How To Clean Your iPhone

Every day, we spend an average of five hours on our cellular devices, scanning social media, reading endless feeds for news and entertainment, and attempting to satiate our thirst for content. Naturally, this means that our mobile companions are with us through thick and thin, taking on all of the elements that make us, “us” — and yes, we mean that in the most literal way possible.

Between talking on our phones, swiping through feeds and photos, scrolling the endless expanses of the internet, and scoring our personal best on Mario Kart Tour, there are moments where our devices acquire unsavory germs, dirt, and grime, especially in the hard-to-reach areas that aren’t consistently used. Below, we’ve laid out four ultra-easy, intuitive steps to clean your device in the event of excessive buildup, whether that be an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or MacBook. If you’ve ever wondered about the best way to clean your peripheral, but have been afraid to take the plunge, you might be happy to hear that the process is easier than you think.

How To Prepare

Primed For Care

To ensure that both you and your device are prepared for the cleaning process, be sure to unplug it from any electrical power source. This is crucial, as you don’t want any type of electric current flowing through your phone when introducing moisture to the exterior, where it can enter the phone through openings and crevices. This can cause irreversible damage to the device’s integral components and will leave you with a bricked iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.

Next, you’ll want to remove the phone’s protective/aesthetic case. For obvious reasons, this will only impede your ability to clean the phone, especially in areas where the dirt and grime might accrue in larger quantities. To ensure that your phone remains as sterile as possible after the cleaning process, you’re going to want to clean the case, as well. For this, follow the manufacturer’s directions, or use warm, soapy water and a paper towel to dislodge any buildup. This way, you won’t have to worry about dirt and grime making the transition from the case to your phone once you’ve put it back on.

After you’ve taken steps to clean your phone’s case, you’ll want to lay down a towel, or other absorbent material on a flat surface. Spread it out to ensure adequate coverage of the area, so that — should any stray fluids, dirt particles, or soap escape — you won’t be left with an even larger mess. Now that you’ve prepared the area, we’ll cover some of the things you’ll need for the cleaning process.

What To Look Out For

Skip Any Unwarranted Damage

Before cleaning your iPhone, be sure to understand and identify where all of the openings, entries, and crevices are. You’ll want to steer clear of these, especially when dealing with any kind of moisture.

Also, keep in mind that many iPhone models are treated with a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic, which is meant to act as a resistor to common skin oils. As such, using any kind of glass cleaner, surface spray, or rubbing alcohol can damage the phone’s finish, remove the base layer, and lead to eventual wear and tear that you might not have expected. Per Apple’s own website, you’ll want to stick to a very minute amount of water to clean your device, with things like hand soap being introduced (albeit, minimally) to battle excessive buildup of grime and dirt. Now that you know what to look out for, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of cleaning your iPhone with these 4 simple steps.

The Cleaning Process

Four Simple Steps

What You’ll Need:
Cotton Swab
Microfiber Cloth
Gentle Hand Soap

1. Remove Peripherals: As we’ve stated above, be sure to disconnect any and all cables, cases, chargers, or peripherals from your phone. Set these aside and clean them separately. Once you’ve removed all of your iPhone’s external accessories, power it off. Electric currents should not be running through the phone during cleaning, and when the phone is powered off, there is nothing to promote the deterioration of your phone’s internal components, should a small bit of moisture find its way inside.

2. Gently Moisten Lint-Free Cloth: Any microfiber cloth should suffice. You’ll want to use these ultra-delicate materials to remove dust and oils, without scratching or marring the surface of your iPhone’s glass. The case might be a bit more ruggedized, but it’s still recommended to use a microfiber cloth for this, as well, since abrasive objects can easily lead to damage. Gently moisten the microfiber cloth and ensure that there aren’t any stray droplets.

3. Clean/Wipe Accordingly: To clean your iPhone’s exterior, always move the damp microfiber cloth in the same direction as previous swipes. This will ensure that dust, dirt, grime, and fingerprints will make their way to the device’s edge, rather than being smeared around. Be sure to pay attention to the areas around the buttons of your phone, while neglecting things like the charging port, speaker holes, and other large openings. For these, you’ll want to use a toothpick or cotton swab to remove build-up, paying close attention as to not damage the phone’s vital pieces.

4. Dry: After you’ve cleaned the phone to your standards, be sure to utilize a dry microfiber cloth to give the device a once-over, removing any rogue moisture and dirt buildup. This will ensure that your iPhone will be ready for use as soon as you’re done.

Maintaining Your iPhone

Maximizing Its Lifespan

While it might seem negligible, cleaning your iPhone can keep it looking and performing great for years to come. As is the case with most electronics, conventional upkeep and a commitment to cleanliness can save you money in the long run, while also ensuring a clean, capable surface that’s free of any dirt, grime, or germs for daily use. All it takes is a few moments of your time, and you’ll find peace-of-mind carrying around one of the cleanest devices in your social circle.

The 15 Best iPhone X Wallet Cases

Now that you’ve learned about common upkeep for your iPhone (and other smart devices), be sure to check out our guide on the best iPhone X wallet cases to keep your device protected, and proactive.