Yes, your iPhone is exposed to all manner of dust, fingerprints and other debris. Outside or indoors, there’s plenty of junk just waiting to get on your lens. If it has fingerprints, that’s laying out the welcome mat for more junk, because dust particles will stick to the oily residue from your finger.

There’s a right way and wrong way to clean the iPhone camera lens. We’ll talk mainly about the main camera – the rear facing lens. These tips are good for any iPhones, from the oldest 2G to the newest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S devices.

How to clean your iPhone camera lens

Apple offers some general iPhone cleaning tips, but they don’t really deal with the lens of the camera. They suggest a lint-free cloth for all iPhone surfaces, and certainly that includes the main camera lens.

If you have light dust, an aerosol can of products like Dust-Off or Blow Off will do nicely, It’s available at most hardware stores. Caution!! Keep the nozzle or tube well back from your lens, maybe a foot. The reason is there is a lot of compressed air in that can, and it’s possible that the force of the air can grind abrasives like sand or other objects into the lens making things worse, so don’t get too close.

For finger prints of other visible things on the lens, a micro-fiber cloth, like the ones you clean your glasses with does a nice job. If things are more ‘baked on’ the lens, consider getting a LensPen. It’s designed for camera lenses, and won’t have any harsh additives. It is designed for removing fingerprints, so give it a go. Amazon is well-stocked with the product.

Kleenex or other soft tissues are a no-no. Like most paper products, they shed.

If your dust is on the inside (it can happen) C/NET did a nice video showing how to take the camera apart and access the lens. I think such drastic steps are to be avoided, so hopefully your dust and other debris are on the outside, which is the most likely situation.

The front facing lens is a bit trickier. It’s behind the iPhone glass case, so the best you can do there is to keep the glass clean, following a
Apple’s recommendations. Don’t even think of using any kind of ammonia-based solvent or anything other harsh liquid. That can screw up your touch screen, and you don’t want to be explaining that at the Genius Bar.

These cleaning suggestions for the rear lens also apply to the flash, which can also get dirty and diminish its light output.

Happy cleaning.