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Apple says it’s safe to clean your iPhone with disinfectant wipes

After years of advising us not to use disinfectant wipes on our iPhones, Apple has updated its website to let iPhone, iPad and Mac owners know it’s okay to clean their devices with disinfectant wipes. The new advice comes as the ongoing coronavirus outbreak worsens globally.

“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 company says. “Don’t use bleach. 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.”

Previously, Apple said not to use “cleaning products” on iPhones, with the concern being that the alcohol in disinfectant wipes could damage the phone’s oleophobic (oil-repellant) and hydrophobic (water-repellent) coatings. Still not OK for cleaning your Apple gadgets are aerosol sprays, bleaches and anything abrasive.

Though not directly mentioned by Apple, the updated language comes as COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, continues to spread around the US and other countries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it may be possible for someone to get COVID-19 by touching an object with the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eye, but that’s not believed to be the main way the virus spreads.

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