Paperlike Review – Bringing Paper Feel to the iPad

If you’re a digital artist or someone that uses an iPad and Apple Pencil for a lot of sketching or note-taking, you’ve invariably experienced your stylus slipping on the surface of your iPad’s screen. But what if there was a way to draw and write on your iPad just like you were drawing or writing in a paper notebook?

This amazing creation is called the Paperlike Screen Protector for iPads and is a must-have for you if you use your Apple Pencil a lot to write or draw on your iPad. Don’t take it at face level, we’ll be sharing all the details on this amazing creation in this article.

What is the paperlike screen protector?

So what is this Paperlike screen protector that we’re talking about? Paperlike is a screen protector developed, specifically, for digital artists and illustrators to use on their iPads for drawing purposes. If you’ve ever tried to draw any illustration on your iPad using an Apple Pencil or another stylus, you would have most definitely noticed that your stylus tends to slip on your iPad’s screen, leading to an awful user experience. The founder/creator of Paperlike was no different.

Paperlike came about because the founder and creator of both the company and the technology was extremely dissatisfied with the experience of using an Apple Pencil with an iPad. Trying to write and draw on his iPad screen with the Pencil was a huge letdown for him, and the absence of any other alternative led him to develop his own solution. Where there is a will, there is a way indeed.

The founder and creator of Paperlike, Jan Sapper, worked on his own to develop the technology behind this product. Using the patented Nanodots technology, Jan was able to create something that would function as a screen protector for his iPad while allowing you to experience a paper-like feeling when drawing or writing on your iPad. After a few months of R&D, he ran a Kickstarter campaign in 2017 to get the funding to go into production. He then did the same in 2019 for the second iteration of this product, and by now the company produces protectors for every new model of the iPad.


Let’s talk about the compatibility of the Paperlike screen protector. Since it is being marketed as a screen protector for iPads, it’s very important for you to know if it will even fit your iPad or not. So let’s take a look at the iPad models you can use Paperlike with.


  • iPad 10.2” (2019, 2020, 2021 variants)
  • iPad 10.5”,
  • iPad 12.9” (with home button)
  • iPad 2018

iPad Mini

  • iPad Mini 2021

iPad Air

  • iPad Air 10.9”
  • iPad Air 10.5” (2019 variant)

iPad Pro

  • iPad Pro 12.9”
  • iPad Pro 11”
  • iPad Pro 10.5” 2017 (variant)
  • iPad Pro 9.7”

Design & features

Okay, so till now we’ve talked in general about Paperlike, its inception, compatibility, and effectiveness. But what makes the Paperlike Screen Protector for iPad so different from other screen protectors? Well, this is an overview of what we learned from both personal usage and technical reviews.

Let’s talk about design first. The Paperlike screen protectors come in a hard envelope package which consists of

  • 2pc Paperlike screen protectors (0.12mm thickness).
  • 2pc wet wipes.
  • Dry wipes.
  • Guide stickers.
  • Dust stickers.
  • Postcard.
  • Instruction manual.
  • Link to an installation guide video.

The protector, we found out, is very easy to install, especially if you have some prior experience in fixing your screen protectors. The basic premise is the same here too; you just get sticker guides and dust stickers for your ease, and getting 2 protectors means that you have one as a replacement if your in-use protector gets damaged.

Paperlike, as we discussed earlier, was developed using a patented technology called Nanodot smart technology, which provides you with a subtle feel of friction and vibration through microscopic dots in the protector. This leads to an experience very similar to writing or drawing on paper and stays pleasant even after long hours of usage. Other than this, we also noticed that Paperlike provides an anti-glare soft finish that somewhat improves the display of the iPad. Not having to deal with hurting eyes after a sketching session is pretty sweet, isn’t it?

So now that we have discussed the basics of Paperlike, let’s take a look at its features. After applying, the Paperlike iPad Screen Protector fits really closely to the iPad’s edge for full coverage. But the best part is that there is just enough gap between the protector and any iPad case you put up, which avoids the dreaded peeling that other screen protectors cause.

Moreover, whenever we were writing or drawing on the iPad surface, it does feel like gliding on a paper. Sketching on a smooth glass surface is not natural and most artists would agree, so the traction brought on by Paperlike makes it a more organic look and feel.

According to Paperlike, the new and improved version – Paperlike 2 has “the Nanodots surface technology, micro-beads distributed across the screen protector’s foil. The Nanodots make the Apple Pencil vibrate just so slightly to make it feel like you write on a rough surface, like paper. Also, the display light shines around and through them, minimizing refractions.”

What can it be used for? Who should buy one of these? These are important questions that we endeavour to answer whenever we review any product, and the Paperlike screen protector for iPad is no different. The main target audience of Paperlike is comprised of digital artists using iPads instead of drawing tablets.

Using the Paperlike screen protector provides these artists with a great sketching experience without having to switch devices. Another demographic, in our experience, ranges from college students and professors to CEOs and high-level officials who use their iPads for a lot of note-taking.

User experience

As far as the user experience goes, the Paperlike screen protector offers quite a good experience to its users. The texture of the protector is very subtle due to its Nanodot technology, which gives a sense of friction without feeling rough to the touch. We felt a distinctly positive difference when using the Apple Pencil on an iPad equipped with this protector. If you’re thinking that such a high tech protector might negatively impact your iPad’s visuals, we can assure you that that is certainly not the case with the Paperlike screen protector for iPads.

There are tons of digital artists and illustration experts that use their tablets and iPads for their sketches, and the Paperlike screen protector engages this demographic quite nicely by providing them with an imitation of drawing on paper. Other than artists, this screen protector has been targeted at audiences that use their iPads for a lot of writing and note-taking purposes. We’ve noticed a significant improvement in the workflow and user experience of professionals when using an iPad equipped with a Paperlike screen protector.

At this point, we would like to point out that the Paperlike screen protector is a specialised accessory geared towards a certain consumer base, so if you don’t have a need to use this exact protector, you’ll be better off looking for some other protector instead of paying such a huge amount of money just to get a screen protector.

The Paperlike protector is also quite durable, but the exact life of one of these will depend on your usage pattern. Likewise, the nib of your Apple Pencil might need to be replaced earlier or later on the basis of this same principle. For most users, if a Paperlike screen protector lasts for around six months of usage, it is more than worth the bucks it costs.

Paperlike: the Pros and the Cons


  • Feels like writing, drawing and note-taking on paper
  • Great for artists and executives.
  • The anti-glare protector gives a better experience in sunlight as compared to a matte screen protector.
  • Scratch resistant.


  • Expensive when compared to matte screen protectors.
  • Affects the iPad’s screen resolution to some extent.
  • Needs to be installed with care to prevent damage.

Paperlike review: our final thoughts

In our opinion, the Paperlike screen protector is an excellent product that is a must-have for you if you use your iPad for sketching or regular note-taking. It has the Nanodot technology that allows you to feel just like you’re writing or drawing in a notebook when you use a stylus or an Apple Pencil.

So if you fall under either of these categories, just hop on to Paperlike’s website and place the order for your very own screen protector. Just make sure you follow the instructions given for the installation, as well as regularly clean any dust using a damp cloth or fibre cloth.

For your benefit, we also reviewed some popular matte screen protectors and tried to see where they stacked in comparison with Paperlike. Even though most matte screen protectors cost a fraction of the Paperlike protector, in our opinion there are several good reasons why you should opt for a Paperlike protector if you’re into digital art etc.

When using the Paperlike protector, we got a subtle feeling of writing/drawing on paper that was missing in a simple matte protector. Similarly, the matte protector’s anti-glare feature fell short of the anti-glare provided by Paperlike. Additionally, the Paperlike protector is clearer than your run of the mill matte protectors in our experience, so you get a better visual experience using this specialized protector.

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