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Yes, You Can Wash Your iPhone But It’s At Your Own Risk!

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Kshitija Agrawal
Kshitija Agrawal Mar 15, 2020

With the novel coronavirus outbreak, it’s safe to say that tensions are running high and people are starting to (finally) take hygiene seriously enough to, you know, wash their hands after going to the toilet or coming in from outside like normal human beings. However, amid all these 20-second rules and social distancing, I feel like there’s one thing people are forgetting… our lifeblood, our will to live, the one thing that helps us remain sane by tweeting out our daily frustrations to strangers on the internet: our iPhones. 

iPhone and Coronavirus? Are we being ridiculous?

Nope. Not at all. According to the Journal of Hospital Infection, “Coronaviruses can persist on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to 9 days”. 

Gulp! Our precious phones. What do we do? 

The Good News

If you’ve got yourselves an iPhone 7 or a newer model, consider yourself lucky because cleaning your iPhone might just become wayyy easier for you after you read this. That is if you choose to trust this method. 

Apparently, Leander Kahney from Cult of Mac isn’t just cleaning his phone, he’s actually washing it! Yes, with actual soap and water, under a running tap and all. (I shudder just thinking about it!) He even says he’s given his iPhone’s a wash in the shower before! And before you ask: yes, his phone’s working just fine.

The optimism behind this lies in the fact that newer iPhones are all at least IP67 waterproof; which means that your phone should likely be able to withstand some soap and water to clean it properly. Fair enough, I guess. Since we’re observing the 20-second rule and all already, it’ll be a waste if we just pick up our dirty phones back again with clean hands.

The Reality Check

Now, bear in mind that Apple’s official cleaning guidelines say nothing to encourage this line of thought. In fact, they expressly state that you should use only a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth to clean your iPhone. The only place they say using soap is okay if you have either the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, or 11 Pro Max – and I am guessing (also hoping) Leander Kahney has one of those handsets.

Of course, iPhones have proven to be surprisingly resilient when it comes to water, despite only being ‘water-resistant’ not ‘waterproof’. Still, you don’t want to end up as the person this guy is subtweeting:

However, Apple’s guidelines do answer the question of whether you can use disinfectant or not:

Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the exterior surfaces of your iPhone. Don’t use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any openings, and don’t submerge your iPhone in any cleaning agents.

And to be honest, I’d rather heed this advice than risk my iPhone XS Max during these times of crisis. You’re free to do whatever you think is right, but please don’t go submerging your phone in water just to test this theory. And when you feel the urge, just remember: your iPhone might be water-resistant but Apple’s not sure enough about that to cover water damage in their warranty! That should say something, right? So if something does go wrong (and it probably will), it’s all on you!

And while you’re considering sanitizing your gadgets, here’s another wild idea: clean your Mac, too? How do you work with all that gunk in the keyword and that grime on your screen? 

Anyway, I’m off to go compulsively clean my iPhone again. No washing though—I’m not rich enough to try that!

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