The Definitive Guide To Cleaning Your iPhone 4 or 4S

It’s been 4-years since the initial release of the iPhone 4, and we’re certain that many of you are still using one. If you’re willing to deal with some sluggishness that was brought along by iOS 7, the iPhone 4 is still a viable smartphone choice. As time marches on, dirt and grime march in. Cleaning your device can give it new life and give you a new appreciation for what is undoubtedly one of the greatest smartphone designs of all time. In this guide we will offer a step-by-step method for getting your iPhone 4 or 4S as clean as possible.

Cleaning cloth and SIM eject tool.

Cleaning cloth and SIM eject tool.

For tools, all we need is a SIM card tool (or any object that is similar and size and not too sharp), a microfiber cloth (or your T-shirt), and a small cleaning cloth. Alcohol and a small needle or utility knife are optional but useful.

1. The Bottom Speaker Grill and Dock Connector

Dock connector and loudspeaker grille (before)

Dock connector and loudspeaker grill (before)

This is a big one for dust and lint. The bottom grill openings are for the loudspeaker and cleaning them can actually increase the clarity and volume of your notifications and speakerphone conversations. You’ll want to lightly dampen the cleaning cloth and move it around the inner-perimeter of the speaker grill opening as shown. This may take several passes. Although the loudspeaker grill is much stronger than the earpiece grill, you still need to practice caution with the amount of pressure applied to avoid denting the grill.

Cleaning the loudspeaker grille

Cleaning the loudspeaker grill

For the dock connector, you can use the SIM card tool to gently remove the dust and lint from the opening, as pictured below.

Removing lint from the dock connector

Removing lint from the dock connector

NOTE: Do not use a damp cleaning cloth in the dock connector, as it can trigger the liquid damage sensor inside and can possibly damage the part itself.

Dock connector and loudspeaker grille (after)

Dock connector and loudspeaker grill (after)

2. The Silent/Vibrate Switch

Silent/vibrate switch with grime and dust build-up (before)

Silent/vibrate switch with grime and dust build-up (before)

It is very easy for grime to get into the depths of the switch, this causes an unsightly appearance and can make the switch itself difficult to toggle. Use a lightly dampened cleaning cloth (alcohol is an option here, although water will work fine) and the SIM card eject tool to clean out the inside of the switch as shown. A needle or utility knife is useful for getting the inside remnants left in the corners of where the switch and bezel meet. This part is a little more resilient than the others, so it is OK to use light-to-moderate force when cleaning the silent/vibrate switch. Make sure to move the switch into silent mode and clean the other side.

Cleaning the silent/vibrate switch

Cleaning the silent/vibrate switch

After cleaning your switch should toggle back-and-forth with ease.

Silent/vibrate switch (after)

Silent/vibrate switch (after)

3. The Earpiece Speaker Grill

Dust build-up inside earpiece speaker grille (before)

Dust build-up inside earpiece speaker grille (before)

It is very common for dust to buildup inside the earpiece speaker grill. Dust and grime buildup inside the earpiece speaker grille can significantly reduce the clarity and volume of your phone conversations. It is very, very easy to damage it – so, we need to proceed with extreme caution. Do not apply pressure beyond a light touch, and if you choose to dampen your cleaning cloth (it will help to grab the dust in the innards of the earpiece inlet) you need to ensure that you are using as little moisture as possible. Take the cleaning cloth and SIM eject tool and lightly move it around the perimeter of the earpiece speaker grill as shown. You can use a needle or the tweezers to get any dust that is trapped between the edge of the glass and the grill.

Cleaning the earpiece speaker grille

Cleaning the earpiece speaker grill

NOTE: Be very careful with this step, it is very easy to dent the earpiece grill or to damage the speaker itself if your cloth is too damp.

Earpiece speaker grille (after)

Earpiece speaker grill (after)

4. Antenna and Outer Bezel

Grime can buildup on the edges of the chrome antenna which can be unsightly. To clean the antenna, take a cleaning cloth and wrap it tightly around the SIM eject tool – dampen the cloth and go around the edge of the phone as shown. You can finish using just your fingertip and the cleaning cloth, use some force so that the cloth presses all the way down into the corners. Make sure to do this for both the front and back side of the antenna and go all the way around the phone. Once finished, take the damp part of your cloth and go around the exterior of the chrome antenna.

Cleaning the edges of the antenna

Cleaning the edges of the antenna

5. The Front and Back Glass

Fingerprints and grime on front glass (before)

Fingerprints and grime on front glass (before)

The last step is the easiest and should leave you with a totally cleaned iPhone 4 or 4S. Simply take a microfiber cloth (or your T-shirt) that is free of debris and gently wipe any fingerprints and smudges from the glass. It is best to use a circular motion and then finish up with one long wipe from top to bottom to remove any remaining dust. If there is a buildup of grime on your glass, you may use a damp cleaning cloth and then finish up with a microfiber polish.

Cleaning the front glass

Cleaning the front glass

There we have it! A clean phone is a happy phone, If you have an iPhone 4 or 4S, this should bring new life into your device. Feel free to post your own cleaning techniques or tips in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!

The finished product

The finished product