iPad screen cleaning - smudges, fingerprints, cleaning cloth, etc.

iPad screen cleaning FAQ: How do I clean my iPad screen (the glass screen)? Also, what sort of iPad cleaning cloth should I use?

The iPad screen has the same oleophobic coating as the iPhone 4 (see the iPad specs), and so far I've noticed a huge difference between iPad smudging compared to my older iPhone 3G, which doesn't have that coating. The iPad still gets some smudges and fingerprints on it, but it is a big reduction. So when I finally got some smudges on my iPad, it made me wonder, how are you supposed to clean the iPad screen?

iPad screen/glass cleaning - Apple info

Unfortunately Apple doesn't have any iPad screen cleaning information on their main web page, but after searching their support site I was able to find a PDF document that describes the recommended iPad cleaning process. (They also don't provide a direct link to that iPad support document, but you can find it by searching the Apple support website.)

In their support document, Apple makes two slightly different recommendations about iPad cleaning, and I'll share and discuss those here.

1) iPad screen cleaning - Use a dry cloth

For cleaning iPad smudges and fingerprints, Apple writes this in their support PDF:

"The glass surfaces (of the iPad) have an oleophobic (smudge resistant) coating. To remove fingerprints, simply wipe these surfaces with a soft, lint-free cloth. The ability of this coating to repel oil will diminish over time with normal use, and rubbing the screen with an abrasive material will further diminish its effect and may scratch the surface."

So, for simple iPad glass/screen fingerprint smudges, use this technique.

2) iPad screen cleaning - Use a damp cloth

For harder problems Apple also makes this more detailed iPad cleaning statement, which I've converted to step-by-step instructions:

  1. Unplug all cables and turn off your iPad.
  2. Use a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth to clean the iPad, including the iPad glass screen and the back iPad surface.
  3. Avoid getting moisture in any iPad cracks or openings.

Apple also specifically says not to use any cleaners or solvents when cleaning the iPad, as they can damage the special oleophobic coating:

"Don't use window cleaners, household cleaners, aerosol sprays, solvents, alcohol, ammonia, or abrasives to clean iPad."

One of these two iPad fingerprint and smudge cleaning tips should do the trick for you. Just remember, soft dry cloth for simple cleaning, or a slightly damp soft cloth for harder iPad cleaning problems.

iPad cleaning cloth

So far the iPad cleaning cloth I've been using is an old, soft bath towel. I first started cleaning it with an old t-shirt, but then I found this nice old hand towel that I don't use any more, and it makes a great iPad cleaning cloth. Whatever cleaning cloth you use, just make sure it's soft. I have some old bath towels that have designs woven into them that might scratch the iPad, so I don't use those.

iPad - Water and Wet Locations statement

In a related note, in their support document Apple also makes this specific statement about "Water and Wet Locations":

"In case iPad gets wet, unplug all cables and turn off iPad. Allow it to dry thoroughly before turning it on again. Do not attempt to dry iPad with an external heat source, such as a microwave oven or hair dryer."

(Since we're talking about using a damp cloth to clean the iPad glass, I thought I should include that statement as well.)

iPad screen cleaning instructions - Summary

I hope these iPad screen cleaning instructions have been helpful. As mentioned, the iPad oleophobic coating is very good; it makes a big difference for fingerprint smudges compared to not having any sort of protective coating on my iPhone 3G. Just use a soft towel as your iPad cleaning cloth, and either clean it using the dry towel, or a slightly damp towel (with the iPad turned off), and you should be in good shape.