One of the most effective ways to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is to wash your hands correctly, but after scrubbing for 20 seconds, you may wonder if it was a waste of time the second you touch your iPhone. After all, your phone is one of the filthiest objects you come in contact with on a daily basis, carrying 10 times as many germs as a public bathroom's toilet. And being an expensive piece of hardware, cleaning it isn't as simple as washing it with soap and water while singing "Happy Birthday" twice. In light of heightened hygiene concerns, Apple has released a statement on the matter: Wiping down your phone with disinfectant wipes is totally fine.
Most tech companies recommend sanitizing your devices with a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching the screen. According to Geek.com, Apple's updated “How to clean your Apple products” page now says that disinfectant wipes working in a pinch—as long as you use them gently.
"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," the new guideline reads. Apple warns against using bleach, getting moisture in your phone's openings, or submerging it in any type of liquid.
Alcohol-based cleaners have been shown to kill novel coronavirus. That's why, if you're stocking up on hand sanitizer, experts suggest buying a product that contains at least 70 percent alcohol (though washing with soap and water is still the best way to protect yourself and others). Alcohol-based cleaning wipes have also been recommended to disinfect the surfaces you touch every day, and now that can include your phone.
With or without a public health crisis to worry about, cleaning your phone on a regular basis is a smart idea. E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus are just some bacteria that may be waiting on your device.