Although many of us are practically tethered to our phones, we know surprisingly little about them. And many of the things we think we know about them are just myths.
Here are 10 commonly held beliefs about smartphones that are simply not true.
Smartphones are called “smart” for a reason. In fact, today’s devices are so smart that they know when to stop charging – and will stop automatically when they reach that point.
So, while it’s true that a few years ago overcharging your phone may have damaged the battery, today – so long as you use an official charger – your phone will not get damaged even if you charge it all night long.
It’s worth remembering that all mobile phone batteries are in a state of constant decay – so none will last forever. However, charging your phone overnight will not increase damage to your battery.
Off the bat, this one makes sense. When your screen is less illuminated, your device will save power. The automatic brightness setting allows your phone to lower illumination to match environmental conditions. Therefore, automatic brightness saves power.
That may be a neat syllogism. But it’s not correct. There are at least two reasons for this.
Firstly, it’s not always true that automatic brightness will lower illumination. You may spend a lot of time in a well-lit environment, which will increase brightness and reduce battery.
Secondly, even in a dark environment, the amount of power your light sensor uses (in addition to the processing power needed to analyse that data) will often be more than the power saved via auto-dimming.
This one also seems to make a lot of sense. If your phone is running several apps in the background, then your device will use more processing power and so burn more battery, right?
Well, not really. In fact, both Apple and Android have publicly announced that closing background apps will do nothing to save your battery.
This is because Android and iOS are both equipped with algorithms that automatically close apps when they need to be, refresh or open apps when required and place limits on apps that are using too much processing power.
This process is called multi-tasking. For phone manufacturers, it’s kind of a big deal – and an area they put a lot of time into improving. When you continually open and close apps, you interfere with it, and that ultimately uses more power.
What’s a megapixel? It’s one million pixels. As such, a camera with a resolution of 12 megapixels can capture an image made up of 12 million pixels.
Many people – including smartphone manufacturers – talk of megapixels as being the primary indicator of how good a camera is. However, these days, pixel quality is far more important.
In other words, a 12-megapixel camera with high-quality pixels will take better photos than a 15-megapixel camera with low-quality pixels. What’s more, the highest quality pixels are quite large, which means less can be crammed into a single image.
So, next time you’re phone shopping, remember, more megapixels doesn’t necessarily mean better photos.
For many of us, the offer of free Wi-Fi can be incredibly appealing – especially when we’re travelling or outside of our usual network.
But what you may not know is that free Wi-Fi networks are usually open and, therefore, are vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. A man-in-the-middle attack is when a hacker relays and possibly alters the communication between two parties who believe they are communicating with each other. Not good.
Because of this, it’s a good idea to avoid public Wi-Fi connections – especially Wi-Fi- hotspots. Hotspots require no authentication to establish a network connection, making them ideal for hackers looking to get unimpeded access to unsecured devices using the same network. If you must use public Wi-Fi, always use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to add an additional layer of security.
A popular belief is that a 4G uses more data than 3G. Of course, 4G is faster, and surely faster connections use more data? Not so. In this context, “data” refers to the amount of information flowing between the internet and your device.
So, if you download a 2MB image using a 4G connection, it may take less time that a 3G one – but it will still use exactly 2MB of data. The same thing will be true when 5G is rolled out. In short, the only thing that is different between the generations of mobile technology is the affect on the speed of your connection.
Ever since mobile phones were first brought to market, people have worried that the radiation they emit is harmful – causing cancer and other nasty diseases. But a little understanding goes a long way. In this case, what we need to understand is what mobile phones emit.
The answer is electromagnetic waves: the same stuff that makes your radio work. Electromagnetic radiation of the frequency that mobile phones emit is completely safe. Indeed, more than 25,000 articles have been written on the effect of electromagnetic radiation on humans – which is more research than we’ve done most of the chemicals in our food.
At some point, you’ve probably been told never to put your phone in the same pocket as your credit card. The reason being that credit cards (as well as debit cards, access cards, loyalty cards, etc.) which come into close contact with a smartphone are in danger of having their magnetic strips demagnetised.
This is not true. Although smartphones do have a magnetic field, it is nowhere near strong enough to affect your credit card in this way. A fridge magnet could potentially do the job. As could a magnetic clasp on a wallet or handbag. But not a smartphone. Never a smartphone.
You may find it difficult to put your phone down. It is, after all, critical to your social life, your leisure time, possibly your health and even your grocery shopping. The myth that you shouldn’t use your smartphone when it’s charging, then, is one that many people would like to see refuted.
Thankfully, that’s exactly the case. While some electronic devices are unsafe to use while charging (which is probably how this myth got started to begin with), smartphones are not one of them. Of course, if you use your phone while it’s charging, it will take longer to reach full battery, But it won’t harm either you or your phone.
Water is your phone’s worst fear. But, try as we might, it’s not always possible to keep our phones dry – in fact, a whopping 19 percent of us have dropped a phone down the toilet at some point.
Several rumours have sprung up around what is the best course of action to take when it comes to a soggy phone. Vacuuming it, putting it in rice (that one’s not true either, by the way), shaking it and even taking a hairdryer to it.
Unfortunately, the last technique can be particularly damaging. Yes, a hairdryer may dry out your phone a little. But it’s also likely to cause it to overheat – trust us, that’s no good. Shaking, however, does offer some remedial properties. But you’re probably best just putting it on a shelf and crossing your fingers.
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