Smartphone Myths Debunked

By Thiyashi Koththigoda | Published: 2:10 PM Jun 12 2021
Tech Talk Smartphone Myths Debunked

By Thiyashi Koththigoda

With smartphones playing a crucial part in our daily lives now, there’s bound to be some incorrect notions perpetuated about them. It’s important to know what’s correct so you can make the best of your device. Here are some popular myths about smartphones and the truth behind them.

 Overnight charging can damage your smartphone

Overnight charging may have been harmful to much older models of phones but modern smartphones are designed to avoid such a predicament. Now, smartphones have protector chips installed. This stops your phone from charging as soon as the battery hits 100 per cent. Any type of modern electronic item with rechargeable batteries has a safety circuit system inserted to prevent overcharging. Although, a legitimate cause for concern is the ‘trickle charging. This is when your phone starts recharging when it reaches 99%, only to charge up to 100% and then stop and then start charging again when it drops to 99% again. This cycle goes on till you unplug. This actually can cause damage to your phone due to temperature fluctuations. But this is easily remedied by getting a Wi-Fi smart plug for your charger that you can set as a timer. This means your phone only charges for a couple of hours during the night.

 Automatic brightness can save power

Letting your smartphone adjust the brightness according to the environment should save battery power. It makes sense the less time your screen is illuminated, the more power you save. The truth is that you’re better off manually changing the brightness. The amount of power the light sensor in your phone uses to adjust brightness can take up more power than you think. The sensor’s signal to the processor and the processing needed to analyse the data can use up more battery than you can save with auto-brightness. So, it’s better to just manually adjust the brightness whenever the lighting in your environment changes.

 Closing background apps can speed up your phone

Another idea that makes sense. Surely freeing up the clutter of other apps should speed up your phone’s functioning? This is simply not true as most of us believe that apps that are open in the background are running. When apps are open in the background, it’s just in a state that makes it easier to relaunch; this takes up very little resources. Smartphones are made with algorithms that automatically manage these apps to optimize power usage. This means apps are closed, refreshed or opened when necessary. This process called ‘multitasking’ makes sure that background apps are allocated limited processing power. Both Apple and Android have confirmed that their smartphones are equipped with this function, making the closing of background apps unnecessary.

 More megapixels means better image quality

When you’re buying a smartphone, it’s natural to want one with good picture quality. But looking for the number of megapixels may not be the best indicator of camera quality in a smartphone. A megapixel, which is a million pixels, usually determines how big of a photo you can take. What you should prioritize is the quality of the pixels. Especially since higher quality pixels can be large. Remember that a 12-megapixel camera with high-quality pixels will give you better images over a 15 megapixel with low-quality pixels. There are also so many other factors to consider. This includes the quality of the lens, sensor and image processor.

 Smartphones emit harmful radiation

This is a classic piece of misinformation that has been spread time and time again. It’s easy to think that smartphones may be emitting harmful radiation when you know that it uses electromagnetic waves. You may have even come across claims that the radiation is strong enough to fry an egg or that keeping it in close contact with your body can cause cancer. All of this is not possible as the electromagnetic waves from a smartphone are just not that strong. Smartphone manufacturers adhere to what’s called SAR limits to make sure of this. SAR stands for ‘Specific Absorption Rate’ and this is what phone brands keep in mind with their products. The level of radiation is nowhere enough to fry an egg; you’d need over 7000 smartphones to even trigger anything. Cancer is also off the table, with many global cancer associations finding no established links.

Incognito Mode makes you anonymous online

Going into incognito mode does not guarantee complete privacy. This mode just makes sure that your browsing sessions are not saved on your phone. It prevents cookies and cache data from being stored. However, there’s no hiding other information from your Internet Service Provider and owners of the sites you visit. Data like your location, identity and activity can be intercepted and tracked. There’s also no protection from any malware you may encounter. The solution is to use a TOR browser or a good VPN for any private browsing sessions.

Put your wet smartphone in rice

This may be a hack that has worked for you in the past. Be warned that it might do more harm than good. Dunking your wet phone in rice can be useful to get rid of the moisture. Rice is very good at absorbing any water it comes in contact with. However, the powdery, starchy residue on the rise can cause issues. If any of it comes in contact with the delicate electronics inside the smartphone, it could initiate or speed up corrosion. This is why it’s just better to let your phone dry normally and then power it down before giving it in for repair. You could even put it in an airtight bag with a little pouch of synthetic desiccant, which is usually sold in little sachets.

 Being able to filter out the false information about the device you depend on heavily is crucial. Hopefully, these debunked myths will let you approach claims about smartphones with a more critical eye in the future.

By Thiyashi Koththigoda | Published: 2:10 PM Jun 12 2021

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