10 Popular Smartphone Myths That Aren’t True

Like everything in technology, mobile phones are prone to myths and rumors that just don’t seem to die. We’re going to tackle some of the most prevalent smartphone myths and see if we can do our part in ending the misinformation surrounding today’s smartphones.

So, let’s get started with the ten most common smartphone myths and misconceptions.

1. Apps Running in the Background Should Be Closed to Save Battery and Avoid Slowdowns

Apple and Android both allow apps to run in the background for more efficient multitasking. This myth seems as if it could be legitimate due to the idea that any additional processes use system resources, and the more programs you have running, the slower the device will be.

However, both operating systems limit just how much these apps can do while running in the background. But the amount of drain on your battery is quite minimal, and as far as slowing down your phone is concerned, it’s unlikely that multitasking is the culprit.

A side effect of this myth has been the myriad of task killer apps that litter both marketplaces. These apps are essentially useless, and while they do their job by closing background apps, they aren’t actually saving much in the way of resources or battery life.

You see, Android will automatically kill a task when more memory is needed, and so will an iPhone. Neither will show a noticeable difference without any apps running in the background.


2. You Should Let Your Battery Drain Completely Before Recharging

Lithium-ion batteries actually perform better when they remain charged, whereas Older NiCD and NiMH lasted longer when you let them fully drain before charging back to 100 percent.

Modern batteries don’t face this same problem because they don’t have “cell memory” like the older NiCD and NiMH rechargeables. Learn more about how a battery works and the common myths to know how you can care for it better.

However, there is still some truth to this rumor. While it doesn’t make your battery last any longer, some experts agree that you should be doing a 0-100 cycle—that is, letting it drain completely before fully recharging—every three months or after 40 partial cycles.

It’s not to increase the life of your battery, but instead, it’s to help calibrate the reading that shows on your display to remain accurate.

3. Bluetooth/Wi-Fi Direct Kills Your Battery

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct enable you to rapidly transfer huge files or other data from device to device. While we can debate which one is better, the truth is that they’re both pretty useful and remarkably similar. But do they kill your battery?


Newer generations of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct drain little-to-no power while not in use. Once you enable another device and begin transferring files, that’s when they’ll start eating your battery. Until then, just having them enabled won’t cause any noticeable battery drain.

4. Higher Specs Mean Better Performance

At its surface, this myth holds some weight, but the truth is that it’s not a reliable enough indicator for performance. Android has dozens of devices that come out each year, and some of them have rather impressive specifications. However, having great specs does not always make a phone great.

Cell phone cameras are the most egregious offenders when it comes to spec wars. The reality is that a 64-megapixel camera could be far inferior to an 8-megapixel camera in every significant category apart from image size. The same could be said for multi-core processors.

In addition, there are other factors in play. For example, several Android phones have better specs than an iPhone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the phone is any faster or superior to those with inferior specs. The operating system matters, as does user behavior while using it.

Specs are for marketers to woo consumers: don’t be fooled.

5. The Only Charger You Should Be Using Is the One That Came With Your Phone

To some extent, this myth exists solely to put money in the pockets of the phone manufacturers. While smartphones have razor-thin profit margins, the accessory market makes up a good deal of a company’s revenue. As such, they are highly motivated to keep you buying OEM chargers.

The truth is that any charger built to the manufacturer’s specs is safe to use with your phone.

What most consumers don’t understand is that there is a difference between a quality third-party charger and a cheap Chinese knock-off. Quality manufacturers, such as Belkin, Amazon, and others, are entirely safe for use with your smartphone, as they are built to the original specs of the manufacturer’s charger.

On the other hand, the knock-offs are known to be rather dangerous.

6. Charging Your Phone Overnight Kills the Battery

This is another myth that was true at one point, but with the improvement in the battery and charging technologies, it’s now completely false. Older batteries weren’t smart enough to realize when they were full, and consistently overcharging them decreased battery life over time.

Today’s charging mechanisms are smarter. Once your phone is fully charged, it stops drawing electricity. It’s completely acceptable to charge your smartphone while you sleep.

7. Apps Downloaded From Google Play or Apple App Store are Completely Safe

Many of us are usually afraid of downloading APK installation files for Android because we don’t trust the source. However, naturally, you feel safe when you download an app from Google Play or Apple App Store.

While you’ll be right in thinking so, most of the time, downloading apps from official stores doesn’t guarantee safety. Many of the apps connect to the internet and communicate with their servers. That means malware can be sent to your phone at any time.

But don’t be scared. Apps from trusted developers are usually safe. They have a whole reputation to maintain. So, they keep their apps clean. You might want to be careful with the apps from unknown developers, though.

8. Turning Off the Phone/Removing the SIM/Putting it in Airplane Mode Keeps You From Being Tracked

The first thing that’s important to understand is that unless you’re in a terrorist sleeper cell or running from the police, law enforcement really has no need or desire to track you.

First, let’s address airplane mode. Putting your phone in airplane mode basically turns off Wi-Fi and cellular service to act as a “do not disturb” switch for your phone. This will not keep anyone from tracking you, especially via satellite. You see, in most modern phones, you can still use GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connections in airplane mode.

The truth is that a phone needs power to transmit a signal, so turning off the phone or (better yet) removing the battery will indeed keep you from being tracked. Except, not always.

Phones infected with certain types of malware, such as Android’s old PowerOffHijack that spoofed the usual shutdown animation, made it appear as if your phone was off. In reality, it wasn’t, and it was probably tracking you.

Removing the SIM also won’t work, as your phone still has built-in identifiers detectable by Stingray devices or fake cell towers used by the NSA. These devices are all used by government agencies, the military, and law enforcement in the United States.

The only foolproof way to avoid tracking is to remove the battery. Of course, if you’re using a phone that doesn’t allow you access to the battery, the only real option is ditching the phone or investing in a privacy case, which is essentially a Faraday Cage for your phone. Nothing goes in, and nothing goes out.

9. Automatic Brightness Settings Save Battery

This is entirely false. The idea is that using the onboard light sensor of a smartphone can automatically calibrate the ideal brightness setting to save power.

The reality is that this might save you a bit of battery by dimming your screen when appropriate. Still, that pesky light sensor uses more power over the day by constantly pinging your CPU to process the data it collects and decides if a lower (or higher) brightness setting is appropriate.

10. The Open Source Nature of Android Makes it More Prone to Vulnerabilities

Open-source software is, by its very definition, well, open. Giving access to the operating system’s inner workings could lead to exploits, but you might be surprised to know that Android as an operating system is remarkably secure.

What’s not secure are the apps. The open nature of the app marketplace and the ability to run apps outside of the centralized Google Play marketplace makes Android phones more susceptible to malware exploits than Apple with its somewhat heavy-handed app store.

Ignore These Myths and Enjoy Your Smartphone Freely

As you have read above, these myths and misconceptions are baseless. You won’t get any benefit by believing in and acting upon them.

Also, check out this article listing myths about PCs. It might clear some misconceptions for you.

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