Will The Apple iPhone 12 Have Coronavirus In The Box?

Apple will announce the new iPhone 12 on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. Here’s what to keep in mind if you do buy the newest iPhone from Apple.The new iPhones were made in China after the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Apple uses airfreight to deliver iPhones direct from the factory to U.S. Apple Stores in three to five days. Three to five days is how long the coronavirus can survive on various surfaces.

Will the iPhone 12 have coronavirus in the box?

The Original Coronavirus In The Box

Jon Prosser announced on Twitter in early February that he got an unknown box from China. The coronavirus pandemic at the time was still an international problem. He called the package “coronavirus in a box” and apologized to the unnamed Chinese company for disposing the package unopened. His tweet had an animated image of a person vacuuming up fire on the ground.

I made a video questioning whether Prosser overreacted by disposing of the unopened package. The survivability of the coronavirus outside of the human body at that time was 30 minutes to nine days.

  • If the package came over on a slow boat from China, typically 30 days, he clearly overreacted.
  • If the package came over on a fast airplane from China, typically 3 to 5 days, he may not have overreacted.

I also pointed out that Apple shipped iPhones via airfreight and speculated that the iPhone 12 could have “coronavirus in a box” in the fall.

Seven months later, the coronavirus pandemic is a U.S. problem. Apple is flying in new iPhones from China. Are you at risk for coronavirus in a box if you buy an iPhone 12?

What Does WebMD Have to Say

According to WebMD, while the primary transmission of the coronavirus is respiratory droplets, these droplets can survive hours to days depending on the surface.

Apple uses a variety of materials for their iPhones and packaging that the coronavirus could survive on during shipping.

  • Plastics are 2 or 3 days.
  • Stainless steel is 2 or 3 days.
  • Cardboard is 24 hours.
  • Aluminum is 2 to 8 hours.
  • Glass is up to 5 days.
  • Paper can be anywhere from minutes to up to 5 days

Temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors may increase or decrease the survivability of the coronavirus.

Keep in mind that airfreight takes to three to five days. If Apple can deliver an iPhone from the factory to a consumer in three to five days, any respiratory droplets from a technician sneezing on the assembly line could still be alive. The likelihood of getting infected from the coronavirus inside the box is probably low.

Your biggest risk, however, may come from outside the box. 

Coronavirus Outside The Box

If you ordered your iPhone 12 from Apple for to deliver to your home, someone must prepare the package for shipment, someone must deliver the package, and you still need to open the package. At any point from packaging to delivery, the coronavirus could hitch a ride. You need to sanitize the outside of the package, the box that the iPhone comes in, and, quite possibly, the iPhone after you take it out of the box.

If you go to the Apple Store, wear your face mask, and maintain social distancing. Staff members outside of the Apple Store will direct you to the staff member with an iPad. That staff member will determine if you have any business inside the Apple Store.

  • If you say, “I’m here to hang out,” forget about it. No one is hanging out inside the Apple Store these days. Those days are long gone.
  • If you say, “I’m here to pick up my iPhone 12 and here’s my order number,” get in line and wait your turn.

I don’t know if a staff member will unbox and help set up your new iPhone. You may have to unbox your own iPhone and follow directions from the staff member on setting it up. While staff members are taking precautions, you will need to take your own precautions. Sanitize your iPhone when you get home.


Should you get the iPhone 12?

If you need a new iPhone, get the iPhone 12. Or trade in your old iPhone for the trade-in value and get the iPhone 11 for the previous year’s discount. I traded in my iPhone 6S last year since the trade-in value and the previous year discount knocked the price of the iPhone XR to $500 USD.

If you don’t need a new iPhone, you don’t have to worry about coronavirus in the box.

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