Life

8 Untrue Smartphone Myths Explained

By now, we all either have smartphones or know someone who has one. Along with owning one comes a bunch of beliefs fellow smartphone-owners tell us, like “Don’t charge your phone overnight” to “The less apps you have open, the better.”

However, are those true… or false? As an Android user who just had to get a new phone (made the switch from a Samsung Galaxy 2 to an LG Stylo), I was curious if any of these smartphone rumors were true. Turns out, they were not. Phew!

1. Only Use The Charger That Your Phone Came With—FALSE

A few years ago, when I lost the charger to my Verizon phone, it was around $20 to buy a new one. I looked on Amazon… and found one for a penny! Yes, a penny!

The shipping was a couple dollars, but that’s beside the point. I loved my penny replacement charger, though some friends said it wasn’t good for my phone to use this impostor of a charger instead of the Verizon one.

However, that charger lasted longer than my previous Verizon ones had. In researching this conundrum—is the “fake” charger just as good as the name-brand one?—I found out, yes. It is. Of course, certain USB ports are stronger than others, so there is never a guarantee on which one will be best for your phone, but I’ve had luck with my non-brand-name ones.

How-To Geek says,

Feel free to plug your phone into a more powerful charger. Your phone will only draw as much power as it needs from the charger, so it shouldn’t become damaged. In fact, your phone may even charge faster with a more powerful charger. You could plug your phone into a less-powerful charger, too—it just wouldn’t charge as fast, or it may not charge at all if the charger isn’t powerful enough.

So, there you have it.

2. It’s Not Good To Charge Your Phone Overnight—FALSE

There’s a tall tale going around that says to not charge your phone overnight—ever—for it will destroy your battery. In the olden days—when smartphones first came out—it was possible for batteries to overheat (particularly lithium-ion ones).

However, as smartphones continue to improve, this is less and less likely. If you charge your phone at night, while you sleep, your phone will know when your battery is at 100% and will stop charging (even though it’s still plugged in).

Experts do say, though, that’s it’s good to give your phone a rest sometimes and not keep it plugged in every night. In fact, having it charged between 40-80% is ideal, they say, to keep your battery healthy and help it live a long life.

Also, when my new LG Stylo is fully charged, a message appears saying to unplug it to save energy. Great idea!

3. Close Apps To Help Extend Your Battery—FALSE

In the land of laptops, it helps to not have 101 windows open at once (I am guilty of this), or else your laptop can freeze or deplete your battery faster.

With your smartphone, this is not the case. If you have an app open on your phone, but you are not using it at the moment, it is just there, not draining your battery. In fact, closing it probably does more harm than good, as when you open it again, the phone has to load the app again, causing more work for your phone.

Plus, iOS will close apps for you if your phone needs more memory. Who knew?! But what about texting apps, like Facebook Messenger?

They actually run all the time, so if your battery’s draining more than it used to (i.e., before you downloaded Facebook Messenger or what have you), experts say to either: disable the background app refresh on iOS (or Google Now On Tap on an Android) or get rid of the app.

4. Freeze Your Phone—FALSE

Remember hearing about how we should put our phone battery in the freezer? I do. I never tried it, but just remember: the only thing that should be in your freezer is ice cream (like Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked), not your cell phone battery.

Sadly, I’ve seen many friends put their phone batteries into the freezer and there’s no Ben & Jerry’s in sight! On top of which, many batteries don’t do well in atmospheres that are too hot or too cold.

You may have witnessed this in your car, when your phone is charging and also getting a lot of sun on the seat next to you, and then it overheats. Some say heat is worse than cold for your phone, so make sure to keep it just right.

5. Leave Your Phone Alone While It Charges—FALSE

I don’t like to use my phone while it charges, as it is often too hot and I fear increased amounts of radiation, but other people fear the battery won’t charge as well if you’re using the phone at the same time.

This may be true if you are using poorly powered charger, but you should still feel free to use the phone, charging or not.

6. Disabling Things (Like Wi-Fi and Location Services) Will Save Battery Life—FALSE

Like the above, if you are not using the Location App at the moment, let it be on and don’t worry that it’s draining more of your battery – it’s not, as long as you have checked to make sure your phone is only using it when the app is literally open.

Putting your phone on Airplane Mode is another falsehood (and was found to save only 30 minutes of battery life). However, gaming is the number one way to deplete your battery, so gamer beware. Pro tip: If you play your games on a dim setting, it’ll help preserve the battery!

Watching videos, like on YouTube or Netflix, will also drain it. But, having your screen off will help save your battery, so have it time out quickly or turn it off yourself when it’s not needed (like when you’re driving).

7. Phone Cameras With More Megapixels Are Better—FALSE

I know, it’s time for you to get a new smartphone and you’re tempted to get the one with the camera that has more megapixels. But wait. The more megapixels, the better, is just a myth.

Phone suppliers try to sell us on this idea, but it’s not true, experts say. One megapixel equates to one million pixels and common phones have 8- or 16-megapixel cameras.

The 8-megapixel ones have larger pixels, allowing for more light, for instance, which you may prefer. Plus, the lens could be better in an 8-megapixel camera. So, test them out for yourself or research what other users say before deciding for yourself.

8. Make Sure To Use A Screen Protector—FALSE

We’ve all seen them, those clear sheets of plastic that fit over our phone screens. We think they’ll prevent scratches (at least, they are marketed to do so), and we all know people with scratched (or cracked) iPhone screens, so why not be safe? Right?

Wrong! Experts say these may have helped when smartphones initially came out, but with the higher quality of scratch-resistant glass being used these days, screen protectors aren’t necessary.

Of course, I am not suggesting you go get the protector, then drop your phone as an experiment.

Photo by Johan Larsson