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Old Jun 17, 07, 12:07 pm   #1
 
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Can Magnets Harm Cell Phones?

OK, for Father's Day, I received a cell phone case designed to clip onto my belt. But rather than the usual Velcro fastener, the case snaps shut with a small magnet embedded in the flap.

So, can a magnet living next to a cell phone for hours and weeks at a time do any harm to the phone's hardware or software? PC Magazine recently ran an editorial which argued that cell phones were simply specialized PCs. And I sure wouldn't want to keep a magnet next to my PC!
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Old Jun 17, 07, 12:39 pm   #2
 
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The magnet won't harm your cell phone. Or your PC.
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Old Jun 17, 07, 1:02 pm   #3
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Putting a piece of metal close to the phone's antenna is never a good idea since it affects the reception and may force the phone to transmit with higher power to maintain a connection with the base station. If that piece of metal is magnetic, the performance is affected even more.

But there is no long term damage to the phone (except quicker draining of the battery leading to more frequent charging which may cause it to go bad sooner). As soon as the metal piece is removed from the phone's vicinity, the phone will be back to working normally.
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Old Jun 17, 07, 1:44 pm   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertS975 View Post
OK, for Father's Day, I received a cell phone case designed to clip onto my belt. But rather than the usual Velcro fastener, the case snaps shut with a small magnet embedded in the flap.

So, can a magnet living next to a cell phone for hours and weeks at a time do any harm to the phone's hardware or software? PC Magazine recently ran an editorial which argued that cell phones were simply specialized PCs. And I sure wouldn't want to keep a magnet next to my PC!
Every blackberry has a magnet activated switch to know if the phone is in a holster or not. The blackberry holster has a magnet in the lining. When the two line up the switch opens.
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Old Jun 18, 07, 6:57 am   #5
 
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I use one of these magnetic flap cell phone holders.

No problem what so ever with my cell phone and I've used it for over an year now.

At least with mine, the magnet is so small that i doubt it can do anything any harm.
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Old Jun 18, 07, 4:33 pm   #6
 
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That magnets damage computer chips is generally a myth. For proof, dissect a hard drive. Inside are two of the largest magnets generally found in residential homes.
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Old Jun 18, 07, 10:54 pm   #7
 
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Originally Posted by RobertS975 View Post
OK, for Father's Day, I received a cell phone case designed to clip onto my belt.
Do you have a son named Jon?

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Q: My dad is about to start using a cell phone holder in his car that uses a small magnet to hold the cell phone in place. Do small magnet holders affect the battery, screen, or any other part of the cell phone?
óJon

A: By and large, magnets aren't the best things to put near an electronic device. As a kid, did you ever try putting a magnet near your TV set, only to see it warp the picture slightly? In that case, the magnet was distorting the flow of electrons from the CRT. Magnets aren't good for a cassette or a floppy-disc drive either (if anyone still uses them).

In your case, however, I wouldn't worry. Unless you're talking about some giant magnet such as the one seen in the season finale of Lost, you shouldn't have problems with magnets and a cell phone. I assume you're talking about a holder specifically designed for cell phones so that the magnets in it are likely to be quite small. And in any case, the Motorola Pebl uses small integrated magnets to keep the flip cover closed.
http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-3504_7-6541574-1.html
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Old Jun 19, 07, 2:04 am   #8
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Originally Posted by Taiwaned View Post
I use one of these magnetic flap cell phone holders.

No problem what so ever with my cell phone and I've used it for over an year now.

At least with mine, the magnet is so small that i doubt it can do anything any harm.
You don't need a big piece of metal to affect the radio performance and standby time.

A couple of years ago some companies started selling fake crystal 'bling' stickers so that people could decorate their phones. Every piece of bling is only a couple of millimeters in size and is made of plastic with a reflective metallic backing (to make the sparkle...). One of these pieces, placed directly over the antenna, is enough to affect the radio performance, reducing the battery life up to 20% according to tests I read.
Even putting them further away from the antenna affected the performance if you put enough pieces on the phone.

But there is no long-term harm to the phone once the metallic piece is removed, except maybe needing to get a new battery sooner because the battery has been discharged and charged too many times, but most people get a new phone before that happens
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Old Jun 19, 07, 10:46 am   #9
 
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Big magnets can apparently wipe out cell phone batteries.

Had an interesting experience--had the phone in my briefcase in a room adjacent to the MRI suite at a hospital. My fully-charged battery was totally wiped out. It did recharge w/o a problem.
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Old Jun 19, 07, 11:37 pm   #10
 
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Had an interesting experience--had the phone in my briefcase in a room adjacent to the MRI suite at a hospital. My fully-charged battery was totally wiped out. It did recharge w/o a problem.
I don't know if a MRI directly affects a cell phone, but a quick google search confirmed my suspicion that MRI machines are installed in rooms which are protected by a farady cage to prevent outside RF signals from corrupting their readings. If you are inside the faraday cage, your cell phone will not see any signal and will go to full power trying to find one. They usually give up after awhile and go to a standby mode to prevent killing the battery too quickly.
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