3 Simple Steps On How to Clean Your iPhone

iPhone Cleaning

If there’s one thing we’ve all learned of the past year, it’s the value of a good cleaning. We’ve probably spent more time cleaning and disinfecting surfaces over the past year than we’ve spent in a good long while. And for good reason; the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating and is still quite prevalent in many parts of the world. Thankfully, keeping things clean and sanitary can help to keep us safe and healthy. 


If you don’t already know, the dirtiest, most germ-infested thing you have with you all day every day is your phone. They are filthy. We spend the whole day touching them, setting them on a wide variety of surfaces, taking them into restrooms, so they come in contact with an incredible amount of germs every day. And unfortunately, at least until recently, most of us probably didn’t clean them on a regular basis.


Thankfully, a lot of germs and bacteria, like those that cause COVID-19, can easily be killed with disinfecting sprays and wipes. The tricky part is that due to some of the materials Apple uses on the displays of the iPhone, simply grabbing a wipe to scrub down your phone might actually end up damaging the device. 


The material in question that could be damaged is called the oleophobic coating. This strange-sounding substance is basically a fingerprint-resistant coating that covers the glass to make it much smoother to use and it helps it avoid picking up fingerprints. Yes, fingerprints do appear on your screen as you use it, but if you’ve ever used a phone without this coating, you’d know that there’s an incredible difference between having this coating and not having it. 


It’s important to note too that cleaning your iPhone case is just as important as cleaning the phone itself. Think about it, if you leave your phone in a case all the time, you actually touch the case more than you touch the back of the phone so taking the phone out of the case and cleaning the back, doesn’t do you a whole lot of good if you just put the case back on. Whether you have a more standard iPhone case, an iPhone wallet case, or a premium leather case like the ones from Pad & Quill, it’s important to keep it clean as well.


The good news is that even with this oleophobic coating, your iPhone is remarkably easy to clean. Apple even offers tips on how to clean it without damaging it. It’s important to note that the recommended steps do vary slightly depending on the model of phone you have so be sure to pay attention to which model you have when you’re cleaning it. 


For the iPhone 11 models and newer (direct from Apple’s support page):


  • Unplug all cables and turn off your iPhone.
  • Use a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth—for example, a lens cloth.
  • If material is still present, use a soft, lint-free cloth with warm soapy water.
  • Avoid getting moisture in openings.
  • Don’t use cleaning products or compressed air.


For anything older than the iPhone 11 and including the iPhone SE 2nd Generation:


  • Unplug all cables and turn off your iPhone.
  • Use a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth — for example, a lens cloth.
  • Avoid getting moisture in openings.
  • Don’t use cleaning products or compressed air.

Apple does note on their support page that certain disinfectants are ok to use on the iPhone:

“Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe, 75 percent ethyl alcohol wipe, or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the exterior surfaces of your iPhone. Don't use products containing bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Avoid getting moisture in any openings, and don't submerge your iPhone in any cleaning agents.”



Aside from disinfecting your phone, there are other steps you can take to regularly clean your phone which helps not only keep you safe, but can keep the phone from becoming damaged as well.


Step 1 - Take it out of the case

Like we mentioned earlier, your case is just as dirty as your phone so you’ll want to take it off to give it a good cleaning. But more than that, all the creases and edges where your case wraps around your iPhone are perfect collection points for germs and bacteria. Taking your phone out of the case lets you clean up all those dirty cracks and crevices. 

Cleaning your case will depend a lot on the type of case that it is. If you have a hard plastic case, you can just wipe it down with a damp cloth and some disinfectant and call it a day. However, some cases need a bit more love. Cases made from natural materials like wood and leather often need a bit more care when cleaning, but the results are absolutely worth it. Not only can you keep yourself safe and healthy, but you can often restore some of the shine and luster of the case to continue using it for years to come. 


Step 2 - Wipe it down

Again, be careful what kind of cloth you use here. Apple recommends using a soft, lint-free cloth like the ones you would use to clean eyeglasses or crystal. They are sometimes called microfiber cloths, but be careful to get the ones designed to clean glass screens and electronics. Not all microfiber cloths are the same.

If you want to go for a two-for-one special and clean and disinfect your phone at the same time, you can use an antimicrobial microfiber cloth treated with SilverClear. DG-300 SilverClear is a material that kills 99.9% of bacteria and is built into the material of the cloth itself so you don’t have to worry about scratching your phone when using it. 


Step 3 - Repeat often

As we’ve all seen from the events of this past year, keeping the areas and things in our lives clean is one simple thing we can do to help keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy. We often don’t think about it, but our phones are most likely the most germ-infested things we touch throughout the day. 

Cleaning your iPhone often can go a long way to keeping you safe. 

Bonus step - Use a UV smartphone cleaner

If you really want to make sure all those nasty germs are dead and gone, you can opt for the “nuclear option” and get a UV cleaner to sanitize your iPhone. PhoneSoap makes the best one you can find, but it’s not cheap at $99. However, it is one of the fastest and easiest ways to clean your phone. 

Other notes

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your phone, it’s a good idea to take steps to keep it clean. First, look at your iPhone case. If you’re using a cheap, low-quality case, it might be a good idea to replace it every few months just to be safe. As we mentioned earlier, high-quality cases made from materials that can be cleaned should get cleaned whenever you clean your phone. 

Lastly, if you haven’t been using a screen protector, it might be a good idea to think about. Most screen protectors can be cleaned with any disinfectant wipes and they’re often inexpensive enough that you could replace them fairly often as well. Either way, much like you should regularly clean your home, your phone and phone case deserve a good cleaning every now and then too. 

It’s been a rough year for everyone. With everything going on, it’s certainly thrown into sharp relief how important the simple things in life are, like keeping your home and your things clean. If you haven’t given your iPhone and iPhone case a good cleaning in a while, now is the perfect time to start. Build in those behaviors now so you can be ready when the iPhone 12S, or iPhone 13, or whatever it is, comes out later this year.