When the Apple “Unleashed” event wrapped up a few weeks ago, the first thing I did was go to the Apple Store to see if any new unannounced accessories had been added. Indeed, a handful of new ones were. But only one of them stood out: the polishing cloth. It’s taken the world by storm, so much so that it’s out of stock for almost 12 weeks. Fortunately, I was able to get my hands on one and have used it extensively over the past week.
Let’s start with the unboxing experience. The Apple Polishing Cloth comes in a thin white box, as you would expect. But unlike other Apple accessories, this box is a little different. It opens like an envelope, revealing the polishing cloth nicely folded behind a lip. It’s a big box for what this product is, but when you open it you instantly understand why. Apple doesn’t want any creases or crease marks on the fabric outside of the box, so they carefully folded it into a teardrop shape to avoid any marks.
Between each side of the fabric is a small piece of paper that explains how to use it. The Apple card inside says it is “Safe for use on all Apple screens and surfaces.” For infrequent cleaning of difficult-to-remove stains from nano-textured glass, a 70% isopropyl alcohol (IPA) solution can be used.
The list on Apple.com even features every product they think is compatible with. Surprisingly, there are several omissions, however. For example, Apple claims that the polishing cloth is only compatible from the first generation iPhone SE, the first generation iPad mini, and the fifth generation iPod touch. Even the oldest Mac that they say is compatible is only from 2015. One wonders if the materials selected for the fabric would be too abrasive or somehow harmful to the older formulations of glass d. ‘Apple. Fortunately, the polishing cloth is also compatible with non-Apple devices. I was able to clean my Pixel 6’s spots quickly and efficiently.
Design and materials
Apple’s polishing cloth is made from a “soft, non-abrasive material,” but the company does not specify what material it is. IFixit experts believe the material is the same microfiber that covers the iPad’s Smart Cover. Another benchmark would be Microsoft’s Alcantara keyboard covers, but slightly softer.
On the front of the fabric is an embossed Apple logo. It’s subtle but uniquely Apple. It’s placed in the lower right corner, so it stays out of the way but still reminds you that this is Apple’s premium fabric.
There is a thin, light gray edge that surrounds the perimeter of the fabric, holding two pieces of non-abrasive material together. The material is just thick enough to feel premium, but still thin enough to feel like an Apple product.
Clean the cloth
I would recommend being careful with the Apple Polishing Cloth. The light gray color can easily get very dirty if used to clean liquids or other types of marks that may have been left by food. If you do that and want a new one, good luck finding one through 2022.
It is not currently known if there are safe ways to clean the polishing cloth. It is certainly possible that it can be washed by hand or thrown in a washing machine. But since we’re not quite sure what it’s made of, I would avoid trying anything too crazy.
How does it compare
Apple’s cloth looks better than any other I’ve used. In fact, it’s even prettier than any of the cloths Apple has shipped with some devices in the past, like the one that came with the original iPhone. But the company is currently shipping a rag with the Pro Display XDR and the 27-inch nano-texture iMac, aimed at specific use cases. It looks like the new fabric is almost identical to the one packaged with these machines, but we are not 100% sure.
Apple recommends a handful of accessories to pair with the polishing cloth. The first is the Mac Pro wheel kit. Apple’s wheels are quite shiny and made of stainless steel, so a polishing cloth is something you should have on hand if you want to keep them perfectly clean. Other accessories that Apple recommends you pair with the cloth include the Mac Pro Stand Kit, Pro Stand, and AirPods Pro.
We certainly hope that Apple will continue to innovate in this category. It would be great to see them ship polishing cloths in other colors, like space gray or pink sand. Like AirTag, they might even ship a bundle of it. We’ll just have to wait and see what 2022 has in store for the Apple Polishing Cloth.
Apple’s Polishing Cloth is priced at $ 19.00 and is sold both in Apple retail stores and on Apple.com.
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