Have you heard about how charging your phone overnight kills the battery? What about this bombshell: Macs are immune to viruses. There’s a lot of misleading tech news out there, and with each new generation of technology goods and services comes a new set of misconceptions. Many of them are easily debunked, but we identified a handful for this tale that might make even our readers think twice!
It’s possible that you’re concerned about something that isn’t true—or something that used to be true but isn’t anymore, thanks to fresh discoveries and updates.
Look over our list to check if there’s anything on there that you thought was true but isn’t. Then tell your friends, family, and social media followers the truth so they don’t fall for tech nonsense.
Someday, Starlink will take over your sluggish ISP.
Many individuals have pinned their hopes on Starlink, the Elon Musk-owned SpaceX satellite-based internet service. According to statistics, more Americans prefer Starlink service to 5G in-home internet service; 76 percent of respondents in our study indicated they’d be somewhat or very inclined to switch to Starlink if it were available in their area.
According to the FCC, 35% of Americans do not have access to broadband. Starlink promises to be revolutionary for those living in underserved areas, many of which are rural, with few options for internet access. However, regardless of how bad the service is, the chances that it can or should replace your cable or fiber connection are small.
Congestion will be one of the difficulties. According to one assessment, the Starlink service could only manage roughly 485,000 customers even with 12,000 low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellites in orbit—despite the fact that 500,000 orders have already been placed and fewer than 2,000 Starlink satellites are now in space. SpaceX aims to launch 42,000 LEO satellites by 2025. Eventually.
Even Musk has stated that the service will be ideal for areas with a low to medium population density, claiming that 5G will be superior in cities. Starlink isn’t designed to be a replacement for anything; rather, it’s supposed to be a supplement. At $99 per month plus the purchase of equipment, it’s not exactly a cheap option.
It’s possible that the main issue is that every other LEO satellite internet business that tried this has failed. Last summer, Musk stated that Starlink need $30 billion in order to avoid bankruptcy. According to a leaked email of his, the entire operation could fail by the end of 2022, despite the fact that this is highly unlikely.
You’ll Save a Lot of Money If You Cut the Cord
This is still possible, but only if you’re ready to make do with a couple of streaming services and an HD antenna to get your basic networks over the air.
However, all of the media corporations have now constructed content walled gardens, with most of it being exclusive (especially if it’s new). Peacock is required if you want NBC content (for example, reruns of The Office). You’ll need Paramount+ if you want to watch CBS series (including Star Trek). Do you want to see Fixer Upper? You’ll need Discovery+. Because Disney owns so much of Hulu, ABC has persisted with it—but then Disney established Disney+ for everything else. Netflix, Prime Video, and HBO Max are all attempting to captivate you with timely original content.
Even the minor tier on all of these services costs roughly $980 per year (as of May 2021). Even if this is still less expensive than cable with a DVR or a live-TV streaming service, you won’t have access to everything. Who has the time (or the money) to do something like that?
Privacy/Incognito Mode Is Completely Confidential
When you use your preferred web browser in privacy/incognito mode, do you feel a little safer from prying eyes? It helps, but it doesn’t provide complete privacy and anonymity.
When you close a window, the mode deletes cookies and tracking data. However, it does not prevent websites and even your ISP from tracking your movements. Your browser, for example, has a unique fingerprint that has nothing to do with the files or information (such as cookies) that the site places on your computer. The fingerprint is more akin to revealing your browser’s DNA. This is something that websites may and do employ. Even utilizing a VPN when incognito can’t hide everything.
Switching to a security-focused browser, such as Brave, or using the Tor Browser, a system that bounces your connections around while you surf, is the best approach. (Unfortunately, both have a reputation for slowing down your online experience.) Some services can even conceal your identity by injecting incorrect information into your fingerprint.
You’re a small fry, and you’re not a target of cybercrime.
If you have nothing to hide, why would someone try to hack you? Keep in mind that we all have something to hide. PPI stands for private personal information, which is the type of information utilized in identity theft. It has the potential to ruin your life.
Your Social Security number may be used or stored on government websites if you undertake any kind of job there. Every online buying binge is linked to your credit card number. It may appear safe, but due to enormous and regular data breaches, this type of personal information becomes public all the time. You may be a minor player, but that doesn’t mean your PPI won’t be discovered, sold, and resold to criminals. Many of the methods used to do this are automated: they’ll scrape the internet for anything they can sell, hitting as many targets as possible.
One thing you can do to help yourself is to use a different password for each site and service you use on the internet. Yes, remembering them all is a headache (which is why we advocate using a password manager), but if your password is compromised in one breach, the bad guys might gain access to all of your accounts using that one password.
Batteries have a’memory’ of their own.
When gadgets were powered by nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries, they may develop a memory that prevented them from charging beyond a certain point. That’s where the idea of “discharging my battery all the way to zero” originated from because it would operate as a memory reset. With the contemporary lithium-ion battery, this is not the case.
Capacity and deterioration are the issues with lithium-ion batteries. In the same amount of charging time, a new phone may reach 100% whereas an older phone may only reach 80%. It’s been dubbed “old man syndrome” by some. Younger batteries, like a teenager at a buffet, are more power hungry.
Whatever the case may be, the more charge cycles a battery undergoes, the less capacity it has in the long term. Phones with so-called “rapid charging” capabilities accelerate the deterioration process. Stick to your usual nighttime charging routine—just charge slowly, whether plugged in or wireless.
You should only charge a phone from 0% to 100%.
Nope: Running a modern lithium-ion battery at 0% all of the time is dangerous. It causes them to wear out more quickly. A partial discharge is what you want to do.
Another problem is a lack of capacity. Because the components in a battery like the one in your smartphone are constantly deteriorating, they simply hold less power over time. It’s why your old phone lasts fewer and fewer hours compared to a brand-new device’s full day of use. The capacity is diminishing.
Some individuals still believe that powering down a phone to zero once in a while helps as a type of reset—for example, if your phone displays it’s at 30% but suddenly dies. The issue is that modern phones rarely reach the end of their battery life. With a trickle of charge remaining inside, they’ll do an auto-shutdown. Allow the phone to sit for a few hours before plugging it in if you suspect this.
The best technique is to never allow the phone’s battery drop below 20%, then charge it up to roughly 80%, which happens quickly on a fast charge. Keeping it between 30 and 80 percent is a smart strategy to extend the life of a battery.
Overcharging smartphones overnight causes the battery to be overcharged.
Your smartphone is smart enough to have extra protection, so it stops charging when the lithium-ion battery reaches 100% capacity. It will never become overburdened. Faulty batteries are to blame for stories of phones catching fire.
But don’t put your phone beneath your pillow—it can get hot, burn you, and then burn out on its own. A phone must dissipate heat, which is another factor that depletes batteries. Don’t sleep on your smartphone any more than you would on your laptop.
When a phone is plugged in to charge all night, it may use some power and decrease to 99 percent before charging back up to 100 percent. That’s not ideal, but don’t get too worked up about it. If you wake up in the middle of the night, disconnect it or remove it from the wireless charger. Before daybreak, it won’t have lost much.
Smartphones are just as good as full-frame cameras when it comes to taking pictures.
Of course, the best camera is the one you have with you, and the smartphone is the one we always have with us. You can look at the impressive specs of a modern smartphone camera—the Samsung Galaxy S21 has a 108-megapixel sensor!—and be confident in the photos you’ll take. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that a specialized interchangeable lens camera can’t perform better.
We frequently strive to dispel the idea that “more megapixels equals better picture” (it’s the sensor size within the camera that counts more). It’s one of the reasons why so many people—as much as 86 percent in a recent survey—believe their high-megapixel smartphone can compete with a professional-level camera. Perhaps more common these days is the assumption that a smartphone camera’s groundbreaking technology makes it just as good. That technology is classified as computational photography, in which imaging technology is used to improve or expand your digital photographic capabilities. Computational photography can achieve a 360-degree picture of the landscape or the shallow depth of field bokeh effect without the use of a large, expensive camera.
That’s fantastic, but consider this. Have you ever seen a professional photographer use a smartphone at a wedding, on the sidelines of a major sporting event, or at a model shoot? It’s unlikely.
Of course, professional equipment necessitates professional abilities. You must understand the concepts of exposure, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. And a smartphone’s lens choices is, well, limited. If you can’t manage a high-end camera, using a phone camera may result in better photos—at least from you.
Premium HDMI Cables Deliver a Clearer Image
In a cable, there’s something to be said for aesthetics and durability. And you can get that with a pricey HDMI cable (one 20-meter cable we discovered was $10,500!). However, it’s difficult to conceive that a cable that costs as much as a car will be worthwhile.
At the end of the day, a digital signal is still a digital signal. And the picture on your TV won’t alter if you have a $10 cable against a $1,000 cable of the same length (at least less than 75 feet long) and specifications.
However, you should be aware of the various HDMI standards (not that it matters much right now). The 1.4 specifications has been around for a decade and can handle video up to 4K resolution. It is compatible with all HDMI cables. If you’re one of the few who has an 8K setup, acquire an HDMI 2.1 cable, which is supported by the vast majority of TV models from the last few years, regardless of whether they’re 8K or not. The speed rating is very essential (Standard, High Speed, Premium High Speed, and Ultra High Speed). The latter three can support 4K at 24 frames per second, but to obtain the highest frame rate for gaming, you’ll need Premium or Ultra.
When your components are far apart, cable length can be an issue. To avoid interference over long distances, cables must be well insulated. So while you may pay extra for it, you’d be better off adopting Ethernet at some time. Read What You Need to Know About HDMI Cables for further information on the subject.
5G Towers Have the Potential to Make You Sick
Certain people have long been concerned that cellular transmissions, Wi-Fi, and even even radio from the 1930s are causing them to become ill. The newest over-the-air “enemy” is 5G. 5G has gotten a lot of attention in our conspiracy-obsessed times, where outright lies may pass for truth even when facts are staring them in the face.
Some conspiracy theories have been covered by Mashable, such as how turning up 5G will lead people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to suddenly combust. (On January 5, 2022, this was scheduled to “happen.”) It didn’t work.)
Furthermore, there is no scientific evidence that there is a link between 5G and COVID-19. None.
The (since postponed) introduction of new 5G services by carriers Verizon and AT&T was scheduled for January 5, but it was pushed back to January 19. Because the FAA was concerned about C-band service interfering with aircraft, this happened. By crashing a plane, 5G may be the only way it can affect your health. (Before we start a new myth, keep in mind that this situation is likewise extremely rare.)
What it boils down to is that 5G is “based on radio frequencies that have been utilized for decades,” as our mobile-tech expert Sascha Segan previously stated. It’s the same as expecting a headache from UHF. According to the World Health Organization, low-level electromagnetic fields from towers (“if they exist at all”) pose a minimal risk when compared to the everyday dangers of driving or, ahem, not wearing a mask during a respiratory-illness epidemic. Read Is 5G Safe? for more information.
Airport X-Rays Destroy Memory on Laptops and Smartphones
Airport security has the authority to drain your water, demand that you remove your belt and shoes, and blast you with air in the search for explosives residue. However, the conveyor belt scanners it employs to examine your stuff will not erase your information. The legend dates back to the days of film cameras: Undeveloped negatives could be harmed by the electromagnetic radiation of an X-ray, especially high-speed film that is extremely photosensitive. The photon scanners in use, on the other hand, will not harm a hard drive (though a large magnet would, so don’t take your laptop into an MRI machine).
TSA scanners also have no effect on a smartphone’s solid-state drive, which is the only type of storage available. Not because they couldn’t if they were powerful enough, but because they couldn’t in theory. The TSA machines, on the other hand, aren’t quite as intrusive.
So, why does the TSA need you to remove your electronics out of your bag and place them in a separate bin? Because they’re so dense, authorities won’t be able to look through them on a screen, perhaps hiding your four ounces of banned shampoo.
Keep in mind that the amount of radiation you and your gadgets are exposed to from the sun and beyond at 36,000 feet on a cross-country airline flight is roughly the same as two chest X-rays. Although it isn’t particularly hazardous (unless you’re a crew member), you might want to consider driving instead.
Radiation from products is causing you to become ill. Electromagnetic fields (EMF) are present in almost anything that has power, from the sun and lightning to your Airpods. We’re not talking about the same thing as sitting close to a uranium mine. “Everyone is exposed to a complicated combination of weak electric and magnetic fields, both at home and at work,” according to the World Health Organization.
The primary effect of a low- to mid-frequency EMF on biological systems is to cause them to heat up, but most individuals never come into contact with levels high enough to cause this. (High-frequency EMFs, such as X-rays, CT scans, and even UV rays from the sun and tanning beds, are ionizing and cause more harm.)
Since 1996, the WHO has been conducting an EMF Project to determine the effects of frequencies up to 300GHz. There is still much more research to be done. Non-ionizing EMFs are classified as a probable carcinogen in certain studies, but not in others. Cancer death rates have been declining since the early 1990s, despite the massive expansion of technologies during the last 20 years.
There is a whole world of items available to protect you from this invisible radiation. Most of them are total grifts given by schemers to take advantage of people’s anxieties, from beanies for your head (the current version of a tin-foil hat) to “anti-EMF” stickers you can put on your phone to a router cover that probably does more to prevent dust than radiation. Some so-called negative-ion jewelry that claimed to “block 5G” was discovered to instead release harmful ionizing radiation. A few items may achieve what they say, however when the EMF is blocked, the signal utilized for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G, and other wireless technologies is also blocked. You could make them inactive by putting them in a Faraday cage. Stop using your phone and the internet if you’re worried about EMFs.
Every night, PCs should be properly shut down.
This has been a hot topic for years. There are multiple benefits to shutting down computers overnight: they consume less energy, moving parts like fans and drives don’t spin up, you won’t receive nighttime messages and alarms, and a daily restart helps the operating system. But there are other reasons to leave it on all night: remote access, background updates, the fact that you don’t want to wait for a restart, and the fact that a cold reboot creates a power surge that seems unnecessary at any frequency. Both camps argue that their method allows a PC to live longer.
In a 2020 poll, Panda Security discovered that 37 percent of individuals shut down their work computers nightly, 23 percent never shut down, and 15 percent would only turn the system off if it stopped operating.
Only shut down your PC at night if it contains important information and your network isn’t secure, or if you don’t need to run backups or remotely access the drive, according to Panda. Otherwise, leave it on and restart it every now and then to clear the RAM and perform OS updates.
Apple slows down older devices to entice you to upgrade.
When a new iPhone is released, your previous phone appears to be less responsive. As though something has happened to it that has compelled you to make a new purchase.
Apple acknowledged this at one point. Apple throttled CPUs on older iPhones to help solve the aging of iPhone batteries, according to the Batterygate scandal in 2017. People were outraged, states filed suit, and Apple was fined $113 million. Apple’s justification is that it did this for our own good, not to boost sales. (I’m sure the latter was only an unintended consequence.) All of the other phone manufacturers claim that phone performance does not degrade with age. Not on purpose, at least.
So, is your phone actually slowing down? The solution is most likely related to the changes to your mobile OS and all of the apps you have loaded. Everything has been tweaked to run on the most up-to-date hardware. If you’re trying to run iOS 15 on an iPhone 8, which came with iOS 11 in 2017, even if you’re running recent updated apps, the chips within aren’t meant for it.
Malware cannot infect Apple’s Macs or iPhones.
The malicious programmers that create viruses seek to get the most bang for their buck by infecting as many people as possible. That’s one of the reasons why Windows and Android smartphones are the most common targets; there are simply a lot more of them.
However, just because you don’t hear much about attacks on macOS and iOS doesn’t imply they don’t happen. While the walled-garden nature of Apple’s products makes it more difficult for bad actors to infect your devices with malware, even Apple occasionally leaves security flaws in its safeguards. Take, for example, the IOMobileFrameBuffer bug that hit iOS, iPadOS, and even watchOS in July 2021. It could have been an easy exploit if it had been discovered by the wrong people and not corrected with an update. To avoid such problems, keep your devices up to date.
A jailbroken iPhone or iPad is considerably more likely to get infected. However, if you’ve jailbroken your cellphone, you’re certainly tech-savvy enough to understand the dangers of running untested apps and software. Those of us who have been using Windows for decades know what I’m talking about.
There’s a Cloud in the Sky
We had no idea the tech term “cloud” was being used in such a literal sense, but it does exist and occasionally appears in lists. Some individuals seem to believe that references to the cloud or cloud computing imply that data is being stored in the sky. And severe weather can throw a wrench in the works.
No. “The cloud” is an internet metaphor derived from the cloud graphic that was often used in flowcharts to illustrate the internet’s amorphous nature. Cloud computing, more particularly, refers to Amazon, Microsoft, and Google’s vast data farms, which are used not just for online storage and information sharing, but also for product access and development. Cloud computing includes services such as Gmail, Netflix, OneDrive, and Amazon AWS. You can find out everything you need to know about it here.
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