Since the day the magnet was “invented” over 2,500 years ago (yes, it’s that old!), it has proved itself to be an exceptionally helpful tool for the development of our species. From the crude compasses of the past to the high speed rails of today, they have helped us navigate the world with greater and greater speed, accuracy, and efficiency, and are even commonly used as phone mounts in our vehicles to help us see where we’re going.
And yet, despite having such a long history, many aspects of magnetism are still unclear to most people, especially when it comes to the question: Can magnetic phone mounts damage my smartphone?
Although there are a lot of scary warnings and misinformation out there, including that magnets can damage your battery and lead to GPS errors, the short answer is no - nearly all third-party magnetic phone mounts cannot harm your phone.
That being said, there is some truth to these warnings. But as long as you follow the guidelines and do your research beforehand, you’ll never have to worry. Plus, the good news is that we’ve already done the research for you!
So read on to find out the truth about magnets and magnetic phone holders, and what to look out for when purchasing one of your own.
Magnets, what are they
We promise this article isn’t going to be a history or science lesson, but it is important to at least talk about what magnets are (and aren’t!) so that we can understand how they could cause harm to your smartphone, and most importantly, why they most likely won’t.
A definition in two parts
a. The Scientific Definition
“A piece of iron (or an ore, alloy, or other material) that has its component atoms so ordered that the material exhibits properties of magnetism, such as attracting other iron-containing objects or aligning itself in an external magnetic field.”
- Oxford languages dictionary
b. A Simple Definition
Magnets are basically rocks or metals that create an “invisible field” that allows them to either attract similar rocks or metals, or push them away.
Although we tend to think of magnets as something we “invented,” the truth is that magnets have actually been on our planet long before we were!
But ever since the first ancient peoples learned about the “magical” qualities (i.e magnetic properties) in rocks they called lodestones, they’ve been using them to their advantage for all sorts of practical, and impractical, applications, including warding off evil spirits, helping with weight loss and illness, and navigation.
However, in its essence, an object can be a “magnet” and “magnetized,” but the outcome is usually the same, and the usefulness is nearly as limitless as the imagination.
And even though many of the ancient applications of magnets have since been disproven or abandoned entirely, we still use magnets everyday for navigation and transportation, in everything from cars to phones.
Can magnets harm electronic devices
So we’ve covered that magnets can attract and repulse things, but what does this have to do with your electronic devices?
It turns out, a lot! It just all depends on which electronic device you’re talking about.
On a fundamental level, many electronics primarily function by storing electronic charges in the form of electrons. These charges are then used to open and close pathways for currents in what is known as “circuits,” which you’ve probably heard of before.
In fact, circuits are how we can process and read data, as well as store and alter it. And unfortunately, this is precisely the area that magnets can interfere with the most.
Remember: magnets work by attracting metal that is already charged (magnetized), and since some electronics run on charged metal by definition, there is often a risk that a strong enough magnetic force can cause these pathways to become misaligned, thus, rendering them useless.
But there is some good news! Although many older appliances, including Cathode televisions, CDs, mobile devices, and computers were incredibly susceptible to the dangers of household magnets, most modern appliances do not use magnetic storage anymore, therefore, they are less prone to damage from weaker magnets.
And yet, although the risk is low, that doesn’t mean it’s non-existent!
A strong enough magnet can still cause some serious damage if brought close to most modern electronic devices, but not in the way that you think.
The real risk isn’t that the magnet will scramble the electrons anymore, it’s that it will mechanically shift components inside the device, causing internal damage.
It helps to think about your electronic device like a piggy bank full of coins.
In the past, a magnet may have erased the writing on the coins. Sure, the coins are still there, and all in the same place, but your money is now worthless.
Today, the real risk isn’t that it will erase the writing, but rather attract all the coins to one side of the piggy bank, thus making it impossible to withdraw any of your money. Sure, the money is still all there and usable, but in order to use it, you have to open up the piggy bank, physically rearrange the coins, and risk doing further damage.
And although this sounds like it could be cause for concern, the truth is that unless you are a scientist or engineer (or just really into magnets), the type of magnet that can actually harm any of your modern electronic devices are really hard to come by. Mainly because they’re both expensive to produce and impractical for day-to-day usage.
So fret not! For the most part, virtually any store bought magnet will not harm a modern piece of electronic equipment. In fact, many modern electronic devices even have magnets inside of them, including your phone!
Is a magnetic cell phone holder safe
The short answer is yes, absolutely. Your cell phone is completely safe mounted on a magnetic holder or inside a magnetic case.
The magnets that are usually used for smartphone mounts are tiny and hidden from view, hardly the type of industrial magnet that can do damage. Because of this, there is also absolutely no way it can interfere with your device’s signal, data, phone screen, or anything else, really. It’s just not possible.
In fact, what you should be concerned about isn’t whether or not the magnet is strong enough to affect your phone’s usage, but whether it’s strong enough to not drop your phone!
Because the truth is, if you try to be cautious and buy a phone mount with a “weak” magnet for daily use in a vehicle, whether it be a bike, motorcycle, or car, in all actuality it will not be strong enough, and could drop your phone at the slightest bump. This can result in serious damage to your phone both externally and internally.
So in terms of damage, a weak magnet can and will cause far more harm than a standard magnet ever could.
Can a magnetic phone holder damage battery
No, a magnetic phone holder has absolutely no effect on the battery life of your phone.
This is a common misconception, but the reality is that both the magnet is too weak, and your smartphone is too high quality, to really affect any functioning whatsoever.
Think about it! If magnetic phone cases or magnetic phone mounts were actually harmful because of the magnets being used, what does that say about the companies who make the phones?
For example, for nearly two decades Apple products have been utilizing some form of magnets internally for charging their devices, not draining their battery.
Likewise, these magnets have only increased in strength over the years. From the early plug-in MacBook chargers that are often still used today to the state of the art, wireless “Magsafe” charging devices for iPhones. So if Apple isn’t worried about batteries on, in, or around their devices, then you shouldn’t, either.
That being said, although magnets can’t affect your phone's battery, an improperly designed magnetic case can.
What we mean by this is that it’s not necessarily the magnet that will damage your phone, but the heat generated by your phone case or holder that will.
If a phone overheats in general it can have an adverse effect on the battery and battery life of your phone. And if your case doesn’t offer breathability, then your phone will certainly overheat.
So before looking online for a magnetic case, read some reviews to make sure that it doesn’t cause your phone to overheat, or take our suggestions at the end of the article to heart!
Does a magnetic phone holder interfere with GPS
The short answer: No, a magnetic phone holder does not interfere with your phone’s GPS, because the GPS works completely independently from your electronic compass.
Although we admit this question is actually a little tricky based on the history of what a compass is and how they work, in the modern era, this is not a cause for concern.
In the past, a compass actually used magnets to align itself with the earth’s naturally occurring magnetic poles, which is why they always point north. So if you were in a boat navigating an open sea in the middle of the 19th century and someone on deck had a very, very powerful magnet, then yes, it could have affected your compass, and thus, your navigation abilities.
However, GPS devices today are built entirely differently than the navigation devices of yesteryear. Namely, they are entirely electronic, and rely on a satellite-based system and not a geomagnetic one, meaning that magnets will not affect them one way or another.
When you are using your GPS on your phone, you are essentially uploading your location and time to a satellite all the way in outer space, which keeps track of the tiny changes in your location and time, and confirms it with an entire network of other satellites.
Taken together, these satellites send and receive your signal, bounce them off of one another, and triangulate your position based on these slight differences in direction, speed, and time.
Nowadays, GPS is all very high-tech. So to think that the tiny, minuscule magnet in a phone mount can affect this process is totally unfathomable. You don’t have to worry about it.
Is magnetic phone holder good or bad
So finally, is a magnetic phone holder good, or bad?
Well, we’ve already established that for the most part, magnets cannot, and will not, affect your phone’s GPS, battery life, or general functionality. So then magnetic phone holders must be good, right?
Well, that depends. Just because the magnet of the holder does not affect your phone doesn’t mean that the phone holder is good. For that, you first have to look at the design and engineering of your phone mount, and one of the best designed cell phone holders out there, magnetic or otherwise, is the Omoton Magnetic Phone Holder.
This phone holder features a one-of-a-kind Olecranon hook that firmly fixes itself onto your air vent, preventing any sort of shaking or falling. Likewise, the 360° rotation ball joint offers an optimal viewing angle that can be easily adjusted based on driving style and height for a more comfortable, personable experience.
And last but not least, Omoton does not shy away from magnetism. Our car phone mounts even offer enhanced, incredibly durable N50 magnets that ensure your phone stays safe and secure even on the bumpiest of roads.
So to answer the question definitively, once and for all:
YES! Magnetic phone mounts can be good, as long as the design of the phone mount is good, and there is none better than Omoton.