Apple changes course, now says it's okay to clean your iPhone with disinfectant wipes

But gently, friends. Gently.

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Apple now says it's okay to use disinfectant wipes to clean your iPhone, according to updated language on its support website. The change, spotted by The Wall Street Journal, comes as the world grapples with the outbreak of the coronavirus that has infected more than 100,000 people worldwide and killed roughly 4,000. Apple previously advised against using disinfectant wipes to clean its products because alcohol could potentially damage the oil-resistant coating on its screens (but if you're like me you did it anyway).

Under a new section titled, "Is it OK to use a disinfectant on my Apple product?" the website now states the following:

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.

Maybe health concerns trump coating ones — Apple hasn't made any public comments tying the updated language to the spread of coronavirus, but the timing certainly seems less than coincidental. It's possible to be infected by COVID-19 by touching an object with the virus on it, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC recommends cleaning frequently touched objects to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And what do we handle more than our phones?

Confirmed coronavirus cases have been rapidly increasing in the United States, with 500 confirmed cases and 22 deaths. The virus is particularly harmful to the elderly and others with weakened immune systems, and U.S. officials have warned that regional lockdowns akin to those seen in China may be necessary if things continue on their current trajectory. So, keep your iPhone clean and your public transport time to a minimum. We can recommend a few apocalypse-friendly e-bikes.