Apple: This is how you should disinfect your iPhone, iPad, and Mac

But don't mess it up, because liquid damage isn't covered under Apple warranty or AppleCare.

A few weeks ago, ZDNet posted a simple (and as it turned out, timely) question over on Twitter -- How often do you disinfect your smartphone? Two-thirds of respondents answered never.

How things change. And quickly.

Now that COVID-19 coronavirus has reared its ugly head, sanitizing gadgets that we hold in our hands and pockets all the time, take to the bathroom with us, and then hold exceedingly close, cozily so, to the orifices in our faces makes more sense.

Apple has updated its How to clean your Apple products instructions in response to coronavirus to include information on how to sanitize all things Apple.

Apple recommends using "70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes" to "gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces."

Sounds simple, but there are caveats.

  • Don't use bleach
  • Avoid getting moisture in any opening
  • Don't submerge Apple products in any cleaning agents
  • Don't use disinfectant on fabric or leather surfaces

Also, owners of Apple's $6,000 Pro Display XDR monitor featuring the nano texture glass need to be aware that this device has its own special cleaning instructions. Failing to follow these care instructions could damage the display.

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Apple is also keen to point out that if, during the cleaning process, any liquid makes it into the product, you could be in a world of hurt, and that "liquid damage isn't covered under the Apple product warranty or AppleCare Protection Plans."

So, take care. To prevent liquid damage -- and bear in mind Apple is good at spotting liquid damage -- I generally give disinfectant wipes a gentle wring to remove excess moisture.

Apple also has a big list of do's and don'ts:

  • Use only a soft, lint-free cloth. Avoid abrasive cloths, towels, paper towels, or similar items
  • Avoid excessive wiping, which might cause damage
  • Unplug all external power sources, devices, and cables
  • Keep liquids away from the product, unless otherwise noted for specific products
  • Don't get moisture into any openings
  • Don't use aerosol sprays, bleaches, or abrasives
  • Don't spray cleaners directly onto the item

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