Every time you touch your phone you transfer bacteria to it from other surfaces you’ve touched. And since many of us tend to be on our phones a lot, that means they get covered in germs.  Here’s how to clean your iPhone the right way.

Don’t

First, you can’t use just any cleaner. Most household cleaners can do more harm than good, such as destroying the oleophobic coating on your screen that repels oils from your fingers. And definitely don’t use anything abrasive. You shouldn’t use any cleaner that contains:

  • Ammonia
  • Bleach, whether it’s Clorox or Hydrogen peroxide
  • Solvents like acetone, benzene, etc.

Do

Before cleaning, make sure your iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc., is unplugged from its power source. Use a mixture of half water and half isopropyl alcohol at no more than 70% strength. You can also use mild soap or even a lens cleaner meant for eyeglasses/sunglasses.

Unless your phone is water resistant, don’t spray it directly with liquid. Instead, dampen a soft cloth with this mixture, like a lint-free microfiber cloth. Don’t use a paper towel or toilet paper because these are abrasive. If you have an old, soft T-shirt lying around, you can use that.

Don’t forget your iPhone case if you use one. Cases made of silicone and plastic can be completely submerged in water. Gently scrub them with mild soap. If you have a leather case you may need to check the manufacturer’s website for instructions. Try to find soap that is specially made for leather, like saddle soap.

Apple has a support page on how to clean your iPhone and other devices but my advice above is a general rule of thumb.

2020-03-09 Update

Apple updated its support page for cleaning advice today. Along with recommending 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes it’s also safe to use Clorox Disinfecting Wipes.

Further Reading

[Let’s Encrypt Revokes Certificates After Finding a Bug]

[Apple Shares Best Night Mode Pictures Shot on iPhone 11]

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Lee Dronick

Software bugs