One of my favorite iPad accessories for digital artists is a matte screen protector. It gives the slick screen of the iPad a rougher tooth and makes it feel more like paper. I love my matte screen protector, but it comes with a downside for your Apple Pencil tip.
Using an iPad matte screen protector will wear down your Apple Pencil tips faster than using your iPad screen without one. Given the rougher texture, matte screen protectors will rub away at the rubber tip more quickly, which makes it important to always have replacements on hand.
Even though matte screen protectors like the Paperfeel, Paperlike, and Like Paper can be rough on your Apple Pencil tips, I think that it’s worth it. If you decide to look outside of Apple, there are cheap Apple Pencil tip options that will lower your costs, even if you find yourself needing replacements sooner than you normally would.
There are also some things you can do to lessen the wear and tear on your Apple Pencil as much as possible. Let’s talk about some tips for preserving your Apple Pencil tip, even with a matte screen protector.
How to Protect Your Apple Pencil Tip When Using a Matte Screen Protector
The reality is that your Apple Pencil tip WILL wear down more quickly when using a matte screen protector. There’s just no way around it. But, there are steps you can take to at least limit the amount of tip replacements you need.
1. Draw Lightly
You don’t need to put a lot of pressure on your Apple Pencil in order for it to work. It’s actually pretty incredible that iPads can pick up the lightest of touches (or frustrating if you tend to make a lot of accidental marks like I do).
Even if you’re using a pressure sensitive brush in Procreate (one that gets thicker as you push down, like many of the paintbrushes and inks), you don’t need to apply a lot of pressure to get the maximum effect of the brush.
Pay attention to how you use your Apple Pencil and whether you tend to push down firmly on your screen. Even if you don’t, are you pushing harder than you need to?
The lighter your touch with your Apple Pencil, the best chance you’ll have for preserving the tip as long as possible.
Even if you believe that you don’t have a problem with pressing down too hard on your iPad screen, humor me and see what you notice. Most of us can lighten up, even if it’s just a little bit. A slight change to the amount of pressure you apply with your Apple Pencil can lengthen the lifespan of its tip.
Challenge yourself to apply as little pressure as possible and see what happens.
2. Use Apple Pencil Tip Covers
Instead of using your Apple Pencil tip on it’s own, try adding a cover to it for extra protection. These covers are sensitive to your iPad screen, which means that you can use them during your drawing, writing, and other iPad tasks.
That said, I would mainly use them for tasks other than high precision drawing. Even though they are sensitive to your iPad screen, they add another layer to your tip, which naturally increases the distance between your iPad screen and the technology within the Apple Pencil that actually produces your lines.
So, you might notice a lag.
My suggestion is to get a feel for how these covers work, and then to use them accordingly. You might use them for bigger swaths of coloring, work that requires less precision, or tasks other than art. Or, you might realize they work for all of your art needs and use them consistently. Feel it out!
These covers WILL wear down in the same way as your Apple Pencil tip does. But, you can buy a LOT more of them for a cheaper price than Apple Pencil tips, even in comparison to the non-Apple brand tips.
For example, at the time of this writing, you can buy 40 covers for less than $10. That’s pretty cheap. Even if you only use them every once in a while for your non-drawing Apple Pencil needs, you’ll relieve some of the wear and tear on your Apple Pencil.
3. Try Cheaper Apple Pencil Tips
As I’ve mentioned, you don’t necessarily need to buy the Apple branded Apple Pencil tips all of the time. If you buy knock off brands, they can be much cheaper, which will ease the financial stress of wearing them out all of the time.
Browse through the options on Amazon and find ones that have good reviews, come in a pack of 2-4, and are at the price you’re looking for.
I personally have purchased the MEKO 4 pack for $12. Even if I go through a tip a month, that’s only $3 a month per tip, which is worth it to me.
4. Decide Whether Your Matte Screen Protector is Worth it
At the end of the day, wearing down your Apple Pencil tip more quickly than normal is the name of the game with matte screen protectors. This means that you really have to consider whether it’s worth it.
Does the paper-like matte screen help you enough as you draw to justify the cost of replacing your Apple Pencil tips more frequently? If the answer is no, then you might want to get rid of your screen protector.
Personally, I think it’s worth it, but everyone has their own preferences.
If drawing more lightly, using covers, and buying cheaper tips isn’t cutting it for you, that’s ok. If someone else in your household has an iPad that doesn’t have a matte screen protector on it, ask if you can borrow it and get a feel for the naked screen. Then, you can really decide which direction you want to go.
Whatever you decide, have fun using your iPad and create great art!