How to properly clean your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch screen


The best way to clean dirt, grime, grease, and grit off all your iOS devices without damaging them or their oloephobic coatings

How should you clean your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch screen? Should you stick with a dry cleaning cloth or is it okay to use a cleaning solution? If so, what kind of solution is safest? From everyday usability, to applying screen protectors and stickers, to reducing the risk of scratches, keeping your iOS screen clean is something we get asked about a lot. And while it's not a DIY repair, it's every bit as important to know.

First off, if you own an iPhone 3GS or any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that came out after it, you're device has an oleophobic coating. This coating works to help prevent fingerprints and also makes it a lot easier to wipe them off using nothing but a dry cloth and in some instances, even a pant leg or inside of your shirt. Older devices don't have this coating and you may find you'll need to use a bit of water or cleaning spray in order to remove some substances and fingerprints.

If your device has an olephobic coating we don't recommend using any type of liquid cleaner on it as it can actually degrade the coating even quicker. Using a dry microfiber cloth or non-abrasive material will work just fine and should remove most of the oils from your fingers.

If you've gotten food or a sticky substance on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that is resistant to just a dry cloth you can use a bit of water to get it off. Don't apply water directly to your device but moisten the corner of a microfiber cloth and use that. You should make sure you wring out the cloth completely so it is only damp. Also take care not to get any type of moisture in headphone jacks, dock connectors, speakers, or underneath the Home button. After the substance has come off, use the dry part of the cloth to finish wiping it down.

Oleophobic coatings do tend to wear off over time so if you've had your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch for over a year or so, you may start to notice that the screen isn't as easy to wipe down as it once was. At this point it's probably safe to use a non-abrasive cleaning liquid. Always use something that does not contain ammonia, alcohol, or bleach. In short, you should stay away from household cleaners, window cleaners, and aerosol sprays. Only use cleaners that are meant to be used on electronics.

Again, don't spray liquid directly on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as you increase the likelihood of getting it inside the device. Spray the liquid onto a cleaning cloth and then continue to wipe down the device being sure to use a dry portion of the cloth afterwards to make sure there is no liquid left over.

Make sure you are checking labels on liquid screen and electronics spray cleaners to make sure they don't have any of the previously mentioned chemicals in them. If you want to stay on the safe side, the iMore accessory store also carries a lot of cleaners that are safe to use on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Cleaning cloths & sprays - Buy Now

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Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

How to properly clean your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch screen


I simply spray a bit on Windex on a paper towel, then wipe it down. Take a dry paper towel and wipe it off. Looks good as new and very inexpensive... Clean my iMac and MacBook Pro this way as well.

I've been using 70% or 90% isopropyl alcohol on computers and smartphones for years with no problems. I barely dampen the microfiber cloth, make sure the device is fully shut down, and gently wipe it off. It quickly evaporates (especially if you use too much and it drips inside or something), cuts through grease, and also kills bacteria.
All of these expensive sprays seem like a huge rip off. Also, if your monitor/tech wipes are super-fast evaporating, it's probably because they have alcohol anyway :)
The ammonia in Windex and the ethyl alcohol in things like Lysol have the potential to damage plastics, rubber, paint etc and shouldn't be used. I imagine these (and isopropyl alcohol) might damage the oleophobic coating but I use a screen protector anyway

LOL! I actually use the disposable wet cleaning cloths made for electronics and THEN wipe it on my pant leg.

I bought a cleaning kit from Sun Glass Hut years ago, and use it for all my screens (phones, iPad, MBP). Free refills for life. I fill it every couple of months.

Ive actually found the rag that comes with life proof cases the best cleaning rag I've ever used. I don't know what it is about that thing or what it's actually made of but it works so well that in two swipes every mark is gone. I keep one in the car and one at the house and use it maybe two three times a day and I hardly even use my lifeproof case unless I'm at the pool or beach.

Just use warm water on kleenex to wipe off marks, then use eyeglass soft cloth to remove streaks. It works for me; no need to invest in cleaners.

I always take my iPad into the shower and lather up a good lather with Irish spring. Keeps my iPad nice and fresh.

Hi, every mornign after I take a my shower, I use my damp towel to clean the screen. It works fine and never leaves streaks...

Don't use kleenex or a paper towel. They are made from trees! You might as well be rubbing bark on your screen!

Not bad.
There are 2 ways to clean iPhone junk files to free up more space:

One way to maintain your privacy is to delete cache manually. But you might delete some important files by mistake.

Another way is using clean tools such as Mac go iPhone Cleaner:
You download it in your computer (it has mac version and pc version).
Second,start the cleaner Connect your iPhone to Mac and open this cleaner, just two simple clicks and you can start the clean now.
Then, deselect the files that you wanna keep and click on Clean your iPhone button to start cleaning.