After years of instructing customers to clean their devices using “only a soft, lint-free cloth,” Apple has suddenly warmed to disinfectants.
“Is it OK to use a disinfectant on my Apple product?” asks Apple, in a new section added March 9 to its support page on how to clean your Apple devices. Why yes it is!
“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,” Apple says. “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.”
Apple has placed a box containing similar information at the very top of its support page on how to clean your iPhone.
Previous guidance from Apple didn’t explicitly say not to use alcohol or wipes on its, but implied it was a bad idea. The company warned against using “cleaning products” on iPhones, saying such products could damage the phones’ oil repellant coating. The only cleaning solvent Apple suggested using was “a soft, lint-free cloth with warm soapy water” for the iPhone 11 series, and a “soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth”—note, no soap—for all previous models.
Apple didn’t explicitly connect the new language to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, but it’s hard to think of any other reason why the company would have abruptly felt the need to clarify that disinfectants like alcohol and Clorox wipes are fine to use on your iPhone and other Apple products.
At any rate, this is good news considering that the new coronavirus, which causes Covid-19, is thought to live on surfaces like glass for up to four days. Phone screens are pretty gross at the best of times, but especially during a major epidemic. So while you’re doing all that hand-washing to your 20-second song of choice, don’t forget to wipe your devices down too… Quartz.com