Debunking Common Tech Myths (pt. 2)
Since technology is always improving, there are sure to always be an abundance of tech myths and rumors going around. Most of these common misconceptions were true at one time or another, which is why the misinformation is so widely spread. Today we’re going to go over some of the most common tech myths about phones and computers, where the myths came from, and what the truth really is. And if you missed our last installment where we focused on the most popular smartphone myths, be sure to check that one out for even more information!
Myth: Your smartphone charges faster in “airplane mode.”
Is it true? TRUE–but it may not be worth it
One popular “hack” for faster charging is putting your phone in airplane mode. The idea is that your phone saves energy when it’s not connecting to radio frequencies, so it should charge faster as a result. CNET, the leader in tech product reviews, decided to put this theory to the test.
What they discovered is that a phone in airplane mode charges about four minutes faster than it regularly would. So… is it worth it? While this is technically a faster charge speed, it probably isn’t worth the trouble unless you’re really counting every second.
Myth: Turning off certain features can help save power.
Is it true? TRUE
If your trying to get the most you can out of your phone battery, closing apps and turning off background features can make quite a difference. Just because you’re not using an app on your phone, that doesn’t mean it’s off. Make sure to shut down apps manually and turn off any features that you don’t really use.
Computer World has some great suggestions for saving smartphone batteries, ranging from obvious to downright genius. They offer quick and easy tips like disabling location services, lowering the brightness, and setting your phone to go into “sleep mode” faster.
Myth: Incognito browsers are completely secure.
Is it true? FALSE
Many people think that an incognito web browser allows them private web browsing, and while it’s a good way to hide your browsing history from anyone you might share a PC with, the “private” connection is far from secure.
An incognito browser does not provide any real protection, unfortunately. Essentially what “incognito” does is tell your browser not to remember things like browsing history, cookies, and cache data. This is a great way to maintain privacy on a shared computer, but it doesn’t protect your information from malware threats.
If you want to actually browse the web with privacy and protection, Keeper Security suggests getting a VPN, or Virtual Private Network. Anyone can purchase a VPN, and there are lots of great options out there to choose from.
Myth: Using an off-brand phone cable can damage your phone.
Is it true? TRUE
Now, this isn’t to say that you should only use an Apple charging cable with your Apple iPhone, but the quality of your charging cable does matter. It’s best to pay the extra couple bucks for a quality charging cable from a trusted brand, rather than the cheap knockoffs you can get from the dollar store or Amazon.
This is simply because not all phone chargers are created equally. If you’ve ever opted for a cheaper cable, you probably noticed it didn’t last too long. You may have even noticed it charging your phone slower than you’re used to. Cheap cables tend to have poorer quality control compared to big name brands like Apple or Samsung, and run a higher risk of failure, breaking, and overheating. Overheating can cause long-term damage to your battery as well as short-term inconvenience.
UL, a global safety science company, actually created safety standards for charging cables and power adapters. After a 2016 investigation in which they tested 400 counterfeit Apple charging adapters, a whopping 99% failed the basic safety test. This is why it’s important to always make sure you’re buying UL or CUL listed cables and chargers–they are certified for safety. Furthermore, UL also offers some guidelines to help you distinguish counterfeit chargers from the real deal. Don’t be cheap, and don’t let yourself be fooled; this is one of rare those times that it’s worth the extra money to go for a name brand.
Myth: You should turn off your computer every night.
Is it true? FALSE
Last time we talked about how devices like smartphones and tablets are designed to be “always on,” allowing you to keep them on pretty much all the time without harming the device. So now you may be wondering, is the same thing true of laptops and computers?
Whether or not to turn off your computer each night is debatable. The short answer is no, you don’t have to shut it down regularly—but it may not be a bad idea. A PC may not be an “always on” device quite like a smartphone or tablet, but leaving your computer on 24/7 is unlikely to cause damage. The primary reason that you were taught to shut down your computer is energy consumption. Running a PC 24/7 uses a constant stream of power, and that constant energy flow is sure to be reflected in your electricity bill.
However, Online Tech Tips suggests it may still be beneficial to turn off your laptop or home computer daily. In addition to energy costs, running a PC all the time is also going to put more strain on the hardware and gather more dust than usual. The logic is simple: power creates heat, and heat causes damage. By shutting down the computer when you’re not actively using it, your hardware avoids unnecessary strain and suffers less wear and tear as a result. Of course, putting the computer into sleep mode when you’re not using it always a great option, too.