Coronavirus: How To Clean And Disinfect Your iPhone & Other Smartphones

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At this moment in time, everyone is wondering how to practice proper iPhone cleaning techniques. As the coronavirus continues to spread and affect daily life, everyone is becoming much more aware of how to sanitize our homes, bodies, and possessions. As many of you may already know, your phone tends to be one of the things you touch most during a day. We can argue that it’s usually one of the dirtiest items you own.
With the spread of the novel coronavirus around the world, people are more concerned than ever with staying clean and germ-free. People know, too, that their Smartphones and other devices can carry more than a few germs, making it important to clean those gadgets every now and again.

But how should you be cleaning your smartphone or tablet? And how worried should you be about catching or spreading a virus like COVID-19 via your trusty smartphone in the first place?

While you may know how to clean your flat screen monitor, TV, or laptop screen, today we’re going to learn something different. We’re going to look at how to properly disinfect your iPhone.

That process may sound easy and..well, it kind of is. However, you’d be amazed by how easy it can go wrong if you don’t follow a basic series of steps.

To help ensure that you’re cleaning your iPhone cleaning sessions are for more than just show, here’s a basic how-to on properly disinfecting your phone.

Basic Cleaning Steps

Luckily for all of us,Apple outlines basic iPhone cleaning instructions on their website. Here are the simple steps you can follow to disinfect youriPhone.

Unplug all cables and power off your iPhone.

Use a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth such as a lens cloth.

In case material is still present, use a soft, lint-free cloth with warm soapy water.

Avoid getting moisture in any opening.

Don’t use cleaning products or compressed air.

Interestingly, Apple outlines some slightly different cleaning instructions based on what model of iPhone you own. Essentially, the instructions are the same, but here are a couple of points you should keep in mind.

iPhone 8s and later have a fingerprint-resistant coating. However, this coating can diminish over time and through the wear of repeated cleanings. Be careful while cleaning these modelsand be aware of the coating’s reduction.
If your iPhone model doesn’t have that protective coating, you’re going to have to be more aware of lingering fingerprints and how oils may affect it. Clean these models more often and more carefully.
If you have an iPhone model with a home button, you need to take that into consideration during iPhone cleaning. A dirty home button may affect your iPhone’s touch ID functionality. Be sure to wipe the home button-down with a soft cloth.
Earlier models of iPhones might have additional ports and openings that must be cleaned. Follow basic cleaning guidelines when cleaning these ports carefully.

Can You Safely Disinfect Your iPhone?

The short answer is yes. You can disinfect your iPhone. However, we want to stress on the term “safety.”

Apple says that it’s okay to use a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe on your iPhone. You may use this wipe to softly clean the exterior of your device. As always, try not to apply unnecessary pressure. In addition, you should not let excess moisture to gather.

It’s also important to note that you should not be using sprays or liquids directly during iPhone cleaning. Doing so may lead to excess moisture creeping into the interior of your iPhone. The same is true for hand sanitizer which can seriously damage your iPhone’s screen. If you must use a spray, always apply it to a soft cloth before wiping your iPhone.

If you are not aware, it’s also very important to avoid the use of bleach or rubbing alcohol for your iPhone. You can easily ruin your device with such products, and we don’t think Apple will accept to replace your bleached iPhone.

When using a wipe during iPhone cleaning, be sure to pay attention to your screen, the back of the device, and other commonly touched areas. Avoid ports whenever possible and try to dry your phone with a soft cloth after giving your phone enough time to dry.

What Products Can You Use For iPhone Cleaning?

70% Isopropyl Alcohol Wipes

70% is the magic mark for disinfectant wipes. That percentage guarantees the effectiveness of the wipe as far as killing most known germs and bacteria is concerned. Most of the more popular disinfectant wipes (such as those made by Clorox) contain the most appropriate percentage of alcohol. Of course, you should always check just to be sure

70% Isopropyl Alcohol Sprays

As we pointed out, it’s completely okay to use a spray during iPhone cleaning. You just have to be sure to not apply the spray directly to your iPhone. Instead, spray the product onto a soft piece of cloth and then use it to gently wipe your iPhone.

Compressed Air

One of the best ways to clean your iPhone’s ports and crevices is compressed air. This way, you don’t have to make physical contact with your iPhone. While using compressed air, it’s much safer to use than other alternatives. Just keep in mind to follow your compressed air’s guidelines in order to ensure proper iPhone cleaning safety.


Q-Tips (or a non-branded equivalent) are an underrated way to clean your iPhone. By applying a recommended disinfectant solution to a cotton swab, you can easily clean your iPhone’s ports and other areas that are difficult to reach. Just avoid applying too much pressure when using a swap or tear the cotton.

Microfiber Wipes

Another great tools for iPhone cleaning are Microfiber wipes. Not only can you use dry ones to wipe fingerprints, but you can apply disinfectant to them to safely clean the rest of your iPhone. You cannot go wrong with these if you want the best overall iPhone cleaning solution around.

What Products Shouldn’t You Use For iPhone Cleaning?

Soap/Hand Sanitizer

While it’s theoretically possible to use these in a way that won’t damage your iPhone, this is not an ideal iPhone cleaning solution. They’re messy, and if you love your iPhone, stay away from using them. A little soap mixed with warm water is okay in a pinch, but be sure to properly mix it with water beforehand.

Paper Towels

There has been some debate about whether or not to use paper towels for iPhone cleaning. While it’s generally agreed that you can do it safely, it’s certainly not the most effective iPhone cleaning solution. Paper towels can be coarse and may end up scratching your iPhone.

Bleach/Pure Alcohol

This is probably the biggest “No” we’ll cover in this article. While bleach and alcohol are undoubtedly ideal in their own right, they can easily damage your iPhone. Even when using sprays, try to be very careful with how much you use and how you apply it to your screen.

General Cleaning Tips

Having the most appropriate item is one thing, but here are some good, general tips to follow for proper iPhone cleaning.

Lay Your iPhone on a Soft Surface

Even if you’re very careful, it’s easy to inadvertently apply too much pressure to your iPhone. In that regard, it’s best to place your iPhone on a towel or similarly soft surface before you start to clean it.

Use Small, Circular Motions on Your Screen

In order to ensure complete coverage and maximum safety, it’s recommended that you clean your screen in a small, circular motions. While it’s not the only way to clean your iPhone, it’s the most preferred method by most people.

Perform iPhone Cleaning As Often As You Can

In the best of times, it’s okay to clean your iPhone about once a month. However, the most recommended frequency is once a week if you want to be truly safe. If you (or others around you) are sick, then i recommend that you clean your iPhone daily until the situation changes.

Do Not Neglect Your Accessories

Proper iPhone cleaning also means taking care of your phone’s biggest accessories. That obviously includes your phone case, but don’t overlook your charger and other items that regularly come in contact with your iPhone.

Are UV Light Cases Effective for iPhone Cleaning?

In case you don’t know, you can buy cases such as a PhoneSoap which bathe your iPhone in UV light. The manufacturers of these devices claim that this light can kill up to 99% of germs.

While most studies show that is true, it’s important to understand a few things. First off, these cases won’t do anything for dirt and fingerprints. You’ll still need to practice traditional iPhone cleaning methods to take care of those problems. Second, that research is based on limited sample sizes. That means that some bacteria and diseases may not be accounted for and may not be killed by the UV light.

You can absolutely use a UV case as part of your iPhone cleaning process. You should just know that it might not offer the total solution you’re looking for.

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GeeksModo Staff is a team of iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch experts led by Moses Johnson. We're passionate about all things Apple!
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