Wait, you all haven’t been wiping down your smartphones this whole time?

A small consolation in the growing COVID-19 crisis is that some of our moderate germophobia has begun to feel like a minor super power. As I got settled for a cross-country flight last week, I took out my hand wipes and did a whole number on the screen, tray table and arm rests, and this time no one looked at me funny.

I go to a lot of conferences and trade shows and have to shake a lot of hands (though I’ve taken to the elbow bash in recent weeks) before handling my phone. Years ago, I switched from Purell bottles to hand wipes for two reasons:

  1. Hand sanitizer feels like lacquering the dirt on. This is probably another weird quirk, so do with that what you will.
  2. I touch my phone — and computer — a lot. I almost never leave the house without a product like Wet Ones in my bag. Hell, I included them in a travel gift guide last year. Merry Christmas, Billy, here’s the packet of antibacterial wipes you wanted but were too afraid to ask.

For those concerned about damage to your devices, fear not. Apple, which has never been prone to recklessness for such things, just gave disinfecting wipes a green light on its “How to clean your Apple products” that covers Mac, iPad, iPhone and iPod, among others.

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.

iPhones these days sport IP67 or IP68 ratings. If it detects moisture in the Lightning port, it will throw up a “Charging not Available” warning. It’s best to avoid getting the port wet if you can, but that’s a nice fall back.

So, wipe, wipe away. Assuming, of course, you can still find them.

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