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How to safely disinfect an iPhone – Apple has new advice

By now, most people should know that the best known steps for avoiding the contraction or spread of the coronavirus. The need for near-constant hand-washing, avoiding touching your face, lessening physical contact, touching surfaces in public and sneezing into a tissue have been drummed into us all over the last few weeks.

However, we’re also told to frequently disinfect regularly-touched objects and surfaces. So, what about the tech we spend all day mauling? How do we keep our phones and laptops free of those potentially nasty germs without risking damage to the expensive items?

In the case of Apple, the company has just updated a support page with details on how to disinfect an iPhone, seemingly after some probing from Gizmodo and other sites.

The company says that as long as you’re gently wiping a non-porous part of your gadget with certain types of alcohol wipe, you shouldn’t do any damage.

Related: Coronavirus crisis – imagining a year with no new tech

“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,” a post on the support page reads.

“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.”

Apple had previously advised that cleaning products might diminish a fingerprint resistant coating on the iPhone screen, but the updated text seems to reflect that some things might be a little more important than protecting the iPhone’s ability to withstand fingerprints.

“Your iPhone has a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic—oil repellent—coating. Cleaning products and abrasive materials will diminish the coating and might scratch your iPhone,” Apple says.

We’d probably be more comfortable using the 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipes than the harsher branded wipes you’d use for cleaning the bathroom perhaps. Remember, any action you take is at your own discretion and we’re definitely not offering any advice here, just passing on the message from Apple.

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