Do you remember back in the early days of the iPhone and the App Store when you purchase the $999 app I Am Rich? The app literally did nothing other than sit on your iPhone and was designed to be a status app showing that you were wealthy enough to spend a grand on a completely useless app. For some, the Apple Polishing Cloth may be right up there with pointless spending just because you can. Now, to be fair, the newest accessory from Apple does serve a purpose and actually is extremely good at what it does. But is it worth $19?
When I picked up the cloth on a whim a couple of weeks back, I truthfully did so as a joke. I fully intended to lambaste this thing as being over-the-top ridiculous. Why spend $19 on something you can literally get for half the cost or less? It is a screen cleaning cloth, what makes this one so special? The Apple logo? In truth, yes, that is some of it. But after using this Polishing Cloth… I kinda love it. It works, really well. It is one of those few cloths I’ve found that you aren’t having to really scrub your screen with to clean up the fingerprints and smudges. It is thick and not flimsy like so many other cleaning cloths out there. The verdict is still out on if it is worth nineteen dollars.
Actually, that’s not true. It is 100% not worth spending $19 on.
But if you do decide to spend the money on it, you won’t be disappointed.
The Genesis of The Apple Polishing Cloth
Before I get into the specifics about the cloth itself, let’s take a look at why this laughably expensive item exists. It is because another laughably expensive item exists: The Apple Pro Display XDR. The 32-inch monitor starts at $5,000 and if you get the nano-texture finish on the display, you are now at $6,000. It is a stunningly beautiful 6K resolution monitor that normal people simply don’t have on their desk. But, and this is where it gets interesting for this polishing cloth, when you buy a Pro Display XDR, you get a cloth with it. And if you want to replace that cloth, Apple would charge you $19. It is the only cloth that Apple says will clean the Pro Display XDR’s nano-texture screen without damaging it.
You see where this is going.
Someone, somewhere in Apple decided that they could sell the Polishing Cloth as a stand alone product. “Let’s package it up and see how well it sells.” I would imagine the conversation went roughly. And here we are, writing – and you reading – about a $19 polishing cloth.
Dimensions & Design
The cloth itself measure 6.5 x 6.5 inches, or in new money, 16.51 centimeters square. it weighs a mere .375 ounces, or 11 grams. The weight of the cloth gives it a bit of heft versus other flimsy cloths and it does have a bit of rigidity to it as well. The cloth comes folded in a slim package from Apple.
The cloth itself is double-sided with one side having the distinctive Apple logo in the corner. The two sides of the cloth look to be heat sealed together with both sides having what Apple describes as a “soft, nonabrasive material”. They don’t disclose what it is exactly but it has the feel of something better than a simple microfiber or micro suede cloth. It almost has an Alcantara feel to it in my opinion. It is pleasing to the touch.
I have found that in my day-to-day use of the Polishing Cloth that the fold in the middle actually makes it easy to store in my bag or desk without taking up a lot of space or ending up being crumpled. It also naturally wraps around glasses when you use the cloth to clean them.
Real Life Functionality & Usability
The real purpose of the Apple Polishing Cloth is to clean and polish the screens on your devices – and your Pro Display XDR of course! This is where my lampooning of this accessory ends because it does an exceptionally good job of doing so. In cleaning of my iPhone 12 Pro Max or my iPad Pro M1, cleaning fingerprints and smudges took little effort. It even worked well on my eye glasses as well as my Apple Watch. Really, anything with a display it works great on cleaning up.
What the Polishing Cloth won’t do is clean up things that have crusted up on your display. If you have a food droplet or something more substantial than fingerprints and smears, you’ll still need to use a cleaning product on the display to get that off. Afterwards, you can use the polishing cloth to clean up things nice and tidy.
Can I, with a straight face, recommend the Apple Polishing Cloth? Kinda.
Look, I can’t justify the price. At $19, it is stupidly expensive for what it does. The problem I have however is that it cleans displays extremely well with very little effort. So if you want that ease of use and don’t mind the price, this is the product for you. If you have a $1000 plus dollar monitor, definitely consider it. But if not or you are perfectly fine with whatever freebie cleaning cloth you have laying in your office, save yourself the money.
For those who just can’t live without it, the Apple Polishing Cloth is available directly from Apple for $19.