more heavy duty protection such as the ZAGG InvisibleShield Glass Screen Protector.
Artists and illustrators, or indeed anyone who is going to use a stylus a lot on an iPad might have other requirements than simply protecting the screen, wanting a surface that will enhance their experience with the stylus. For that we recommend Paperlike, at number 1 in our list of the best iPad screen protectors, because it actually improves the feel of writing and drawing on the tablet.