10 Smartphone Myths You Should Not Believe

Cell Phone Myths Featured Image

Many of us don’t actually understand much about cell phones. We hear information that sounds reasonable and we adopt it as truth without taking the time to check it out. How true are these smartphone myths? Let’s check them out!

Myth 1: Cell phones cause fires at gas stations

There has never been a documented case of a cell phone starting a fire at a gas station. According to the MythBuster Discovery TV show, attempts have been made to use cell phones to start gas pump fires and failed. The buildup of static electricity usually causes fires that do occur at gas stations, not your cellphone. Getting in and out of your car can create a dangerous static charge.

Cell Phone Myths Gas Station Fires

So while your phone won’t start a fire, leave it in the car anyway. You’ll be able to focus better on your surroundings.

Myth 2: Charging overnight damages your phone’s battery

Smartphones are called smart for a reason. One of those reasons is because your phone recognizes when charging is complete. The phone will stop accepting charge once the battery reaches 100%.

Leaving it plugged in all night will cause the phone to start charging again whenever the power drops to 99%, and over time, that has a small effect on your battery’s lifespan.

Nevertheless, electricity is still being used even though the phone is not charging. It is still best to take the cable off when you are sleeping.

Myth 3: Your phone can cook an egg

This belief was popular back in the early 2000s. People created fake experiments where they “cooked an egg” using the waves that emit from your phone. They claimed that if your cell phone can cook an egg, it could fry your brain.

Cell Phone Myths Cook Egg

But cell phones can’t cook eggs or pop popcorn as some people have suggested. Cell phones cannot create the amount of energy needed to cook an egg. Even if all of the phone’s energy was converted to microwaves, and all of those waves were aimed directly at the egg, the egg would barely reach body temperature before your battery would die.

Myth 4: Phones will demagnetize your credit cards

Cell phones do have a small magnetic field, so some people have wrongly concluded that this field could affect the millions of magnetic particles on a credit card stripe. But the tiny magnets in modern cell phones are much too weak to cause any damage to your card. A simple refrigerator magnet could do more damage to the card than your smartphone.

Myth 5: Let your phone drain completely before charging it

Letting your phone drain down to a zero charge before plugging it in not only doesn’t do anything helpful for the battery, the process could end up damaging it when you do it regularly. Your phone is running a Lithium-ion battery and doesn’t have memory effect, which means you don’t have to discharge them completely to continue to have accurate readings on battery level percentage.

Cell Phone Myths Drain Battery

The best thing you can do for your battery is to connect it to a charger whenever you get a chance.

Myth 6: Keeping your screen dim is better for your eyes

The brightness at which you keep your phone, whether too bright or too dim, won’t damage your eyes. Keeping it dim, however, will cause you to strain your eyes when you look at it. That could give you a headache, but your eyes themselves will not be affected.

Myth 7: Closing background apps makes your phone faster

People often confuse apps that are “open in background” with those that are “running.” When an app is open in the background, it is not running, it’s just in a state that makes it much easier and quicker to relaunch. “Open in background” apps don’t use many resources.

Cell Phone Myths Background Apps

Taking the time to close all the background apps is not helping your phone. On the other hand, closing the apps that are running in the background does help to improve the phone’s performance.

Myth 8: Don’t use your phone while it charges

Despite some widely-accepted information, your phone won’t blow up or damage your battery if you use it while it charges. It’s perfectly fine to charge while using it unless you are using a low-quality, knock-off charger. Having it plugged in will cause the phone to charge more slowly than it would if you weren’t using it, but it will charge correctly.

Myth 9: A magnet will erase your phone’s data

A magnet could only erase this data if it were one of the strongest magnets ever invented, not one you have stuck on your refrigerator. In fact, cellphones use magnets for navigation and orientation purposes.

Cell Phone Myths Magnets Erase Data

Today, phones store their data on solid-state drives or flash memory. These storage solutions use electrical signals to store the data by changing the position of floating-gate transistors. These transistors are electrical, not magnetic, and an outside magnet won’t do them any harm.

Myth 10: Using incognito or private browsers will protect your phone.

Incognito mode, or private browsing, creates a browsing session that will not save any of your data to your phone. While your browsing data is deleted from your device, your ISP still has your browsing history, so your activity can still be intercepted and tracked. It also doesn’t protect your device from malware. Add an antivirus software on your phone to guarantee protection from hackers and malicious software.

Tracey Rosenberger Tracey Rosenberger

Tracey Rosenberger spent 26 years teaching elementary students, using technology to enhance learning. Now she's excited to share helpful technology with teachers and everyone else who sees tech as intimidating.

3 comments

  1. “Myth 4: Phones will demagnetize your credit cards”
    Phones may or may not demagmetize your credit card. However, I’ve had my hotel room key scrambled on several occasions. The only common denominator was that I put the keys next to the phone in my pocket. It may be only anecdotal evidence but, after a few times that happened, I now try to keep the phone and room keys in different pockets.

    1. The same thing has happened to me on more than one occasion; scrambled hotel keys when I forget and put them close to my cell phone. Even when I didn’t (gasp) have a smartphone. :)

  2. Interesting! The only time when a smartphone would emit higher magnetic fields is when it activate its vibration (when a call comes in or alarm goes off). The vibration is usually created by an electric motor that turns an asymmetric load. And motors do need magnetic field to run. Your card strip must be pretty close to the actual motor to be affected… Interesting experiment to do.
    Oh, one more thing. High end Samsung phones do have the ability to put out a powerful magnetic field on command. This is done to simulate the swiping of the card strip in a magnetic reader when the phone is held near the reader. Presumably, a field strong enough to be read by a reader from outside itself could be strong enough to scramble/affect a card strip it is next to.

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