There appears to be a big problem with the 2018 iPad Pro 11-inch and 12.9" models
What's the issue?
Ever since the new iPad Pro 11" (2018) and 12.9" (2018) models came out, customers of all screen protector brands have been experiencing touch screen sensitivity issues. While all iPads seem to be affected, not every iPad seems to be affected to the same extent. This is a very unprecedented situation, and as we believe in transparency, so we would like to make as many current (and future) iPad Pro users aware of this as possible.
Why is it occurring?
There are numerous popular theories online regarding not only how this issue is occurring, but also why it is only affecting the iPad Pro 11" (2018) and 12.9" (2018) models. We believe the reality is actually a combination of them:
1) The touch screen panels have inconsistent quality issues
2) Many of the iPads are not properly electrically grounded
3) The iPads are not completely flat (something Apple has now verified), and that this is damaging the touchscreen contacts.
4) The extreme amount of magnets in both the iPad Pro models and the official Apple cases has something to do with it.
Is it affecting everyone?
In short, no. It really depends on the screen protector product you're using and how affected your individual iPad is.
This incredibly long MacRumors forum thread shows not only how much inconvenience and confusion this matter is causing, but also, how varied the issues are by individual iPad.
The one sure thing (confirmed by many sources), is that no tempered glass screen protectors appear to be properly compatible with the touch screen. Some non-glass protectors are compatible, and indeed, many users in the MacRumors thread found the MediaDevil screen protector to be one of the few products that worked well (example 1), (example 2), (example 3).
Here is a video of us testing both an iPad 11" (2018) and 12.9" (2018) with our MediaDevil Ultra-Tough edition screen protector (which is not made from glass). Everything worked perfectly. We made this video in November 2018 and it would be wrong to suggest that, since then, 100% of our customers have experienced no issues. Prior to publishing this article (and after some hundreds of orders), 2% of customers had advised us of sensitivity issues from the moment they applied the protector. We do expect that proportion would have been higher if it were not for the fact that most iPads are used within a case (read on for further information).
Can the issue be fixed?
For many iPads, yes, there are workarounds to reduce or even eradicate these touch sensitivity issues, however, they are not guaranteed to work for all iPads. It seems that some are beyond fixing, with the only solution being to use zero screen protection or to return the iPad within the return period.
What can be done to fix this issue?
Here are some methods we can see that many users online have found helpful, albeit not everyone. They seem to resolve issues with many non-glass-based protectors but are unlikely to help with tempered glass screen protectors:
1) Disable gesture controls.
2) Use a case (preferably, an official Apple case)
It seems that, with a screen protector applied (even a MediaDevil protector), many 2018 iPad Pro 11" / 12.9 touchscreens are very insensitive unless the iPad is electrically grounded, such as holding the iPad with your other hand as you use it. There are also lots of people saying online that the screen is less effective when laid down, which could be related to this electrical grounding theory. It could be that the curving of some iPads is the issue here, but we cannot be sure. There are accounts online of screen protectors becoming incompatible after a few weeks, which would support this theory.
We have also seen more than one iPad Pro 11" owner mention online that their screen protector worked well when applied but stop working within a few weeks (we're not sure which brands they were using, however, we haven't received this feedback from our own customers). This would support the theory that the amount the iPad Pro models are flexing during daily use (whether within the expected tolerance or not), is perhaps damaging sensitivity of the touchscreen.
Adding fire to the confusion, one user wrote that when he stood on his regular floor, his iPad Pro screen was a bit insensitive with a screen protector applied. However, when he then stood on rubber matting, his iPad Pro screen was unusable. He then switched from using a 3rd party case to the official Apple case, which made the issue much less extreme, albeit the incompatibility with rubber flooring still remained.
3) Return or exchange your iPad Pro
If none of the above works and you must have screen protection, we recommend the gamble of returning your iPad within the return period for a new one. If you are outside of the return period, there is a chance that if your iPad is curved outside of Apple's internal quality tolerance standard of 400 microns (0.016 inches), they will exchange it.
Why are only the iPad Pro 11" and 12.9 (2018) models affected?
These are the first iPad models using this radical new design aesthetic, and we believe the immense number of magnets in the 2018 iPad Pro 11" & 12.9" and their official iPad cases may be playing a factor in the issues.
Here is a photo we took of the back of the official iPad Pro case using magnetic sensitive film. All the little black spots are individual magnets and their polarity varies greatly, and surely and there is a performance-related reason why Apple felt it necessary to go to this extreme?
Surely the Apple store screen protectors work perfectly?
Curiously, Apple isn't selling screen protectors for these devices. They do, however, sell screen protectors for all iPhone devices.
According to users online, Apple store staff are advising that these iPad Pro devices are not designed with 3rd party screen protectors in mind. Although 3rd-party screen protectors have worked perfectly on every iPad model until now, it seems to be a fair position to take, albeit an incredibly frustrating one for Apple's loyal customers.
Has Apple messed up?
Apple and its 'premium re-sellers' have sold 3rd party screen protectors for many years now and a large proportion of consumers use screen protection on their devices, We feel the general consumer expectation in 2019 is that screen protectors will have good compatibility with Apple devices (and those of all its major competitors). A positive move might be to proactively inform customers when a newly-released Apple device may experience issues with screen protection applied, just like we are trying to achieve with this article.
These new iPad Pro models introduced a stunning new design aesthetic for a device that was beginning to look a bit stale, therefore, it seems likely that Apple will release more models with this new format. It will be interesting to observe whether the issue is resolved for these future releases, or indeed, for future production batches of the current devices.
Why are MediaDevil protectors working better than other brands?
We could never have predicted that the iPad Pro 2018 models would have these issues and that the MediaDevil Ultra-Tough edition screen protector would be better-compatible than other brands. We spent the last few years developing this material with a UK advanced materials company, and a newly-developed component we added to the material mix just happens to be an incredibly good electrical conductor, and we (think) that's what is making the difference.