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Urban Myths of Used Cell Phones

Used cell phones are now perhaps the ubiquitous device in the history of civilization, and yet there are almost as many myths, legends, and outright falsehoods as there are phones.

One such story is that used cell phones are basically small, portable microwave ovens.  There are even many videos on the internet which apparently ‘prove’ this fact by showing them boiling an egg or even popping popcorn.  The truth is that this ‘fact’ is an outright lie, and those videos are in fact complete fabrications.  The power in a new or old cell phone is, at most, 0.25W.  A microwave generates 1000W.  There is no truth to this claim whatsoever.

Another popular story about used cell phones is that they could, if used while having your car refueled at a fuel station, let off enough of a spark to blow you, your car and the station sky high.  This is, needless to say, another complete and utter falsehood – a cell phone has nowhere near enough energy to create such a spark.  Smoking a cigarette or even the car itself is more likely to cause such an incident than a cell phone.

Perhaps the greatest cell phone myth of all is that of ‘the secret battery’, the idea that even if your cell phone was completely dead, if you just knew the right code to input, a hidden ‘secret battery’ would activate and bring the phone back to life.  Needless to say, this myth is, of course, just that.