The Paperlike iPad Screen Protector Is a Must-Have for Artists—and Anyone With a Smudged Screen

I recently purchased an iPad with the intention of mostly using it for drawing.

After I got myself a kit from Pen Tips (including a smooth drawing tip, Apple Pencil grip and drawing glove), I thought I had all of my bases covered. But that was before I stumbled across Paperlike on Instagram.

This unique iPad screen protector is designed to give your screen the texture of paper, with all kinds of benefits for artists and other creatives. I was curious, to say the least, so I reached out to the brand, who was kind enough to send me a set of Paperlike protectors. After using it, I can safely say I'm never going back to a naked iPad screen—and I don't think anyone should.

The Brand

Paperlike is a one-of-a-kind iPad screen protector that uses Nanodots technology to improve pretty much every aspect of your iPad's screen. The texture makes your Apple Pencil vibrate at a frequency that emulates the texture of real paper, while also allowing light to shine through without any refraction or reducing visibility.

Feel like drawing with an Apple Pencil on the glass screen of an iPad is awkward? Paperlike is here to help. Not only does it give you the tactile feel of paper to pencil, but the added friction also makes for improved precision, making pen strokes and even things like writing and notes look more natural. Paperlike also results in less muscle fatigue than tapping an Apple Pencil across a traditional glass screen protector—and it greatly reduces wear on the nib of your Apple Pencil, too. At the same time, the screen protector lessens glare and prevents smudges.

Paperlike screen protector handwritten notes

(via Paperlike)

Paperlike is available in eight different sizes, fitting everything from the 12.9″ iPad Pros to iPad Minis. All styles of Paperlike come in a pack of two screen protectors, plus a dry wipe and two sets of wet wipes, dust absorbers and sticker guide sheets for putting on each screen protector with perfect results. It retails for $39.99 with free worldwide shipping to most countries.

Paperlike screen protector

(via Paperlike)


The Experience

When my Paperlike arrived, I was so excited to start using it. But first, I had to apply it, and I had to admit that at first, I was slightly overwhelmed by the process. It wasn't that it was hard exactly, but I didn't want to mess it up and wind up with an off-center screen protector on my iPad. Lucky for me, Paperlike offers a thorough instructional video, plus written instructions, and after making it through the 10 steps involving aligning and attaching guide stickers, thoroughly cleaning the screen, applying the protector and pushing out air bubbles, my Paperlike was applied and ready to go—and it was perfectly aligned thanks to the included materials.

(Here's how to apply Paperlike 2021 from Paperlike on Vimeo.)

Immediately, I noticed the change in the appearance of my iPad screen. While the colors were just as vibrant and everything was just as visible, it also had a matte finish that I very much prefer to the overly shiny look. When I touched it with my finger, it actually had a pulpy paper texture to it, and I couldn't wait to get drawing with it.

First, I tried the Apple Pencil directly on the Paperlike. I was struck by the difference in feeling this achieved. It really did feel like I was using a pencil on paper, and the Apple Pencil reacted more like a standard pencil would if I were drawing something the old-fashioned way. I didn't have to draw lines again and again to get them looking on the page like they had in my head, and I especially loved the satisfying sound of the nib to the Paperlike, which sounded like graphite scraping a notebook page.

Paperlike screen protector doing a doodle

(via Paperlike)

However, I have to admit that when I put my Pen Tips back on my Apple Pencil, I liked the experience even more. Together, the smooth silicone tip on the Pencil and the texture of the Paperlike make for an essentially seamless drawing experience, with just the right amount of smooth motion and gentle grip to feel perfect. Check out the Swamp Thing tracing and coloring I did with them in tandem to see the kind of results you can achieve:

Amanda's swamp thing drawing


Another big upside? Before Paperlike, no matter how often I'd wipe the iPad clean, after just a day of use, it always seemed to be absolutely covered in smudgy fingerprints. With this screen protector, it always looks absolutely spotless. I can even see the screen better in the sun, something I hadn't ever considered. I love how versatile this thing is, and also knowing that if something does wind up happening to this screen protector, I already have a second one ready to go.


Bottom Line

Paperlike has become an utterly essential part of my iPad experience, whether I'm drawing or just using it to watch movies and YouTube videos. It makes every stroke with the Apple Pencil feel so much more accurate and satisfying, and it makes my screen look amazing, too. At $40, it may be pricier than most screen protectors, but it's worth it for the originality—and the fact it includes two means you may be able to share with a friend.


Want to get the most out of your Apple Pencil? Click HERE to find out why Pen Tips are also indispensable for iPad artists.