Fake News: Can You Recharge Your Cell Phone in a Microwave Oven?
Back in 2013, a trend was spreading across the internet about the new way to charge your cell phone: by microwaving it in the oven. This bizarre way of charging your cell phone was first introduced in a post on Facebook, with the image showing plain white text against a black square that includes a 3D picture of a digital battery that is normally associated with cell phones. The text on the post states that “A smart phone microwaved for just one minute will fully charge the battery.” The text continues to explain how Apple doesn’t want people to know about this technique for the reason that people won’t buy their chargers and how charging phones is better for the phone’s battery. Reading this text may sound obvious to most people these days that this is just another one of those fake ads you see on the internet. However, back then some people did not know better and were still gullible to these types of news and posts.
More research about the trend on the internet reveals many articles by news companies warning people that you should not put your phone in the microwave. The most prominent website, Snopes, was one of the many websites that labeled the trend as a type of fool’s errand, which is a task or activity with no hope of success. Other types of resources shown were videos testing the claim that microwaves charge cell phones or images showing social media posts of people claiming it to be a hoax and results of what happens to your phone if you do partake in the foolish act.
Can You Recharge Your Cell Phone in a Microwave Oven?
We first found this rumor circulating on the internet in 2013: I found this online and it claims you can fully charge…
Further research even shows a resurgence of this trend in September 2014, where internet pranksters from 4-Chan, an internet forum website, created another image that was made to look like an Apple announcement that showed Apple’s “Next Big Thing”, introducing the new feature Wave. This fake image was strategically posted when Apple had just released the new iOS 8 for the iPhone 6, where the Wave feature was “automatically activated when you update to iOS 8” and “allow users to Wave-charge” iPhones with the new update. The picture further tries to prove its authenticity by explaining what “Wave” is, how it works, and how to use it. To add even more false validity to the trend, videos were posted on people putting their iPhones in the microwave and editing the video to make it look like the iPhone charged.
The claim that charging your cell phone in a microwave is obviously not true, but can also be proven with official evidence. Apple’s iOS Support had sent out tweets to help spread the word that Wave is a hoax and that it would destroy customers’ iPhones. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) also issued warnings on radio stations and tweets about the trend. LAPD spokesman Brian Humphrey responded by saying ‘We were alarmed at this notion, because of course any metal inside of a microwave oven can lead to a fire and potentially an explosion.’ Additionally, ‘microwave ovens emit radio waves, not electrical current, so they can’t be used to directly charge standard cell phone batteries without additional adaptive equipment,’ (Mikkelson, 2017). However, plenty of incidents had already occurred, with plenty of people on Twitter posting the result of the “Wave” function on iPhones, which acted ‘as a warning to other users by sharing images of smoking, cracked and flaming iPhones’ (Radulova, 2014)
Since the internet has been introduced, more and more people are realizing that the internet cannot always be a trusted source of information. The reliability and validity of sources that are spread from the unknown intentions of the billions of people online are worrisome, to say the least. So checking your information twice, thinking logically, and learning from our past mistakes would be a great help to the people of today, and spreading trustworthy information to the public can benefit everyone and avoid issues, such as burnt phones.
- Snopes, and David Mikkelson. “Can You Recharge Your Cell Phone in a Microwave Oven?” Snopes.Com, 7 Nov. 2017, www.snopes.com/fact-check/spurious-charge-2.
- Radulova, Lillian. “IPhone Users Fall for 4Chan Prank Claiming Microwaves Can Charge Phones.” Mail Online, 26 Sept. 2014, www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2768976/Emergency-services-forced-step-iPhone-users-fall-internet-prank-explains-use-microwave-charge-phone.html.
- Albanesius, Chloe. “Guess What? You Can’t Charge Your IPhone in the Microwave.” PCMAG, 24 Sept. 2014, www.pcmag.com/news/guess-what-you-cant-charge-your-iphone-in-the-microwave#:%7E:text=Just%20in%20case%20you%20were,is%2C%20in%20fact%2C%20fake.