Why did Apple recommend disinfectants?
Traditionally, device manufacturers like Apple have recommended not using harsh disinfectants, as they can wear the oleophobic coating on the smartphone screen. This is a water-repellent layer that helps prevent fingerprints and stains from sticking to your smartphone screen.
This coating comes off naturally and slowly as you use your phone, but harsh cleaning products can cause faster wear.
How to Safely Disinfect an iPhone with a Wipe
On March 9, 2020, Apple updated your official cleaning guide to say that disinfectant wipes are an acceptable way to clean your iPhone, iPad, MacBook and other Apple products.
Specifically, Apple says you should use «a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox disinfection wipes.» Do not use anything that contains bleach.
Apple recommends sanitizing wipes and not sprays. If you have a spray, you should spray it on a soft, lint-free cloth (such as a microfiber cloth) and use it to clean your iPhone or other Apple product, rather than spraying it directly. Apple says you should «avoid abrasive cloths, towels, paper towels or other similar items.» Never immerse your hardware in any cleaning solution.
With its cloth, «you can easily clean hard, non-porous surfaces of your Apple product, such as screen, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces.» In other words, take the iPhone out of its case and clean the outside – the screen, the back and the sides.
Be sure to clean easily and «avoid excessive cleaning» to protect the coating as much as possible. A single pass with disinfectant wipe should suffice.
When cleaning, make sure to «keep moisture out of any openings». Do not allow the cleaning solution to drip onto or off the speaker grill iPhone Lightning port, e.g. This may damage the phone’s hardware.
Apple warns against using cleaning solutions on fabric or leather surfaces. For example, if you have an Apple leather case for your iPhone, you should avoid using a sanitary napkin on it. This can damage the material. However, if you have a case that can handle a disinfectant wipe, such as a plastic or silicone case, you should also clean it.
While doing this, make sure clean your AirPods with regularly as well.
What about the oleophobic shell?
The sanitizing solution will probably wear out the oil layer on the screen a bit. But everything does. Over time, it will slowly disappear as you use your finger on your smartphone screen.
With this update, Apple recognizes that disinfectant wipes are a good way to clean dirt from the iPhone. Just don’t overdo it. No need to clean again and again.
A soft, damp cloth with no cleaning solution is safer on the screen, but a disinfectant wipe will kill the most dangerous bacteria and viruses. Consider skipping sanitizing wiping when you are not worried about sanitizing your phone.