Magnets and Electronics

The OmniShelf is a portable magnetic laptop desk that sticks to metal surfaces.

Magnets and electronics—it’s a topic that often sparks curiosity and concern. Let’s demystify it!

Some of our most important everyday items, like computers, medical equipment, stereos, generators, and more, work because of magnets. However, there is a long-standing belief that magnets are dangerous to have around electronics.

The idea that magnets can harm electronics isn’t entirely a myth. It’s rooted in scientific principles. However, before you panic, remember that the risk of damaging your devices with everyday magnets is incredibly low. Here’s why:

Power Levels

  • Weak Magnets – Most magnets we use every day—like fridge magnets, tablet case latches, and phone mounts—are quite weak. They’re just strong enough to do the job they are designed for and no stronger, so they won’t cause any harm.
  • Strong Magnets – On the opposite end of the magnetic strength spectrum, extremely powerful large neodymium magnets and electromagnets can cause problems with electronic devices and even data loss in certain circumstances.

Computers and Magnets

  • Hard Drives – If your computer has a traditional magnetic hard drive (not a solid-state drive), there’s a tiny potential for strong magnets to damage it. But this risk is minuscule. Unless you intentionally stick a large neodymium magnet directly on the hard drive or expose your laptop to an industrial degausser, you’re safe.

Phones and Magnets

  • Third-Party Accessories – Be cautious with third-party accessories like magnetic phone cases that come in direct contact with the phone.
  • Lens Kits – Some lens kits use magnetic mounts to attach add-on lenses over your phone’s stock lens. Occasionally, this can affect autofocus or image stabilization features if it’s too close to sensors.

Credit Cards and Magnets

  • Prolonged exposure to magnets can demagnetize the magnetic strips on credit cards, rendering them unable to communicate with card readers. Everyday exposure to weak magnets won’t wreak havoc on your credit cards. But keep them a safe distance from super-powered neodymium magnets.

Safe Distance

In summary, while magnets and electronics dance a delicate tango, most everyday magnets won’t disrupt your digital devices. So go ahead, stick those fridge magnets on your laptop—the strength of those small magnets isn’t even close to the strength of the magnets inside the hard drive already!

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