Common Cell Phone Myths, Debunked

As technology improves, a lot of cell phone dos and don’ts are no longer applicable. Here are eight cell phone “facts” that have been debunked.

1) Charge your cell phone to 100% before use

If you’ve upgraded your phone in the past decade, you have nothing to worry about. Newer phones have a lithium-ion battery that does not require a full charge or discharge cycle for usability, so it’s actually better to unplug at about 80%.1

2) Don’t charge your cell phone overnight

This is another mobile phone “fact” that only applies to outdated technology. Older phones could not detect when they had reached their maximum charge. This made it a bad idea to leave your phone plugged in overnight or for long stretches of time. Smartphones today don’t have this issue.

3) Automatic brightness settings save battery life

When you use automatic brightness settings, your smartphone adapts to the environmental light conditions. That means when you’re in a bright environment, it will automatically increase your screen’s brightness, which will tax your battery. Even in dark light conditions, the amount of power you might save with lower screen brightness is offset by the battery required for your phone’s light sensor to work.

4) 5G is replacing 4G networks entirely

While 5G networks are revolutionizing wireless speed and reliability, they’re not completely replacing older 4G networks. Instead, wireless carriers like U.S. Cellular are building their 5G networks on top of and alongside existing 4G infrastructure. That means that even if you don’t have the latest 5G device, you might still experience faster speeds on your 4G network.

5) All chargers are created equal

Off-brand chargers may be cheap, but they are also a safety hazard and generally have less charging power. Stick to name brands for the sake of your phone – and your safety.

6) Opening multiple apps slows down your phone

It doesn’t hurt to have a clean slate, but today’s smartphones are designed to optimize their foreground task. This means you’re safe to run as many apps as you please without being slowed down.

7) Magnets can erase all your data

Without an MRI-level magnet, which is 3,000 times more powerful than a standard-issue refrigerator magnet, it is not possible to erase your data. Even then, the magnet would only affect hard drives like those on your computer, not the solid-state drive on your phone.

8) Don’t use your phone when it’s charging

It is not harmful to take calls or use your phone while it’s charging. However, if you have many apps open at once, the battery will take longer to recharge.

Is your smartphone still playing by the old rules? Shop the latest devices and accessories, including 5G-enabled devices like the Samsung Galaxy S20, with U.S. Cellular.


  1. Mack, Eric. “You’re Charging Your Smartphone All Wrong,” July 26, 2019.