How to clean your Apple Card. Seriously.


This is the kind of thing your beautiful, clean Apple Card is going to have to deal with.
This is the kind of thing your beautiful, pristine Apple Card is going to have to deal with.
Photo: Matt Biddulph/Flickr CC

The Apple Card isn’t just another credit card. Apple is a hardware company, after all, so its card is special, mkay? If Jony Ive hadn’t disappeared from the Apple lot, then we’d probably even have a Making Of video, with Whispering Joni1 burning with quiet passion about how this is the thinnest, strongest card that Apple has ever made. How Apple’s designers needed to invent an entire new production process to recycle titanium plates reclaimed from broken legs. Etc.

So, if you have an Apple Card, Apple wants you to treat it with respect. And that’s why there is now an official support document telling you how to clean it.

You need a clean Apple Card

Yes, a support document. It even has a snippet from a possibly abandoned Joni script:

The titanium Apple Card is laser-etched with the card holder’s name and the Apple logo. A white finish is achieved through a multi-layer coating process that’s added to the titanium base material.

That introduction leads to the inevitably obvious cleaning instructions. And remember, this is a credit card we’re talking about. The kind of object that usually earns so little respect that it’s used to scrape snow and ice off windshields, or to shim the leg of a wobbly table.

We even willingly insert our ATM card into the filthy slots of cash machines, to pick up whatever dirt and bacteria has been deposited there by all those other cards before it.

I’ll paste Apple’s instructions here, as they really can’t be improved upon:

The official way to clean an Apple Card

  • Gently wipe with a soft, slightly damp, lint-free microfiber cloth.
  • Moisten a soft, microfiber cloth with isopropyl alcohol and gently wipe the card.

In other words, the same way you clean any gadget, ever. In fact, has Apple itself copied and pasted these instructions? Why, after all, would you need to use a lint-free cloth for a credit card? I understand not wanting to get fluff caught in the crannies of an actual mechanical gadget, but a card?

Just wipe the damn thing on the thigh of your jeans, like you do with your hands when you can’t be bothered to dry them in a public restroom. It’s not like that evil lint is going to stuff up the Lightning port, or get caught under the notoriously fickle keys of a modern MacBook’s keyboard.

Lint, the silent killer

How much lint does a cloth shed, anyway? These guides always make it seem like rubbing your device with a lint-full cloth would be like scrabbling your nails over a dandruff-infested scalp, raining down greasy flakes onto pristine tweed-covered shoulders.

A case for keeping things clean

One permanent joke for folks who read and write about Apple gear is that there is a case for everything. You can get a case for your AirPods case, which is the most pocketable (and tough) Apple device ever. You can even get a protective case for the Apple Pencil.

Which means that soon, you will likely be able to purchase a protective case for the Apple Card, as sure as the next iPad will be thinner than today’s. And a good thing, too, because apparently ultra-tough titanium isn’t so tough after all. Here’s the official advice on babying your Apple Card. And remember, again, that this is a credit card.

How to safely store and carry your titanium Apple Card

Store your titanium Apple Card in a wallet, pocket, or bag made of soft materials.

Place your card in a slot in your wallet or billfold without touching another credit card. If two credit cards are placed in the same slot your card could become scratched.

Don’t place or store your titanium Apple Card card near magnets. If your card is placed close to a magnetic latch on a purse or bag, the magnetic strip can become demagnetized.

Don’t place your titanium Apple Card in a pocket or bag that contains loose change, keys, or other potentially abrasive objects.

Of those, only the point about magnets makes much sense. Still, like I said, it can’t be long before there’s a special case for the Apple Card. And I don’t mean an RF-blocking case, either. (Those are actually quite a sensible idea.)

Still, if all else fails, and your formerly clean Apple Card gets scratched or infested with lint, you can always just request a replacement.

  1. Surely “Joni” is the next most logical step in Ive’s self-minimization program?