The Apple Pencil, one of the best accessories to supplement your iPad experience, is sure to further your productivity, and that too, with awe. But does overuse scratch the screen? Let's find out!
Being an Apple Pencil user myself, I was curious about the aftereffects of using the Apple Pencil in the long run, most notably how it affects the screen. Here's what I came to know:
Apple Pencils with intact tips will not scratch screens. But once the Pencil tip wears out, the probability of scratching the screen booms exponentially. Replacing the Pencil tip or applying a screen protector could negate the chances of scratches on the iPad screen.
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How Apple Pencil Interacts with the iPad Screen
As with any other modern-day input styluses, the Apple Pencil has to come in contact with the iPad screen to register an input.
Paired principally through Bluetooth, the Apple Pencil seamlessly integrates with the iPad. Although, the method of pairing differs between Apple Pencils 1 and 2.
Once the Apple Pencil makes contact with the screen, the iPad analyzes the changes in the electrostatic field of the display. This then corresponds to an appropriate input.
Obviously, a lot goes on under the hood with the Apple Pencil and the iPad that helps create the life-like strokes we all know and enjoy from Apple. But I digress; how Apple Pencil works is a topic for another day.
And so, to sum it all up, the tip of the Apple Pencil is the principal point of contact with the iPad screen that registers an input.
Now, if you observe the overall form factor of the Apple Pencil, you will notice that it features a rubber tip that makes contact with the Apple iPad.
On the other hand, iPads feature a hardened glass screen capable of withstanding usual aberrations caused by familiar elements (pocket lint, dirt, coins, metal prods, etc.).
Deducing from the facts mentioned above, the chances of an Apple Pencil damaging the iPad screen with a mere stroke or even a powerful one are slim to none.
While this is true for the most part, we can't completely ignore the likelihood of the iPad screen getting scratched under unfavorable circumstances.
Let's look at them now:
How the iPad Screen can get Scratches
Under favorable circumstances, with an intact Apple Pencil tip, you are assured of a risk-free experience that you would expect from the two devices, including nill chances of the screen getting scratched.
But once the tides turn on you, the chances of damaging the screen escalate drastically.
Some of the circumstances under which the Pencil can scratch your screen are:
- Worn-out Pencil Tip
- Dirt and Dust on the Screen
- An unfortunate fall
Here's a more comprehensive account of such chances:
Using the Apple Pencil with a Worn-Out Tip
Apple Pencils feature specialized conductive rubber tips to interact with the iPad.
And as intended, the rubber tip doesn't cause any damage to the iPad screen, at least when it is intact.
But once the Pencil tip wears out, you are in the gray.
With time and use, the rubber tip of the Apple Pencil will wear out, causing the tip to broaden.
A broad stylus tip can accumulate dust and dirt if it happens to take an unfortunate fall on the ground or acquire them with time.
Apple iPad, like most other tablet and smartphone screens, ranks at level 6-7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Hence, it can withstand damage from most elements, including metals and dirt.
But materials like diamonds and quartz (found on ground dirt) will scratch the display.
And if you happen to use the Apple Pencil with dirt particles engrained on the tip, it might scratch the screen.
Your best bet would be to replace the worn-out tip with a fresh one.
Other Circumstances of the Screen Getting Scratched
With the most plausible circumstance of the iPad getting scratched by an Apple Pencil accounted for above, let's now look at some of the not-so-obvious chances.
Dirt and dust, as mentioned above, can not only damage the screen when it gets engrained in the Pencil tip but also when they find their way into the iPad screen.
If you happen to use the iPad outdoors, due to some unforeseen event, dirt may get in the way of the Apple Pencil and iPad screen.
Consequently, using the Apple Pencil on a dirt-ridden screen can also scratch the display.
Another less likely but definitely plausible way of damaging the screen is through an accidental fall of the iPad itself.
If you're clutching the iPad precariously while using an Apple Pencil, there is a huge possibility for the iPad to slip and fall to the ground, damaging the screen in the process.
Of course, this is a very hypothetical scenario that can be negated by gripping the iPad firmly.
With that said, let's now look at how to avoid unnecessary accidents with an iPad and the Pencil:
Tips to Avoid Screen Damage When Using Apple Pencil
Damaging the screen, whether by choice or by accident, is always a cause for worry. But there are ways to avoid such mishaps.
Since we have covered the scenarios an iPad screen can get scratched, let's discuss a few precautionary steps to fend off such circumstances.
Here are some tips to prevent screen scratches:
Routinely Replace Worn-out Tips
With use and time, the rubber tip of your Apple Pencil will get worn out.
A worn-out Pencil tip, as mentioned earlier, is the principal cause of the iPad screen getting scratched.
And how do we prevent such a mishap? It's simple, check and replace the worn-out tips.
Apple provides a spare tip and a tip removal tool with the Pencil. All you have to do is to remove the worn-out Pencil tip with the removal tool and attach the spare one.
But how do you know when to replace the Pencil tip? Once the Pencil tip starts to broaden, a. k. a, when the rubber starts to wear, it's time to replace it.
If you have run out of spare tips, you can get new ones from Apple, but they tend to be a bit pricey.
Opting for a third-party tip can be fatal since most fail to live up to the actual thing.
However, there are a few reputed brands, like AWINNER Pen Tips, that do work as intended. You can also get in an assortment of colors!
Apply a Screen Protector
A screen protector is a no-brainer accessory for modern-day gadgets, especially tablets.
Among the many advantages of using a screen protector is that you no longer have to worry about your device screen being damaged, let alone getting scratched by the Apple Pencil.
And if you're wondering whether the Apple Pencil would work with a screen protector applied, rest assured, it does, and that too, as if it was not there!
Although, applying cheap and unreliable screen protectors, especially hard and thick ones, might affect the overall accuracy of your strokes. Latency, too, is known to shoot up under such circumstances.
Nonetheless, opting for a screen protector may be your best precaution against scratching the screen.
With that said, here are a couple of screen protectors that we would recommend for your iPad:
- Paperlike Matte Screen Protectors
- amFilm Glass Screen Protector
- ZAGG InvisibleShield Glass+ Vision Guard Plus
And there you have it, three incredible options to choose from, each better than the other.
Note: Using matte screen protectors may be the best choice for using the Apple Pencil, but at the expense of eating away the Pencil tip faster than usual.
Clean the iPad Screen and Apple Pencil Before Use
And to conclude our session, let's look at a more rudimentary yet effective tip - Basic maintenance.
An efficacious measure to blow off any chances of the iPad screen getting scratched is to clean the display before use.
The same can be said in the case of the Apple Pencil - check for debris, dirt, or dust on the Pencil tip before use.
A damp cloth (the finer, the better) should do the job. Although, you can use cleaning solutions to clean the screen as well.
And that's pretty much it!
Scratching up the screen of an expensive gadget like an iPad, and that too, with an Apple Pencil, can be painful not only for you but also for your wallet.
But taking precautions to stave off such incidents will pay off in the long run.
Regular maintenance and applying a screen protector may be your best bet against this predicament.
But then again, a nasty fall while using an Apple Pencil could end it all.
Regardless of such a scenario, leaving things to chance is futile. Best be prepared than worry later!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is it okay to use Apple Pencil without a screen protector?
Yes, it's perfectly OK to use the Apple Pencil without a screen protector on an iPad. Although, applying a screen protector does come with a few perks, mainly, an added layer of protection.
Is it okay to always keep Apple Pencil on iPad?
While one might think it is a good idea to keep the Apple Pencil always attached to the newer iPads, you shouldn't. The chances of losing the Apple Pencil while in transit is pretty high. If you happen to own a case with a slot for the Apple Pencil, then you're all set.
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