The speaker holes on the top and bottom of your iPhone can become clogged with dirt particles, wax, or lint. This can interfere with the quality of sound you get while playing music, during a call, or even when using your microphone. The good news is that it’s easy to clean them without damaging the delicate internal components of your phone.
Apple (opens in new tab) actually recommends brushing them with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove built-up gunk and lint without harming the speakers. It’s also a good idea to remove any cases or screen protectors before you start cleaning. Then, shine a flashlight on the area to help you see what you’re dealing with.
If you’re not able to dislodge stubborn dust or grime with a toothbrush or a soft-bristled brush, it’s time to try something a little more assertive. A toothpick might be able to do the trick, but only if you use caution and don’t insert it too deep into the holes. Forcing it in too far could damage the sensitive interior components of your phone, so don’t be afraid to back out a bit if you feel resistance.
You can also try a small piece of tape. Painter’s tape, which is often blue and used to keep paint off trim, has a sticky side that will pull dust, lint, or other debris out of the speaker hole when you press on it. To use it, tear off a small strip and then roll it into a cylinder. Then, place the tape over your index finger and press it down on the speaker. Then, gently move the tape from side to side to remove grime from the holes. After each swipe, check the tape surface for lint or other debris and toss it away. This method can be especially effective on the lower speakers near the charging port, which are harder to reach.
Another alternative is to use a special type of putty designed for electronics and phones, like this one from STIKK. It’s made from a soft, sticky material that can easily remove dust, lint, and other debris from your speakers without damaging the delicate interior components of your iPhone. To use it, apply a small amount of the putty to your index finger. Then, wrap the tip of your finger in a circle around a small piece of painter’s tape, sticky side out. Press the tape over your phone’s speaker and use it to gently scrape the grime out of the hole.
If there’s still a lot of lint or other debris stuck inside the speaker holes, you can try an air blower or canned air (not compressed air!) to blast it out of the ports. Be careful when using this technique, though, because the blasted dirt can fly into other parts of your phone and damage it. Be sure to disconnect any cables from your iPhone before you do this. If all else fails, you can always visit your local Apple Store to have the speakers at the top and bottom of your iPhone looked over and professionally cleaned or repaired if necessary.