Apple Closes Stores, Updates iPhone Cleaning Instructions to Combat Coronavirus

The tech giant made some surprising changes to their recommendations.
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The World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus a pandemic and lockdown measures went into effect pretty much everywhere you can think of—school systems and businesses closed in major metropolitan areas across the western world, curfews, social distancing recommendations—it's a lot

Retailers like Apple have to deal with that. They've made some changes to longstanding recommendations regarding effectively cleaning and disinfecting their products.

Apple Devices

The following is new, from Apple.com:

Is it OK to use a disinfectant on my Apple product? 

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. 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.

The Wall Street Journal first noted the update.

Apple isn't stopping there. The House that Steve Jobs Built is also closing all U.S. stores and others outside China until March 27, 2020, for cleaning. The Verge reports that Apple CEO Tim Cook made the announcement in a letter on March 13th, noting that the "most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance."

Jobs continued on to say that his company is "committed to providing exceptional service to our customers."

The degree to which owners are expected to baby Apple products has been a point of contention for some, as Apple previously strongly advised customers to stay away from the use of strong cleaning agents for fear they could damage oil and water-repellent finishes.

CDC rendering of the coronavirus 

CDC rendering of the coronavirus 

The company hasn't changed these related recommendations:

  • 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.

Meaning: Don't dunk your iPhone in bleach water no matter who coughed on it or got within seven feet of you as they had a coughing fit while stocking up on toilet paper at Whole Foods. 

Or resign yourself to getting a tougher phone. 

The best measure to fight the spread of COVID-19 for those who are able is still quite simple: Just. Stay. Home