Our DNA is written in Swift

Myth Busted: iPhones Won’t Work With Gloves

Imagine me getting a mani-pedi during the Christmas holidays. No, really! We have a lady come to our house regularly and doing all willing feet.

Somehow our casual conversion came to the iPhone. Now imagine this healthcare professional telling me:

“For me the iPhone is no option because it does not work with the gloves we use”.

One does not have to say THAT to me twice. This myth was begging to be busted.

First thing I tried out was one of the original Latex gloves. There was almost no difference in the ability of my iPhone and iPad detecting touches.

Can you imagine how belief-shattering this was when I showed it off to my witnesses? “Oh my, then I had been told a lie!”

When I mentioned this finding on Twitter one of the responses was:

They’re probably thin enough. Regular gloves don’t work, unless they’re specially prepared.

Thicker. Hm, where do I get thicker gloves? Ah, my wife got these cleaning gloves made from rubber. Those only worked like 80%, you had to push slightly more than usual and also their rubbery surface made sliding over the display a bit awkward. But it still worked well enough for emergencies.

So thickness does not play a role either as this step 2 in our experiment showed.

John Blanchard told me:

“I recently noticed I can use my iPhone through my motorcycle gloves. Didn’t expect that!”

And here is picture proof of him using his iPhone with his real leather Stryker Gloves. They don’t even mention “iPhone-compatible” in the product description. Maybe they should!

I asked for other people to contribute photos of them using their iPhones with gloves. Hermano Queiroz was the second person to present photo proof of his gloves working with his iPhone:

Haha, very funny Hermano! We all know that you’re cheating on this photo. Clearly these are your wife’s fingers, not yours. 😀

But Hermano also had this picture proof. He need 3 tries for that. On the first you could only see the screen showing my original tweet, but not the material of the gloves. The second only showed a blurry screen. The HDR setting finally got the best of both worlds.

Finally the coolest entry in the “show your gloves contest” did not involve gloves at all. Timothee Boucher mentioned:

I’m sure it would work with a Ziplock™ bag. 🙂 I used that to still listen to and control Pandora while painting.

It just so happens that I hav such a bag at home, who doesn’t? I have been using it to waterproof my iPhone while walking the dog while it rains. In Europe these are sold by Toppits.

Here you see me aceing the final test:

If we learned anything from this exercise then it is that our iOS devices are even more amazing than we previously realized.

It is true that most material that are used for gloves won’t work. I tested wool and rough leather to no avail. But smooth leather has been proven to work on John’s gloves. Apparently there are a couple of elusive factors at work that are more complex than simply material or thickness.

This post would not be complete if I didn’t mention that – of course! – there are winter gloves with specially coated finger tips. These guys in Michigan have compiled an extensive list: Best iPhone, iPad & Android Touchscreen Gloves.

People just love to use their iDevices with gloves.

Categories: Apple


  1. We have to use gloves, it’s -16 Celsius at the moment over here in Montreal. Way below iPhone’s operating temperature, but if you keep it in a pocket and only take it out when you need it, it still works, albeit sometimes very slowly.

  2. We have started using a couple of iPads for doing our Multi-Point Inspections so the Technicians don’t have to walk back to the desk. Most of the technicians wear gloves with the majority of them being blue nitrile gloves. The thicker gloves require a slight bit more pressure, but this works just fine!