The iPhone is an expensive piece of machinery. The new versions can easily cost you upwards of a thousand dollars, and they are loaded with features. It stands to reason, then, that you want to take the best possible care of yours. That means getting a case for it that will protect it from drops and spills, and it also means cleaning it periodically to make sure that there is no kind of dirt or grime accumulating on it or inside of it. Let’s talk about some specific things that you can do to keep your iPhone clean and functioning properly for a long time to come.
What Parts of the iPhone is it Possible to Clean?
Your iPhone is essentially a small, handheld computer. There are internal aspects to it and external ones. The internal parts are going to be considerably more challenging to clean, but it is possible for you to do so in a limited way. The external components are going to be much more readily accessible to you.
When you’re talking about what parts of the iPhone it is possible to clean, what stands out the most would be the screen, the ports, and the speaker. We’ll go over the best way to go about cleaning each of those elements.
Cleaning Your iPhone’s Screen
The latest iPhones come with glass that Apple describes as having an “advanced textured matte finish.” It is resilient up to a point, but you still want to protect the area around it with a case specifically designed for your generation of iPhone. You can find lots of different ones for sale through online marketplaces like Amazon, or brick-and-mortar locations like an Apple Store or mall kiosk.
The screen is slip-resistant and tough. If you carry the device somewhere like in your pants pocket or in a purse, though, then it is normal for it to come in contact with dirt, fuzz, or other particulate matter. The gunk that sticks to the screen is called “material transfer” by Apple. They say it may sometimes resemble a scratch on the screen. If you see something that looks like a scratch, then there’s no need to panic. Usually, you can clean it off without having to get the screen repaired.
The first thing you’ll want to do is unplug the iPhone if you had it plugged into your computer or a wall outlet. The perfect cleaning tool would be a lens cloth. These are soft, lint-free cloths that come individually or in packs. They’re sold on Amazon, in stores, or sometimes optometrists will carry them for cleaning glasses.
You can wet the cloth very slightly before cleaning the screen. Wipe away any dirt, fuzz, etc., concentrating on anything that looks like a scratch. Hopefully, it will prove to be superficial, and once you’re done, it will no longer be visible.
If a scratch is genuinely present, then you may have to get the screen replaced, particularly if it is getting in the way of the device’s functionality. If you have insurance on the iPhone, then that should cover the cost. Otherwise, you will probably have to pay for the screen replacement out of pocket.
You should avoid getting moisture in any openings. The best way to prevent this is to only wet the cloth very slightly. If it is dripping at all, wring it out before getting it anywhere near the phone.
What About Compressed Air or Cleaning Products?
Apple is very explicit about warning consumers not to use any type of cleaning products or compressed air canisters when they’re trying to clean any part of their iPhones, iPads, or other devices. There are some consumers who have had success with these techniques, particularly where the compressed air canisters are concerned. That would not be for the iPhone’s screen so much as it would be for the ports and the speaker.
It is probably best to err on the side of caution and not use compressed air canisters since Apple warns against it. Doing so might be tempting to get at the iPhone’s internal components, but you don’t want to risk damaging anything. Using compressed air will undoubtedly void any phone insurance that you have, and then you’ll be stuck paying for any repairs out of pocket again.
Cleaning the iPhone’s Charging Port
The iPhone’s charging port is another area where it’s not uncommon for the buildup to accumulate. It is the square tab that you see at the bottom of your phone, into which you insert the charging cable. If it isn’t nice and clean, your phone may not be able to charge.
Your three best weapons here will be cotton balls, toothpicks, and a flashlight. All of these are easy enough to acquire, either online or at various brick-and-mortar locations. Pocket-lint, dirt, and debris can become lodged in the port, and usually, much of it will be visible to you if you shine the flashlight in there. This can cause issues when you are trying to charge your phone because the charging cable cannot connect with the series of tiny pins located inside the port.
Make sure that your iPhone is powered off and not plugged into anything. Then, place your toothpick on a cotton ball, and rotate it so that some cotton wraps itself around the end. Hold your phone so that the bottom faces up, and then insert the toothpick wrapped in the cotton inside of it. Scrape against the port’s back wall, trying to get as much of the debris as you can. It’s great if you have a second person to hold the flashlight in position as you do this.
You can scrape the sides of the port as well but do so very carefully. There are spring-loaded anchors on the sides, and you do not want to damage them.
You may have to reload the toothpick with fresh cotton if the inside of the port is particularly dirty, or you might have to load up a new toothpick if the one you’re using breaks. Keep going with this process until you can’t see any more dirt inside the port when you or your helper shines the flashlight in there.
Cleaning the iPhone’s Speakers
If you are having trouble hearing a phone call, then it could be that the speaker on your iPhone has become dirty. Skin particles, oil, makeup, and dust are usually the culprits if you’re having difficulties with this part of the phone. Audio comes through the speaker grill of the phone, so it’s critical that you keep this part of your device clean.
The best tool for this job would be an unused, soft-bristled toothbrush. Locate the earpiece speaker on your iPhone. Where it will depend on which generation of the phone you have, but usually, it’s at the top.
Gently brush the earpiece speaker with the bristles to remove any debris that has accumulated. Then, it’s helpful to make a test call to see if you and the person with whom you are speaking can hear each other any better.
These are the principal components of the iPhone that it is possible to clean on your own. You can always open up the phone and take a shot at cleaning elements like the SIM card tray, but generally, because it is safely tucked away in the phone, no dirt or debris is going to penetrate there.
As long as you keep your phone in a case and treat it respectfully, it probably won’t get too dirty. Knowing how much these devices cost, you should try and commit to taking good care of yours from the moment you get it. That is the formula for owning an iPhone and prolonging its useful life as much as possible.