What just happened? Apple has long advised against using disinfectants to clean its products, but as the coronavirus outbreak continues, the company has said it’s okay to use certain wipes on iPhones, iPads, Macs, etc.

Apple had told users not to apply any “cleaning products” to its devices’ touchscreens as they may corrode their oleophobic (oil-repellant) and hydrophobic (water-repellent) coatings. But the company has updated its How to clean your Apple Products page with new information.

“Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the exterior surfaces of your iPhone,” states the site. “Don't use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any openings, and don't submerge your iPhone in any cleaning agents.”

Apple makes no mention of why it added the new info, but it’s obviously related to the coronavirus. COVID-19 can survive between two hours and six days on surfaces such as metal, glass or plastic, and it can pose a risk if someone touches something with the virus on it and then touches their nose, mouth, or eyes. There’s an extra risk in environments where Apple products are shared, such as offices.

Apple lists cleaning instructions for each of its products, and it usually recommends unplugging the cables, switching off the device, and wiping it with a microfibre cloth. In the case of the iPhone 11 series, Apple says warm soapy water can also be used.

For owners of Apple’s $6,000 Pro Display Monitor with the optional nano texture glass, Apple says to use only the special cloth that comes with the display for cleaning.

Image credit: Denys Prykhodov via Shutterstock