The only thing that may have grown and developed faster than mobile phone technology itself is the gossip about them. None of us is a stranger to seemingly wild claims of lethal radiation and exploding phones.
It is essential to weed out irrelevant information to inculcate safe mobile phone practices. However, as many myths are rooted in truth, it can be hard to do so. So let’s talk about some commonly believed mobile phone myths.
Myths about the battery
Myth #1: You should let your battery drain completely before charging it again
Fact: This holds for the nearly obsolete Ni-Cd or Ni-H ion batteries. They experience a phenomenon known as the ‘memory effect’. Batteries appeared to ‘remember’ how much energy was drawn on previous discharges and would not deliver more than that.
However, most electronic devices these days make use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. Li-ion batteries are not susceptible to the memory effect. Hence, you can charge your phone whenever it is convenient.
Myth #2: You shouldn’t charge your phone overnight
Fact: Charging overnight will not significantly damage your battery. Your phone cannot be overcharged and is “smart” enough to know when to stop charging. In addition, all phones come equipped with chips that prevent them from absorbing excess electric current once fully charged.
Myth #3: You shouldn’t use your phone while it’s charging
Fact: When a Li-ion battery discharges, ions move from anode to cathode. The direction reverses when it is charging. You can read more about Li-ion batteries here.
If you use your phone when it’s plugged in, your battery can drain as fast as it charges. This eventually leads to uneven ageing of the battery, where some ions have been through more cycles than the rest. However, there is no associated safety risk.
Also read: How to access your PC from your phone?
Myths about apps
Myth #4: Closing all your background apps will speed up your phone
Fact: There is some truth to this, as opening every app simultaneously can cause your phone to lag. However, most modern phones are specifically designed to optimise foreground apps even when many others wait in the background. It doesn’t hurt to clear your background apps regularly, but don’t expect any drastic changes.
Myth #5: E-commerce apps will kill retail stores
Fact: Many online sellers encourage the installation of their apps by providing specific discounts. Experts claim that this will eventually “kill off brick-and-mortar retail”. While smartphones have undoubtedly changed the way, we shop, 90% of purchases are still made in stores. Mobile shopping is on the rise, but not at the cost of brick-and-mortar stores.
Myths about services
Myth #6: 4G uses up more data than 3G
Fact: The size of a download is the same, regardless of which network you’re on. However, as 4G allows its users to browse more pages in lesser time, you may accidentally consume more data than you would on a 3G network. Also, streaming services are available in different resolutions to match your connection, perhaps tempting you to watch HD content for longer.
Myth #7: Speaking on the phone is dangerous as mobiles give off radiation near the brain
Fact: Various national and international authorities have established limits on Specific Absorption Rating. Manufacturers must meet certification requirements to mass-produce cell phones. That is, no phone on the market emits enough radiation to cause concern.
Myth #8: Location services are killing your battery
Fact: Certainly, location services take a toll on your battery. However, turning off such essential services impacts the quality of its functioning and defeats the purpose of having a phone. Should you choose to keep location services on all the time, you will not see a massive drop in battery life.
Myth #9: Screen protectors alone can protect your display
Fact: Back when smartphones were new, they were made of thin, responsive glass. Their displays were susceptible to scratches and cracks, necessitating screen protectors. However, most major manufacturers have been pioneering super-tough displays that can survive most mechanical stresses in recent times. A simple sheet of plastic just isn’t required anymore.
Myth #10: More megapixels means a better camera
Fact: Unless you intend to make large prints of your mobile phone pictures, the number of megapixels doesn’t matter. You won’t notice the difference between 8MP and 12 MP. If you’re looking for good image quality, look for depth of field capabilities, image stabilisation, and wide-angle lenses.
Myth #11: Any charger will do the job
Fact: While this is technically true, it may not be the safest choice to use off-brand chargers. Such devices are not built with safety and longevity in mind. As a result, they are more likely than branded chargers to cause a fire, overheating, or battery damage. Keep in mind, though, that replica chargers from trustworthy brands are acceptable.
Akshaya is a voracious reader, and a bit of a know-it-all. She is usually found with a book in hand and considers herself a connoisseur of all things nerdy.