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Coronavirus: Apple says it’s ok to clean the Watch with disinfectant wipes

Hopefully you’ve been using disinfecting wipes on a regular basis for the past few weeks. If not, maybe it’s time to start. Apple has issued guidance on its website which says it’s okay to use them on your Apple devices, too.

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The Cupertino outfit has upgraded its guidance in light of the Coronavirus outbreak. The virus is spreading across the globe and has now infected over 120,000 people. Health professionals expect the situation will get much worse before it starts to improve. This could take 3 to 6 months, maybe more.

In light of that, Apple has changed its recommendations for cleaning its products. It seems the virus can live on surfaces such as glass, metal and plastic surfaces for more than a week. Which means it’s very important not only to clean your hands, but also your iPhone, iPad, smartwatch and other devices. Pretty much any product that you touch often.

The good news is, Apple says it’s OK to use Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes on all its devices. You should not dip them into any cleaning agent and, of course, using bleach is a no no.

“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 company says on its website.

Previously, the guidance was not to use any substance apart from water to clean your Apple product. The concern was that the touchscreen surface may get damaged if customers used harsh cleaning agents. This is because the touch display contains an oleophobic coating which is sensitive to certain chemicals. The Wall Street Journal tested the upgraded guidance by wiping an iPhone over 1,000 times with disinfecting wipes, and said the coating was fine.

There is also separate, detailed guidance on Apple’s website on how to clean your Apple Watch and band. The main takeaway is that you should not use cleaning agents or wipes on fabric or leather bands. Also, avoid getting moisture in any openings on the device.

Apple suggests wiping your watch with a non-abrasive, lint-free cloth. If necessary, lightly dampen the cloth with fresh water or a few drops of isopropyl alcohol. The alternative is to hold the timepiece under lightly running, warm water for around 15 seconds. You can turn and press the Digital Crown while doing this to make sure the small gap between the crown and the housing is also cleaned.

When it comes to leather bands, they should only be wiped with a cloth. You may dampen the cloth slightly with water, but not too much as leather bands aren’t water resistant.

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