Myths Debunked: Just The Facts About Smartphones (infographic)

Quick! You’ve accidentally left your smartphone in your pocket and it dropped into the sink when you bent over. It’s all wet and the water is reaching deeper inside your phone every second you delay action. What do you do? If you plunk your smartphone in a bag of rice and seal it up, hoping against hope those tiny moisture-loving grains will suck all the humidity out of every nook and cranny, you’ve just chosen the popular option. Unfortunately it won’t work. Smartphone myths are growing more pervasive than ever, and it’s costing you big time.

There are several problems with the rice myth. First, rice only absorbs the liquid it comes into contact with, not just any random moisture that may be in the vicinity. Second, the starch from rice when combined with water can produce a paste that gums up any of the contact points it comes in contact with, creating a whole new problem. Finally, it prevents you from actually fixing your phone the right way in a timely manner, which can lead to higher replacement or repair costs. The right way to fix your phone is to power it down, take out the battery if you can, and place it in a bag with an artificial desiccant or power it down and take it to a repair shop.

There are lots of smartphone myths out there that can end up costing you money. One such myth says that in order to preserve your smartphone’s battery life if you live in a hotter climate you should refrigerate or freeze your phone. Unfortunately this myth can cause significant damage to your cell phone and its battery - Lithium Ion batteries are not designed for extreme temperatures, and trying to correct one extreme with another can cause serious damage.

Other battery myths can damage your battery but are based in fact in older battery technologies. NiCad batteries, which were in older generation mobile phones, could in fact retain a memory. If you didn’t charge it all the way before using it and charge it fully every day, it could eventually begin to hold less of a charge. Likewise, if you didn’t drain the battery fully before charging, it could also retain less of a charge over time. Fortunately the newer Lithium Ion batteries aren’t subject to the same mechanics, though they do degrade over time and eventually hold less of a charge. These days, the best way to charge your cell phone is to plug it in for shorter, more frequent charging sessions, as being plugged in for a long period of time can lead to overcharging, which can tax the battery over time.

Charging your cell phone has a whole set of myths surrounding it, as well. There are those who say you should never leave your phone plugged in after it is finished charging and there are those who say you should only use brand-name chargers or risk fire, electrocution, or charging errors. It turns out there’s an element of truth to both of these claims.

At one time, leaving your phone plugged in overnight could overheat your phone and battery, degrading both over time. But today’s smartphones have a chip that cuts off the flow of electricity once it reaches 100% charge, thus saving your phone from damage. However, if your phone is on the charger long enough that it drops to 99%, the charger will kick back on.

As for using knock-off charging cables, it turns out many of them could actually damage your equipment. Bad cables can damage the chip that stops your phone from overcharging, leading to serious damage and degradation over time. For iPhones, look for chargers that say they are ‘Made for iPhone’, and for other phones look for chargers that say ‘Certified USB Charger’.

But what about other smartphone myths? Those that don’t cost money but that could potentially wreak havoc on society? Many people say that cell phones interfere with medical equipment. This turns out to be mostly false. While cell phones can interfere with certain readings on hospital equipment, this is temporary. What’s more, lack of cell phones in hospitals can lead to six times more medical errors and injuries due to delayed communication.

What about taking out your SIM card to avoid being tracked by the government? It turns out that if your phone has any power in the battery whatsoever, SIM card or not, you can still be tracked. If you have to go on the lam, it’s best to ditch your phone altogether. But if you really just want to keep your phone when you go on the run, put it in airplane mode, disable the GPS, power it down, and remove the battery. Just know that as soon as you use it again or even power it back up you will be trackable.

Phones interfering with planes are one thing that most people accept as a fact, but it turns out they may not interfere at all. The main reason phones are banned is because the FAA doesn’t want to take unnecessary risks and learn the hard way - by letting a plane full of people crash - that there is some sort of interference. This being said, when Samsung was experiencing battery fires, there was a blanket ban on the offending phone models on planes because obviously a fire would interfere with the normal and safe operation of an airplane.

There are smartphone urban legends that have turned out to be completely true, however. Have you heard that your phone is dirtier than a toilet seat? That one is true. Americans check their cell phones on average 52 times a day, and that isn’t always with freshly washed hands. The good news is that you can clean your phone using hand sanitizer or alcohol wipes periodically to cut down on the germs you’re carrying around.

Get the facts about your smartphone before it costs you a lot of money. Learn more about smartphone myths and facts from the infographic below!

Smartphone Myths Debunked - Infographic

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