Most people’s smartphones are an extension of their hand, your device goes where you go. We’ve previously stressed the importance of keeping your tech clean on an everyday basis, and amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic that we’re collectively enduring, it might be time to revisit this topic.
Just think about your smartphone’s journey through the day, you carry it to the bathroom, keep it on your desk, place it on different surfaces at the gym. You hold on to the metro railing just before grabbing your device, pass it to a friend to show them a funny video (you have no idea where their hands have just been!), and let’s be honest, you’ve tried to clean a grimy spot with your own spit. No judgement. Smartphone devices can pick up germs pretty easily, believe it or not, your device might be dirtier than a toilet bowl!
Currently, we’re being bombarded with reminders to wash our hands constantly (and with good reason) to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus from person to person. An infected individual borrowing your phone, or even someone coughing behind you in line at the store, could result in their germs sitting atop your device. German researchers have reported that the coronavirus can survive on surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to 9 days, but can be effectively combatted by surface disinfectant products within just a minute.
Previously, Apple has warned its users against using alcohol solutions or disinfectant wipes from cleaning their iPhones, fearing that it might damage the screen or protective coating on their devices. But in light of the coronavirus outbreak, Apple has updated its guidelines to ensure their customers are taking the necessary precautions to stay healthy:
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.
Depending on the material and design of your smartphone, you can adopt these measures to clean your own device. Typically, using mild soap and water is a good habit to keep your device clean, but given the current situation, taking the extra step with disinfectants or alcohol could make the difference to your health. Make sure you use a soft cloth such as microfibers or an old cotton t-shirt when you clean your smartphone to preserve the integrity of the screen and protective coating. And while you’re at it, it won’t hurt to give your laptop, tablet, and earphones a good wipe down as well.
Apart from keeping your devices squeaky-clean, practicing cleanliness and good hygiene habits with your technology can go a long way, whether its reducing your risk for the next flu, or even just improving your skin (think about the germs on your device that are in contact with your face every time you use the phone!).
- Wash your hands… regularly! You’re probably sick of hearing this, but it is truly one of the most preventative practices.
- If you’re lending your phone to a friend for a quick call opt for hands-free options such as speakers or earphones.
- Avoid constantly touching your face with your device every time you’re on a call – go for a hands-free option and your skin will thank you.
- Avoid taking your phone to the bathroom. This might seem like an impossible habit to break for a lot of people, but think about it next time you touch someone else’s phone (gross!).
Avoid keeping your smartphone on dicey public surfaces such as the gym or the seat on the metro. That phone is better off in your pocket!