Do MacBooks Need A Screen Protector?

It’s easy to wonder if your MacBook needs a screen protector. Considering that the high-end models can easily cost several thousand dollars, saving significant money on repairs is also compelling. But do they need a screen protector, or does it introduce more risks than it’s worth?

MacBooks don’t need a screen protector. Apple actively discourages users from installing them. The MacBook screen is already designed to be damage-resistant and glare-resistant. And if it damages the screen, the warranty won’t cover it.

Rather than saving money by using one, you’re more likely to lose money from the warranty-voiding damage it causes.

MacBook with needing a screen protector text.

Why MacBooks Don’t Need Screen Protectors

MacBook Screens Have an Anti-Glare Coating

If you’ve ever applied a screen protector to your iPhone, doing the same to your MacBook might seem like a great idea.

After all, using a screen protector with your phone has been proven to protect the device from damage. Unfortunately, the same principle doesn’t apply when it comes to MacBooks.

Unlike phones or laptops, MacBooks are designed with a special display type and an anti-reflective coating.

This coating essentially forms a protective seal over the display, warding off scratches and damage each day while being completely invisible to the user.

This protective coating offers many quality-of-use benefits since it reduces glare on the screen and improves the display’s contrast.

And since the protective sheet adheres over the entire screen, it essentially serves as a layer to ward off dust and debris.

However, if you use a screen protector, you can completely destroy the anti-reflective coating.

The adhesive on screen protectors needs to be strong enough to stay on the MacBook as you use it, and unfortunately, this often means that they’re also strong enough to peel the anti-reflective coating.

When the anti-reflective coating is removed, the MacBook immediately suffers from significantly more glare and display issues.

The coating is often torn and removed in pieces, giving the display an ugly appearance. And worst of all, since a screen protector caused the damage, the Apple warranty doesn’t cover it. 

Using a Screen Protector Can Damage Your MacBook

It’s not just the display itself that screen protectors can damage. They actually have the potential to cause a lot of harm to other components of your MacBook, including the hinges, touchpad, and keyboard.

It’s easy to see how screen protectors can create more issues than they fix. Because of how thick most of them are, MacBooks can’t close properly, which causes various issues.

It places significant stress on the hinges, and since the MacBook isn’t completely closed, it’s more susceptible to damage from bumps or drops.

Screen Protectors Reduce the Quality of Your MacBook Display

MacBooks are well known for their beautiful displays. Their display quality far exceeds that of many high-end monitors and laptops made by other manufacturers.

The aesthetic appeal has always been a priority for Apple, and their foray into making incredible displays was a process that took plenty of development and tinkering.

The MacBook display is backlit with mini-LED backlight technology, which helps improve the display’s brightness and sharpness.

It’s also incredibly color-accurate, using the proprietary Display P3 color space to render color. In fact, the color space also includes 25% more colors than sRGB!

Another factor that plays into the beauty of Apple displays is the finish. While most displays are manufactured with a matte finish, MacBooks have a glossy finish, which significantly improves the color depth and crispness of the display.

And lastly, since the processors in MacBooks are so powerful, they’re excellent at accurately rendering content.

As you can see, MacBook displays are incredible works of art. Unfortunately, applying a screen protector can ruin their spectacular display quality.

Since the screen protector is a thin layer of plastic or glass over your monitor, it will somehow affect the quality.

While high-quality screen protectors have a minimal impact on display quality, they will still reduce the clarity and color quality as the light has to filter through another layer of material.

The display may become unclear or darkened if you use a low-quality screen protector. 

MacBooks Aren’t Designed To Accommodate Screen Protectors

If you add extra products like screen protectors or keyboard covers to your MacBook, you may find that the device stops properly closing.

This isn’t an accident, as MacBooks were never designed to accommodate anything between the keyboard and display.

A statement released by Apple directly notes the potential for damage when you use a screen protector or other third-party device with your MacBook.

Leaving any material on your display, keyboard, or palm rest might interfere with the display when it’s closed and cause damage to your display.”

Screen Protectors Are Difficult To Remove Safely

Once you’ve applied a screen protector, removing it is incredibly hard.

This is particularly true for cheap screen protectors or those made by unknown manufacturers since they will likely sell them with cheaply-sourced powerful adhesives.

Unfortunately, if the screen protector has too much resistance when you attempt to remove it, it can cause serious damage to your MacBook.

Aside from the risk of pulling the anti-reflective film from your MacBook’s monitor, screen protectors have even been known to crack displays upon removal.

If you want to remove a screen protector from your MacBook, consider taking it to professionals.

While the service will come with a charge, you’re less likely to catastrophically damage your MacBook’s display if you leave the service to professionals who have done it before.

You should be extremely careful when removing the screen protector at home.

Some of the methods recommended online include using thin and non-abrasive materials like credit cards or flattened straws to ease up the edges of the screen protectors or using suction cups or duct tape to gently lift and pull at it with an even distribution of force.

Does Adding a Screen Protector To My MacBook Void the Warranty?

Adding a screen protector to your MacBook doesn’t void the warranty. However, there are a few types of MacBooks that aren’t covered under warranty, including the following:

  • Apple products have had third-party adjustments to alter functionality or capability, such as jailbreaking.
  • Apple products that have had the serial number defaced or removed.
  • Apple products that have been serviced and damaged by an unauthorized service provider.

As you can see, your MacBook will still be covered under your warranty if you have a screen protector. If it ends up causing damage to it, however, the warranty won’t apply. This is one of the key reasons why a screen protector is greatly not recommended.

It’s also important to note that damage caused by a screen protector isn’t covered under the MacBook warranty.

According to Apple, “This Warranty does not apply … to damage caused by use with a third party component or product that does not meet the Apple Product’s specifications.” 

If you still intend to use one, select a screen protector like a Belkin TruePrivacy screen protector that is officially sold on the Apple website.

Because Apple officially sells these products, they’re more likely to work safely with your MacBook.

Before applying a screen protector, thoroughly clean your screen with 70% isopropyl alcohol and a microfiber cloth.

Once the display is dry, you should carefully apply the screen protector or have it professionally installed to reduce the likelihood of bubbles or misapplication.

How To Protect Your MacBook Screen

A MacBook with a clean screen.

1. Regularly Clean Your MacBook

A lack of maintenance is one of the biggest culprits that cause thousands of MacBooks to become damaged or break every year.

Whether it’s abrasive dust on the screen or sharp debris lodged in the keyboard, there’s no shortage of ways that built-up grime can cause damage to your screen. 

To ensure your MacBook stays in mint condition, regularly clean the screen using a microfiber cloth and 70% isopropyl alcohol

2. Carry Your MacBook in a Protective Sleeve

Using a protective laptop sleeve is essential if you want to carry your MacBook around safely. Many bags and backpacks come with built-in protective sleeves.

Regardless of what type of sleeve you decide to use, you should ensure that the sleeve is well-padded with thick foam. 

A protective sleeve will ensure your MacBook has significantly more bump and scratch protection and can save it if you accidentally drop it, too.

3. Proactively Keep Your MacBook Safe

There’s no shortage of hazards in the world around us. Many objects can damage your MacBook everywhere, whether it’s your morning cup of coffee or a ceramic piece on a shelf just above your desk.

If you want to protect your MacBook from damage, you should start by minimizing the potential for disaster.

If there are objects that could fall on your laptop, move them. If there are drinks that can tip over, use a closed-lid container or cup holder.

If your desk is unstable, replace it. Never touch your screen unless your hands are clean. Most importantly, ensure none are tripping hazards if your MacBook is connected to wires.

4. Don’t Apply Products To Your MacBook

There’s no good reason to apply products like decorative skins, keyboard, and screen protectors to your MacBook.

While these products are marketed as helpful additions to your MacBook, they’re one of the leading causes of unintended damage. Also, warranties rarely cover the damage they cause. 

You should avoid using third-party products with your MacBook at all costs. If you’re considering using an accessory or applying a new product, research online before deciding to use it.

How To Clean Your MacBook Screen

Cleaning a MacBook's screen with a microfiber cloth.

Properly cleaning your MacBook screen is essential to improving the display’s lifespan.

If you clean the display incorrectly, you may accidentally damage the screen. If you fail to clean it, dust and debris can cause damage.

For this reason, it’s important to maintain a proper cleaning routine.

Apple directly advises the proper steps for cleaning your screen on their website. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to get it looking as good as new.

  1. Power off the display. You can do this by shutting down your MacBook and removing the power cord and any connected devices. If you’re cleaning an external display, disconnect the display from its power cord and your MacBook.
  2. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe dust away from the screen. Don’t use abrasive materials to wipe the screen.
  3. If necessary, dampen the microfiber cloth with 70% isopropyl alcohol to wipe your display. Avoid leaving droplets of moisture or allowing the isopropyl alcohol to drip.

It’s important to note that you need to use 70% isopropyl alcohol when cleaning your MacBook screen.

If you use other solutions, you may inadvertently damage your MacBook. Apple advises users against using acetone-based agents or alternative chemicals to clean their screens.

Also, never spray a cleaner directly onto your MacBook screen. It can drip down and damage your laptop’s internal components.

You should always spray the cleaner directly onto the microfiber cloth you intend to use for cleaning the screen.