Monday, March 9, 2020

Apple Changes iPhone Cleaning Guidelines

Juli Clover:

Apple today updated its support document on cleaning Apple products with new information that confirms it’s okay to to use a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes for the purpose of cleaning germs from your devices.

Prior to now, Apple’s cleaning guidelines have recommended against all cleaners, warning that the chemicals have the potential to damage the oleophobic coating on iPhone and iPad displays. Apple still warns against aerosol sprays, ammonia, window cleaners, hydrogen peroxide, bleach, compressed air, and abrasives[…]

I’m not sure what to make of this. I followed the link, and it leads to a page that was last updated in September 2019 and still recommends only using water. It also omits the iPhone XR.

Joanna Stern:

Turns out, we’ve been living an iPhone-cleaning lie.

After years of being told we cannot—and should not—clean our phones with disinfecting wipes, Apple now says you can. My extensive testing over the last few days proves the same.

Was Apple just being overly cautious before (or didn’t test with anything else)? Or are the newer oleophobic coatings better?

I also wonder whether it is possible to accurately test this over just a few days.


Update (2020-03-09): Tanner Bennett notes that if you add ?mod=article_inline part to the first link, you get the same page but with an extra note in a box:

Is it OK to use a disinfectant on my Apple product?

Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces. Don’t use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any opening, and don’t submerge your Apple product in any cleaning agents. Don’t use on fabric or leather surfaces.

Update (2020-03-27): Howard Oakley:

If the Coronavirus is going to die when left alone outside the body, why don’t we just leave surfaces alone and wait for that to happen? We can, and in many circumstances will do so, but that entails leaving possibly contaminated objects for several days, best at least a week, before anyone can touch them again. So in most circumstances, you’re going to want to disinfect things like keyboards, trackpads, mice, touchscreens, etc., rather than seal them away with big yellow-and-black warning signs attached.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

I bought a little UV C antimicrobial lightbulb (via aliexpress or some other Chinese website). I need to wire it up but it should do the trick.

You can get "uv c visualization cards" that change color with UV C exposure, that are sold to let people determine when a surface has received an antimicrobial amount of exposure. (

I didn't know about this and have disinfected my iPhone a bunch of times using Dettol sprayed on to paper towels and gently wiping.

I did this with my almost new (refurb) replacement iPhone SE just a few days ago...

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