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Apple says it's OK to clean your iPhone with disinfectant wipes

But you still want to avoid aerosol sprays, bleaches and abrasives.

Carrie Mihalcik Senior Editor / News
Carrie is a Senior Editor at CNET focused on breaking and trending news. She's been reporting and editing for more than a decade, including at the National Journal and CurrentTV.
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Carrie Mihalcik
2 min read

Go ahead, use that disinfectant wipe to get germs off your iPhone. 

Angela Lang/CNET

After years of advising us not to use disinfectant wipes on our iPhones , Apple is giving the thumbs-up to using some wipes to clean devices. The change comes amid heightened concern about the COVID-19 outbreak, with worldwide case numbers now topping 100,000

The iPhone maker on Monday added new language to its page for cleaning Apple products that notes Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and similar products with 70% isopropyl alcohol can be used to "gently" clean iPhones and other devices. 

Here's the new language, spotted earlier by The Wall Street Journal, in full:

"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. 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."

Previously, Apple said not to use "cleaning products" on iPhones, with the concern being that the alcohol in disinfectant wipes could damage the phone's oleophobic (oil-repellant) and hydrophobic (water-repellent) coatings. Still not OK for cleaning your Apple gadgets are aerosol sprays, bleaches and anything abrasive.

Though not directly mentioned by Apple, the updated language comes as COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, continues to spread around the US and other countries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it may be possible for someone to get COVID-19 by touching an object with the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eye, but that's not believed to be the main way the virus spreads. 

The CDC recommends using cleaning spray or wipes to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects to help prevent the spread of coronavirus (and other illnesses). As of March 8, coronavirus cases hit 500 in the US, and more than 100,000 worldwide.

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