iPhone 4 screen cleaning tips from Apple

iPhone 4 screen cleaning FAQ: How do I clean the front screen on my iPhone 4 (the iPhone 4 glass)? Also, what kind of iPhone 4 cleaning cloth can I use?

I just bought an iPhone 4 a few days ago, and the front glass screen and oleophobic coating is pretty awesome. I used it for a while without noticing any smudges on the glass. As soon as I got a little bit of a smudge on it this morning I began to wonder, how am I supposed to clean the iPhone 4 screen/glass?

iPhone 4 screen cleaning - Apple support info

Unfortunately Apple doesn't have any screen cleaning information on their main iPhone 4 web page, but after searching their support site I was able to find a PDF document that describes the recommended iPhone 4 cleaning process. They make two different statements about iPhone 4 glass cleaning, so I'll share both of those here so you can choose.

iPhone 4 Screen Cleaning - Use a dry cloth

Apple makes this statement about iPhone 4 cleaning in one area of their support PDF:

The front and back glass surfaces (of the iPhone 4) 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 iPhone 4 screen fingerprint smudges, use this technique. (The closest thing I have to this description is an old t-shirt, so I'll be giving that a try.)

iPhone 4 Screen Cleaning - Use a damp cloth

Surprisingly, before this section in the Apple support document, they begin a paragraph with, "To clean iPhone 4 ...", followed by these statements, which I've provided here in a list format:

  1. Unplug all cables and turn off your iPhone 4.
  2. Use a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth to clean the iPhone, including the front iPhone 4 glass screen and the back iPhone 4 surface, which is also glass.
  3. Avoid getting moisture in the cracks or openings.

Apple also specifically says not to use any cleaners or solvents when cleaning the iPhone 4, as they can damage the special oleophobic coating:

Don't use window cleaners, household cleaners, aerosol sprays, solvents, alcohol, ammonia, or abrasives to clean iPhone 4.

iPhone 4 cleaning cloth

So far the iPhone 4 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 iPhone 4, so I don't use those.

If you wear glasses you can also use those special wipes that are designed not to scratch your glass lens, which are made of softer glass than the iPhone 4 glass. Either those special wipes or a soft bath towel should make a very nice iPhone 4 cleaning cloth.

iPhone 4 - Apple's "Water and Wet Locations" statement

In their iPhone 4 support document Apple also makes this specific statement about "Water and Wet Locations":

In case iPhone 4 gets wet, unplug all cables and turn off iPhone. Allow it to dry thoroughly before turning it on again. Do not attempt to dry iPhone 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 iPhone 4 glass, I thought I should include that statement as well.)

iPhone 4 Screen Cleaning - Summary

I hope this iPhone 4 screen cleaning information has been helpful. As mentioned, the iPhone 4 oleophobic coating is very good; it makes a big difference for fingerprint smudges compared to my previous iPhone 3G. But this morning I noticed it did have a few smudges on it, and that's when I decided to search the Apple support website for this information.