Anyone who has had their iPhone for a few years knows that over time they can start to collect a fair bit of dirt and dust. In many cases, this can lead to muffled audio, resulting in callers having a difficult time hearing you. Don’t let this happen to your device! Here’s how to properly clean your iPhone microphone.
How To Clean iPhone Microphone
To clean your iPhone microphone, first scrub the microphone mesh with a toothbrush dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Next, perform a scooping motion with a pointy tool in each of the mesh holes and spray the microphone with short, quick bursts of compressed air. Lastly, roll cleaning slime into the openings.
Ultimately, there are four different methods you can try to get your iPhone microphone looking and operating like new again.
It is important to note that Apple’s cleaning guidelines recommend you unplug and power down your device. You should also never use anything with metal components to clean your iPhone.
Before we start, go ahead and remove your iPhone case and use the native iOS Voice Memos app to record yourself speaking. This will create a sound quality baseline that we can compare to once you have finished cleaning the device.
I suggest you follow these methods in the exact order detailed below.
Method 1: Toothbrush And Isopropyl Alcohol
For this first technique, you’ll need to grab an old toothbrush that’s laying around the house along with some 99% isopropyl alcohol (IPA). Notably, while you don’t necessarily need to use 99% IPA, it is by far the safest option as it evaporates within seconds of application.
Pour some IPA into a small cup or container and then dip the toothbrush into the liquid. The idea is not to soak the toothbrush, but instead to get it damp. I found the easiest way to achieve this is to gently pat the bristles on a napkin to remove any larger droplets.
Now, with the damp toothbrush in hand, begin to thoroughly scrub the microphone mesh located on the bottom left side of the phone.
Make sure the bristles are making their way inside the mesh.
If they do not, you will end up simply cleaning the bottom of your device instead of actually dislodging and removing dirt from the microphone itself. Scrubbing in a small circular motion for 1 to 2 minutes is typically best.
Any openings on the outside of your iPhone, like the speakers, headphone port and small slits around the side buttons, can accumulate debris leading to frustrating hardware issues, such as discovering you can’t hear incoming calls or your volume buttons not working.
For this reason, it is best to simply clean all of the openings on your device while have the time and the supplies readily available.
Method 2: Pointy Tool
Once you have wrapped up with the toothbrush, grab a pointy tool like a toothpick or plastic mechanical pencil.
Remember, do not use anything that has a metal component on it. There are delicate electronics inside the device that could short circuit or become physically damaged.
Use your pointy tool to perform a scooping motion in each of the small holes within the microphone mesh.
Make sure you are not pushing too hard, as you do not want the debris going deeper inside the iPhone. Instead, carefully and patiently flick the dirt and dust out of the mesh with shallow movements. Once enough particles start to come to the surface, you can use the toothbrush again to brush this build up out and off of the mesh.
Repeat this process of dislodging debris with your pointy tool and clearing it away with the toothbrush a few times before proceeding.
Method 3: Compressed Air
For this final method, you will need to pick up a can of compressed air.
It is worth noting that Apple’s guidelines specifically state that you should not use compressed air to clean your iPhone. This is because there is a risk of too much force or the air condensing on your device, resulting in liquid related damage.
While this may be true, I have personally cleaned a number of my iPhones over the years with compressed air, and countless other users have as well without any issues.
The key here is to simply use short, quick bursts of air. With this approach, the air will not turn into liquid.
Give the microphone a few hits back and forth across the mesh and then wipe it down with a paper towel.
Method 4: Cleaning Slime
Because the mesh holes on most iPhone models are typically shallow and difficult to access, I also recommend you obtain some cleaning slime.
Take the cleaning slime and repeatedly press and roll it into openings and slits across your device. You will be amazed at how much dirt and dust the slime will pick up!
If you do not have access to cleaning slime, clear sticky tape can also work. However, I have found this approach to be far less effective.
Once you are done, dry and polish the iPhone with a microfiber cloth or paper towel.
That’s it! Head back over to the Voice Memos app to record yourself speaking a second time. Now compare this audio file with the baseline file you recorded prior to starting the cleaning process. You should notice a significant improvement in your audio quality!
A dirty microphone can lead to muffled audio and callers not being able to fully understand you. Fortunately there are four proven cleaning techniques that can get your iPhone functioning like new again.
How To Clean iPhone Microphone – Top 4 Methods
- Scrub microphone mesh with toothbrush dipped in isopropyl alcohol
- Perform scooping motion with pointy tool in each of the mesh holes
- Spray microphone with short, quick bursts of compressed air
- Press and roll cleaning slime into openings
If you’ve tried all of these fixes without any luck, you can try contacting Apple customer service online or at 1-800-275-2273.
You can also use your iPhone’s serial number to review your Apple warranty status and eligibility to purchase additional AppleCare coverage.
If one of these steps helped you fix this issue, or if you solved the problem some other way, let me know in the comments section below!
Chelsea Ashbrook is a Senior Manager of Corporate Digital Experience at Genentech. Chelsea received her B.A. from the University of Connecticut and has spent the last 10 years working in the technology field.
Her professional experience spans information technology services, web content management, and platform development.
For the past decade, long before the work from home revolution truly began, Chelsea has been working in the technology field remotely.
This blog is her outlet to share her findings with you.