Your iPhone is probably not your cleanest possession. In and out of your purse or pocket, set down on tables and desks all over town, constantly handled by you and likely by others — our smartphones are constantly exposed to germs, dust and dirt. And that’s not even considering that cup of coffee, glass of water, beer, or other beverage that’s just waiting to spill, or the condiments waiting to drip on it.
Periodically cleaning your phone is a good idea both from a health standpoint and an appearances standpoint (it’s nice to have a phone that doesn’t look… soiled). And if you spill something on your phone, cleaning it soon is critical to ensure it keeps working properly.
While all iPhone models from the 7 forward are water- and dust-resistant, they can still be damaged by liquids and little particles, especially because the seal at the port where the lightning cable connects wears down over time.
How to clean an iPhone 7 or later
To clean your iPhone, use a soft, lint-free cloth (a clean t-shirt will do in a pinch) slightly moistened with water, and that’s it. No glass cleaner, baby wipes, soap, or anything. If you feel you must disinfect the phone, use a solution of 50:50 water and isopropyl alcohol, and apply it lightly using the dampened cloth.
1. Remove your phone case.
2. Turn the phone off and disconnect any attached cables.
3. Gently moisten your lint-free cloth with water.
4. Wipe lightly at the phone, applying minimal pressure.
5. Dry the phone with another clean cloth as soon as you are done.
And that’s it. If you feel your phone needs a deeper cleaning, or if something is stuck in the port, check out our article on cleaning your charging port, or perhaps head to an Apple Store.
How to clean an iPhone 6 or earlier
If you have an older, non-water-resistant iPhone, take extra care around the additional port where headphones attach — and keep excess moisture away from them if at all possible, cleaning with a relatively dry cloth. Otherwise, follow the instructions above. On older models, you can use a small amount of rubbing alcohol around the tray where your SIM card is inserted. And that trusty, lint-free cloth, of course.