Apple Says You Can Use Disinfectant Wipes to Clean iPhones as Coronavirus Continues to Spread

The tech company previously advised against doing so for fear it would damage the product

wiping iphone
Photo: Getty

Practicing good hygiene to prevent the spread of coronavirus includes keeping cell phones germ-free. But Apple had long advised its customers to avoid using disinfecting wipes on gear like iPhones, as the harsh products could damage screen coating and possibly cause scratches.

But, as The Wall Street Journal reported, the tech company updated its guidelines on Monday to let users know that actually, disinfectant wipes are just fine to use.

Now, Apple says those eager to scrub their phones of dirt and grime can use Clorox Disinfecting Wipes or a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe.

“You may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces,” the guidelines say. “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.”

The updated information comes as coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, with 761 confirmed cases in the United States alone, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

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The virus spreads person-to-person through close contact or respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and can be highly contagious, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the “respiratory droplets” can settle on surfaces like metal, glass or plastic and live there for two hours to as long as nine days.

Experts advise washing hands for at least 20 seconds, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth — though those precautions are made all the more difficult considering just how dirty smartphones can get, and how close they come to user’s faces daily.

A study from the University of Arizona, meanwhile, found that cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats, and have also been found to carry other serious pathogens, like Streptococcus, MRSA and E. coli, according to TIME.

Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, also told USA Today last year that all the germs picked up from places like ATM machines or self-checkout counters are easily transferred to cellphones, which are then brought close to your mouth, nose and eyes.

“If you’re coughing into your phone, those viruses can live on those surfaces for hours and can be transferred to others,” Susan Whittier, director of clinical microbiology at New York-Presbyterian and Columbia University Medical Center, told the outlet.

When you do clean your iPhone, Apple says to make sure not to use aerosol sprays, bleaches or abrasives.

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