Skip to main content

A potty break for your iPhone 7? Toilet paper for smartphones is now a thing

We’ve all heard about how our smartphones can become a haven for germs, so Japan has come up with a solution: Toilet paper for handsets.

It’s true – the smaller-than-usual dispensers have recently shown up alongside their big bros in more than 80 stalls in seven restroom facilities at Narita International Airport, one of Tokyo’s two main air transportation hubs.

It means that while you’re sitting there doing what you gotta do, you can grab a sheet or two of the special paper and give your phone a vigorous wipe, thereby ridding your handset of any bacteria that happens to be clinging to it.

Aimed primarily at incoming tourists, the special paper is the brainchild of Japanese mobile giant NTT Docomo. Besides a “Welcome to Japan” message and another encouraging visitors to use the paper to wipe down their smartphones, the unique toilet tissue also contains helpful information on wi-fi and travel services.

In recent years, a number of surveys have shown that smartphones hold more bacteria than a typical toilet seat, which really makes you wonder what some people are doing with their devices. Using them in restrooms, probably.

It’s fair to say that deep down we all know it’s wise to stay off our phones when answering the call of nature. However, NTT Docomo is clearly aware of how most of us like to multitask on the john, sneaking in a few goes of Words or checking for nearby Pokémon while carefully lightening the load.

Considering this reality, its smartphone toilet paper is likely to be a hit with visitors to the airport’s restrooms, although with all that extra wiping, the stalls are likely to be engaged for double the usual time.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Live in Arizona? You can now use your iPhone as your ID
Person accessing a state ID using the Apple Wallet on an iPhone.

Apple has finally been cleared to allow its Wallet ID functions to be used for driver's licenses and state IDs. The state of Arizona now accepts both forms of documentation as legitimate when displayed in the Wallet app on iPhones and Apple Watches, Apple announced today.

By adding the proper documentation to their Wallet, users will be able to effortlessly get through select TSA security checkpoints by simply tapping their iPhone or Apple watch on marked identity readers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The tech hasn't made its way to all Arizona airports yet, but Apple has made it clear that it's looking to expand the reach of its Wallet's digital IDs as legitimate documentation.

Read more
Want the Google Pixel’s astrophotography on your iPhone? There’s an app now
Nocturne brings a sort of Google Pixel astrophotography to the iPhone.

One of the premiere features offered on Google Pixel phones starting with the Pixel 4 has been astrophotography. The Google Pixel 4 and above are capable of creating great shots of the stars in the sky by taking a series of exposures over a long period of time and then stitching them together for one long exposure. It's really incredible how much detail in the night sky can be captured using the phone in your hand. Until recently, that has been a Pixel-exclusive feature.

So naturally, when I came across an app that claimed to do the same thing on the iPhone, I was intrigued. Nocturne is a free app available now that can accomplish much of what astrophotography can but on an iPhone. Nocturne is developed by Unistellar, whose primary business is in telescopes. Its latest product, the eVscope 2, is a digital motorized telescope that has some neat features. That's a conversation for another time. What's interesting for me is that Nocturne is able to bring astrophotography to non-Pixel devices.
Here's how it works
Getting back to Nocturne, the app accomplishes much of what you'll see on the Pixel's astrophotography mode but on the iPhone. It works by taking a series of exposures and stitching them together, similar to what Google does with the Pixel and the results are pretty slick.

Read more
Apple will now let you fix your own iPhone in win for right-to-repair campaigners
iPhone 13 Pro style shot.

Apple will finally let iPhone users repair their own iPhones, the company announced this week. It will start this effort with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series, with an expansion to older iPhones and more of its product lines in the near future. Dubbed Self Service Repair, it is aimed at those customers who have the experience, skills, and willingness to get hands-on with product repairs. The company will send (or rather, sell) people parts, tools, and a manual in what is a huge win for right-to-repair campaigners.

The new Apple Self Service Repair Online Store will offer more than 200 individual parts and tools for sale.  Apple also noted that these customers who get access to the parts, tools, and manuals join a club of more than 5,000 Apple Authorized Service Providers and 2,800 Independent Repair Providers.

Read more