How to clean your iPhone speakers
De-gunk your junk.
By Amy-Mae Turner for Mashable on July 17, 2022
The iPhone Mini speaker. Credit: Zlata Ivleva/Mashable
No matter how fastidious you think you are with your smartphone cleanliness routine, over time your iPhone’s speakers will slowly get filled up with dust, dirt, and other disgusting debris. This can result in your iPhone’s speakers sounding distorted and muffled, whether for media playback or during phone calls.
We’re taking a look at the “do’s” and “don’ts” of how to get your iPhone speakers factory fresh again.
Check to make sure your iPhone speakers are working
If you’re not sure your iPhone speakers are working correctly, there is a super-quick way to check.
Go to your iPhone’s Settings app and, depending on what iOS you’re running, click on “Sounds” or “Sounds & Haptics.” Look for the “Ringer and Alerts” slider and drag it back and forth a few times.
Credit: Screenshot: Apple
This should produce a ringtone sound at varying volume levels. If you don’t hear any sound, or if your speaker button on the “Ringer and Alerts” slider is dimmed, your speaker might need service, so you should get in touch with Apple.
The “don’ts” of cleaning your iPhone speakers
Before you even start to think about what equipment you might need or reach for anything that could damage your expensive smartphone, here are the things you absolutely should not do.
Don’t use any sharp objects to try to gouge out any gunk. We’ve seen advice suggesting that you should use the sharp end of toothpicks, tweezers, and even paperclips to scrape your speaker grilles. Don’t.
Don’t use rubbing alcohol or any kind of liquid. While rubbing alcohol does evaporate more quickly than water, any kind of liquid and the innards of iPhones are not a good mix.
Don’t use canned, compressed air. While these products are useful for cleaning robust electronics, such as laptop keyboards, the force produced is too strong to be used on more delicate electronics. You could end up forcing the dirt further into the device.
What’s Apple’s official advice?
We thought we’d take a look at Apple’s official advice on the how-to of cleaning your iPhone’s speakers, since, after all, the company manufactures them. Apple states, “If necessary, clean the speaker or receiver opening with a small, soft-bristled brush. Make sure that the brush is clean and dry.”
We’re taking that advice a step further with our “do’s” of cleaning your iPhone’s speakers.
The “do’s” of cleaning your iPhone speakers
Do use a soft bristled brush to gently brush your iPhone’s speaker grilles. Try to use the brush at an angle so you’re not forcing the dirt up into the grille, but gently brushing it out.
DI QIU REN offers an affordable twin-pack of extra-soft bristled toothbrushes(opens in a new tab) that is ideal for the job. Each of these specialist brushes boasts 20,000 “nano” bristles.
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Do consider investing in a special cleaning putty. While Blu-Tack can be used at a pinch, you want the putty to be as sticky as possible so you don’t push the dirt further in but remove it as you pull the putty away.
AirSquares Cleaning Putty(opens in a new tab) is specially designed for getting dirt out of earbuds and iPhone speakers. It is available in packs of 12 or 24 small squares.
Do use an air blower. These useful devices do not offer as much pressure as canned, compressed air and are safe to use on iPhones. Consider using an air blower after you’ve used the soft bristled brush; it will help remove any debris the brush has dislodged.
The Pixel RB-20(opens in a new tab) is made of strong rubber for a robust blast of air and offers a comfortable, ergonomic grip.
Now, isn’t that better?
This post was originally published in June 2021 and was updated in July 2022.