Five Popular Smartphone Myths Debunked

For an object that barely ever leaves our palms, the smartphone can sometimes feel like an arcane piece of wizardry. 

Many of us don’t understand much about cell phones. We hear information that sounds reasonable and we adopt it as truth without taking the time to check it out. To make up for these inadequacies, we’ve made all kinds of common smartphone myths and misconceptions that a lot of people around the internet seem to be interested in. Whether it’s avoiding leaving your phone on charge overnight, or closing recent apps, we’re forever looking for ways to eke out a little more performance from our overworked batteries, even if the method doesn’t make an awful lot of sense.

We asked an IT expert to give their verdict on some of the most pervasive myths, explain the science behind the rumors and, just maybe, offer us some sage advice on extending the life of our smartphones.

Does Closing The Apps On Smartphone Make it faster?

For many Smartphone users, swiping up to close recently used apps has become second nature, assuming it improves performance and battery life, probably you might be one of them. But that’s not the case and we will explain why right now

When it comes to speed, completely closing all your apps delivers a slower experience when they’re relaunched. This action could drain even more of the battery, consume more Internet, and use more resources (RAM & CPU) to recover those apps.

For example, The iPhone’s operating system (IOS) is designed to manage CPU and memory resources on its own. Optimizing apps to deliver a fast and responsive experience, without the user even thinking about it. But when you force the operating system to close out every app, it doesn’t have that chance to optimize performance.

Instead, the app is flushed out of system memory, meaning what you were doing and where you left off will be forgotten, and the app will have to reload all of its content instead of simply staying on standby. And while the term standby may evoke paranoia of wasted battery power, that isn’t the case.

Just think of how you turn your phone on and off. It’s technically on standby when you put it to sleep, but it uses less power compared to shutting down the device, waiting a couple of minutes, and starting it back up again each time you use your phone.

Similarly, apps are designed to stay open in the background. And after each update, Android and IOS become more and more efficient and good at managing their power consumption to prevent any background app from unknowingly draining your battery.

Sometimes background apps that appear to be open, have already been removed from system memory and are technically completely closed. They simply continue to display it in the app switcher for the sake of convenience.

But when you tap on the window, you may notice that the app completely reloads and you weren’t taken back to where you left off. That’s because they already closed the app for you, likely because it hadn’t been used recently.

So if manually closing apps don’t do any good, why does the feature even exist?

Well, it’s designed to be used for one purpose: to restart an app that is frozen or isn’t behaving correctly.

Sort of like if your phone suddenly freezes up and you have to force restart the entire device. It’s a necessary troubleshooting measure that has to be included, but Apple & Google tried making it difficult to discover by hiding it from sight in the app switcher to prevent users from closing their apps unnecessarily.

Now if you want to continue swiping up to close apps just because it’s satisfying, we completely understand. Just know that it isn’t providing any functional benefit while likely hurting battery life and negatively affecting performance.

Should You Drain Your Battery Completely Before Recharging It?

We all want the best battery life out of our phones but the way we use and charge them can mean they lose battery life over time and to add to the confusion there’s a lot of misinformation out there about what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to charging and discharging your phone’s battery.

So let’s start with some battery basics. Chances are unless you’re reading this from the far distant future your phone has a lithium-ion or lithium-polymer battery. There are pros and cons for these kinds of batteries including safety and cost but both are very similar when it comes to charging and longevity, neither suffers from the so-called memory effect meaning if you always charge to say 60% then eventually the capacity will decrease to this level.

Hopefully, this information is not completely true, the memory effect has been seen to a limited degree in some lithium-ion cells but at least it’s much less prominent in this kind of battery compared to older types of battery with nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride. With these older batteries, you’d always want to make sure you deplete it fully before recharging and always recharge it to 100%.

With modern lithium batteries weirdly actually, the opposite is true, because of the chemistry of these batteries you want to minimize the amount of time it spends without very high or very low capacity levels. Both of which put a strain on the battery.

The truth about this and all kinds of battery degradation is that you’ll only really see the difference this makes over years of use but hopefully, you’re planning on keeping a new phone for a couple of years anyway so you want to make the most of your battery.

That’s not to say that having a phone battery at 100% some of the time is bad your battery is there to be used after all but if you’re constantly charging it from 80% up to 100% it’s gonna age faster than it would, otherwise because of the strain this puts on the internals of the cell.

That’s why some recent high-end phones like the ASUS Zenfone 7 PRO give you a score for your charging habits so you’ll know if it’d help to make some changes. And in ASUS’ Latest Gaming Phone the ROG Phone 3 there’s even an option to cap the regular charge limit at 80% because that phone has a ginormous 6,000 milliamp-hour battery so probably you don’t always need that full charge to get through the day.

Other phone companies brands like ONEPLUS have software features that learn when you normally wake up and make sure to only charge the final 80% when it’s needed to leave you with a full charge in the morning.

It’s a nice balance between battery health and practical use overnight charging is a really interesting point here because charging overnight risks your phone being at that less than ideal 80% to 100% range for longer. That’s even more true when you consider fast charging.

Fast charging can already age your phone battery more quickly because of the heat it produces, the faster you charge the more heat, and high heat is bad for lithium batteries. So most fast charging systems have a way to cleverly dissipate the heat and only charge at full whack for the first 50% or so when the battery can cope with it more easily.

So with a quick charger say you plug in overnight and it takes even less time to reach that 100% figure and you’re holding it at full capacity for even longer than if you’d used a slow charger and you’re producing more heat in the process which is also not ideal but also if you’re a phone manufacturer you really shouldn’t expect your customer to have to worry about this sort of thing that’s why the best kind of charging isn’t fast or slow it’s smart.

And like we mentioned earlier we’re already seeing many phone companies bring in smart charging systems to limit the amount of time your battery spends in that critical 80% to 100% range or worse plugged in and still charging at 100%.

Finally, we should talk about wireless charging a bit.

Wireless charging is less efficient and produces more heat than charging over a cable and as we’ve already aware of that heat is the enemy of long-term battery health. That’s why most fast wireless charging systems like one plus and Huawei’s have built-in fans to keep things at a reasonable temperature.

Still, if you’re going to charge wirelessly slow opportunistic toppers throughout the day are the best and for the reasons we’ve already talked about if you’ve got a wireless charger on your desk for quick top-ups throughout the day it’s best to not just have it sitting there all day at a 100%.

Every kind of battery charging solution is a trade-off between convenience, speed, and long-term battery health. Ultimately in phones, it’s gonna be smart charging software that helps make the difference to battery health in the long run.

Especially when we have super quick charging standards pushing past 100% watts on the horizon and it’s also true that your battery or 100% of it is there to be used and the battery degradation is something that will only become apparent over one or two years of use. But hopefully, you found some tips in this article that will help you make your phone’s battery last a little bit longer at least until we discover some new-fangled battery science that helps us move past the limitations of lithium-ion.

Smartphones With Removable Batteries Are Never Coming Back!

Ah, the good old days. When phones had headphone jacks, memory card slots, and removable batteries. We didn’t know it at the time, but the good old days ended in February 2014. However, the modern trend towards unibody, sealed designs means you’ll struggle to find a phone with this feature, but still, some phone companies produce smartphone devices with removable batteries.

This feature was a desirable feature since you could simply replace a degrading battery with a new one and restore its battery life. But for example, Apple never included removable batteries on their iPhones.

You might be surprised if you are not an apple enthusiastic but this is the truth, and I’ll explain why they were the first ones to use this kind of technology.

So the biggest issue with removable batteries is how much space they take up. This is due to housing components that aren’t necessary for a non-removable battery. Since they can simply be glued inside a device without any extra parts.

Not to mention they can be any shape the device wants to optimize space. For example, some iPhones feature an ‘L’ shaped battery to squeeze in more capacity than a rectangular shape would allow.

Another issue is waterproofing. If your phone’s battery can come out, water can find its way in. This is a problem since users tend to drop their phones in toilets, puddles, or even put them through the washing machine by accident. So a high water resistance rating is a crucial feature.

Plus, the benefits of removable batteries aren’t as relevant today as over a decade ago. Battery technology has improved so much that most phones can last all day without needing a battery swap. And the number of discharge cycles batteries can sustain without degrading is higher than ever. Meaning a phone purchased in 2010 may have needed its battery replaced much sooner than a phone purchased two years ago.

But we can’t leave out the unspoken benefit this has for Apple. Users who do hold on to their iPhones for many years will eventually notice a decline in battery performance. And since they can’t replace the battery themselves, they’re left with two options. Buying a completely new iPhone, or at least paying for a battery replacement. Both of which means more profit for Apple.

App Stores (Google Play & Apple Store) Only Approve Safe Apps

No doubt we will always keep telling you that you should only be installing apps from authorized Apple or Google stores Avoid 3rd party installations. But that doesn’t mean all the apps are completely safe.

We’ve already seen lots of malware in Google Play and the Apple iTunes Store like XCode ghost. Google and Apple keep removing thousands of applications daily due to security threats.

First, let’s look at how app stores are making money:

Both Apple and Google make billions of dollars each year on app-related purchases and in-app purchases. So obviously they want to protect consumers from malicious applications from malware and they do a decent job of preventing malware from entering the App Store.

But consumers don’t have compliance security vulnerabilities for data exfiltration concerns like enterprises do, so the app stores provide apps that are good enough for the average consumer but not good enough for your enterprise security standards.

App developers are having to go to publish their apps as soon as possible and the speed of publishing is introducing vulnerabilities. Developers are also using SDKs, libraries, and other third-party code to make their apps faster to publish. And this again introduces more vulnerabilities.

Consumers have changed the app distribution process where we don’t expect users to pay for apps anymore, most apps are free but they’re not really free they’re collecting user data sending it to third-party services, and then monetizing that way.

How does that sit with your corporate security policy? How does that make you feel knowing that your enterprise users will also be sharing all this data?

Apple and Google are not monitoring for which kind of data each application requests nor do they make it easy for you to write rules around that.

You need a mobile threat defense solution to be able to look at each application, what data they’re accessing, how they are protected whether they encrypt it or not, where they share it, and whether that’s a secure location or secure country even.

Also, think about firms in the financial services or healthcare industries for example they have very strict compliance requirements they must meet. Apple and Google are not going to apply those same standards across the board for every single user it would be unsustainable.

So app stores protect you from unsafe apps? No, they’re not.

So to summarize Apple and Google are making investments in preventing malware from entering the App Store and that’s a good start but it’s not going to be good enough for the enterprise in terms of looking for vulnerabilities data, exfiltration, and other compliance requirements and they don’t let you create custom policies of what kind of security issues we want to be alerted to for that you need a mobile threat defense solution.

Hence, always verify the apps that you install even from the Play Store or App Store.

Do More Megapixels Mean Better Quality?

Smartphone cameras have been in a fierce battle recently with each brand trying to improve their camera system with more cameras, bigger sensors, and resolution. The phone has been pumping megapixel numbers up recently, take a look at 5 years back most phones even flagship ones only got around 12-megapixel camera sensors on them and they take great photos at the time.

Fast forward to now we can see that the resolution number has grown exponentially ranging from 48 to 50 to 64 and to now a whopping 108 megapixel. We could say that the recent trend of smartphone cameras tends to focus a lot on resolution.

But take a look at the iPhone even the highest end and the most expensive iPhone 13 pro max is still at the 12 megapixel which is the same resolution we’ve seen since the iPhone 6s and the iPhone has been crowned as one of the top 5 smartphones cameras every year.

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