Installing a Skin on Your Cell Phone

Daily wear and tear on a mobile device can lead to unsightly scratches or, even worse, cracks and chips that damage performance as well as appearance. Cases act as hard shells to shield phones from impact damage, but they are also bulky and hard to handle. The best compromise between protection and aesthetics is a cell phone skin. These thin plastic films can be customized in infinite patterns while still blocking scratches and absorbing force from falls. Although installing them can be a little tricky, with the right precautions you can have a stylish-looking phone without worrying about the occasional accident.

Choose the Right Skin
First, a phone’s skin must be designed to fit it properly. Cell phones come in all shapes and sizes, so it is better to buy a skin made specifically for your phone’s model. This is easier for popular phones such as the iPhone, but most brands have plenty of options to choose from. You can find skins at larger retail stores, online or in specialty phone and carrier shops. Be sure to double check the packaging to guarantee you have the right version before moving on.

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Remove the Battery
Once you have the skin, you must prepare your phone for installation. Most phones have removable batteries; pop it out and set it aside. If your phone’s battery cannot be removed, power it down completely. This is because cell phone skins require water to attach properly, which can destroy batteries and cause damage to the entire phone. Take this time to also wipe down the phone’s exterior, removing any fingerprints, smudges, or other decorations that will later be trapped under the skin.

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Apply the Skin
Mix a solution of liquid soap and water at a ratio of about a quarter teaspoon soap for every 10 ounces of water. Pour this solution into a clean spray bottle or let it sit in a bowl. Spray bottles are more effective and easier to work with, but not mandatory. Dip your fingers in the solution or spray them before carefully pulling the skin off of its sheet. Mist the adhesive side with the soapy water. Lay the skin on the phone in its intended position. The solution should help it move freely as you adjust it into place, but if not, remove the skin and apply more water.

Smooth the Skin
Gently massage the skin, without moving it too much, to seal it to the phone and work out water and air from underneath it. The skin should lie flat, straight and even across the surface of the phone. Push the edge of a coin or credit card along the skin to squeeze out bubbles. Any air underneath the skin will make it curl and twist as it dries, ending up both ugly and ineffective. Keep pressing as it dries. It should begin sticking within half an hour, but wait a full day before using your phone again. This gives leftover moisture time to evaporate and will prevent the skin from sliding with premature use.

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