There’s something about myths. Not only do they make for great conversation, but myths fire up the imagination. So much so, they were the focus of MythBusters, one of the Discovery Channel’s most popular longest-running shows.
Of course, when it comes to technology, the myths are plenty. A couple that continues to make the rounds include Apple devices are impervious to viruses and using a smartphone while it’s charging is dangerous or could cause the device to explode.
While the first myth is simple to debunk, the latter is not. To determine the authenticity of this myth, we need to understand its origins.
PssT! Are you an Apple user? Tap or click here to read the Apple version of this article.
Where did the tale begin
As with most tales, legends, and myths, their beginnings are always in question. The who, what, when, and where typically go forever unknown. However, that is not the case with the 'it’s dangerous to use your smartphone while it is charging' myth as there is a true-life basis behind the narrative.
In 2013, the internet lit up with an account of a Chinese flight attendant’s iPhone 4 exploding while she was using it as it was charging. Unfortunately, as many stories go, one critical detail was left out. The charger being used was a third-party charger, which was most likely the culprit.
Can I use my Android while it charges
Perhaps it occurs to you that your Android gets hot if you use it while it’s charging. You don’t need to worry though -- it is definitely safe to use while it’s charging.
The bad thing about use while charging is you’ll slow down the charging speed in the process. Your phone may heat up a little, but it’s unlikely to heat up to the point where it’s dangerous.
The only time you should be worried is if you're using a cheap, third-party charger. If it's not up to regulations it could cause problems.
Before you panic about third-party chargers, understand they are all not created equal. While there is an abundance of cheap knock-offs littering the internet that no expert would recommend, there are several manufacturers that produce quality chargers suitable for use with your Android.
If, over the life of your smartphone, you need an additional charger or a replacement for the one that came with your device, save yourself some money and purchase a third-party charger.
Just make sure that the charger you're buying is safe. For Android gadgets, you want to make sure that any charger you use is compliant with USB-C specifications. Cables that are in compliance prevent the device from drawing too much power from a computer's USB port when charging, which could cause damage.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention problems can and do arise with Android smartphones. However, they tend to be the result of the following:
- poor wiring
- defective or incompatible components
- improperly discharged battery
- overheating of the unit
- punctured battery
How to prevent charging problems
Although smartphone manufacturers test their finished goods, there are additional organizations that carefully examine mobile devices to help protect you against defective or dangerous units.
One such agency is the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which is in charge of regulating product safety. In addition to offering recall information, this government website provides the option to report an unsafe product.
Practicing a few safety tips will further ensure that you avoid troubles when using your mobile device while it is charging.
- Use compatible chargers and batteries.
- Check charger for damage before use.
- As with any electronics, use a surge protector.
- Keep the device away from any water source.
And, because overheating can cause damage to your smartphone’s battery, never leave your Android in the direct sunlight, a hot vehicle or under soft objects such as a blanket or pillow.
What are the odds
When it comes to the odds of you being hurt by a renegade smartphone, here is a statistic to help put things in perspective. There are over 2.5 billion active Android mobile devices worldwide, and only a handful of cases of smartphones going dangerously haywire.
Taking into account this astronomical figure, along with practicing safe habits when charging your Android, you are more likely to be struck by lightning or win your local lottery than suffer harm from your smartphone, even while using it when it's charging.
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