Ask LH: Can You Recharge A Mobile Battery In The Microwave?

Ask LH: Can You Recharge A Mobile Battery In The Microwave?

Dear Lifehacker, I’ve just seen this graphic claiming a conspiracy to stop battery recharging in microwaves by Apple. Lots of people are chatting about if this photo is real on Facebook. Any insights? Thanks, Charged Up

Dear CU,

This graphic proves only one thing: that far too many people will share something on Facebook without applying their brains for five seconds to see if it makes sense. The claim is utter nonsense. In extremely basic terms, microwaves cause particles to vibrate; they don’t transmit electrical current. Putting your mobile battery in the microwave will at best do nothing; more likely, it will cause some dramatic flaring, and potentially ruin both the battery and the microwave. It is a stupid idea and no-one should pursue it.

That common-sense aspect aside, plenty of other elements prove that it’s a fake, fuelled by idiotic conspiracy theory mania:

  • The claim that Apple started “a smear campaign in 2005” makes no sense, since Apple didn’t even start selling phones until 2007. If scientific studies existed that actually showed this existed, it would take much more than a “smear campaign” by a single manufacturer to supress them.
  • Despite the attribution to the popular Tumblr Did You Know?, this item appears nowhere in its archives. Update Did You Know? founder Fidel Mehra further confirmed to Lifehacker in an email that the image is a fake. “There are many blogs who try and spread false news using some of our images and modifying them. I wasn’t aware this got so much attention. Fake news travels faster than real news I guess!”
  • Battery life is a major bane for smartphones. If Apple (or any other phone manufacturer) found a way to enable phone batteries to be charged in a single minute, it would not be concealed for the sake of preserving the sales of chargers (especially given the prevalence of third-party chargers as competition).

The lesson here? Think twice before reposting. If you want better battery life, check our guides for Android and iOS. No microwaving involved!

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • I’m pretty certain it’s only being shared for the troll value. Anyone who would microwave their smartphone, or any other electrical gadgets probably shouldn’t own them.

  • OMG! I didn’t know you could recharge your iPhone battery in the microwave until I read it right here, on Lifehacker!

  • Let them charge it in the microwave, sometimes people have to learn the hard way. Darwinism at its finest.

    • I don’t think you fully understand what Darwinism is or what would actually happen if you microwaved a phone.

      • you would ruin both the phone and the microwave, and be out several hundred dollars to replace both. If your unlucky the whole thing explodes while you are watching it closely to make sure its really charging and you get a trip to the hospital/even death. Of course even if you dont die, your still worthy of a darwin award.

  • This is similar to the infamous 4chan image of teaching stupid people how to make crystals when the recipe is actually how to make mustard gas.

  • Preparing my INBOX to receive this information at least 19 times in the next week from people who frankly should know better and will disappoint me when I receive the URGENTLY titled FWD: Fwd: re: email.

    I might reply to them with details of “secret” hidden-by-the-govt reports about dihydrogen monoxide. ..o0o..

  • really?
    you really, really needed to do a story on this?

    4chan, you have scored on levels I never expected, kudos.

  • Clearly fake because apple would have otherwise patented the hell out of it.

    Also Angus, hate to be picky, but technically microwaves heat things by causing water molecules to heat up, not particles vibrating (though understandably you were trying to dumb things down).
    It’s not completely implausible that one day microwaves could be used to recharge mobile phones

    • Are you saying that if YOU had game changing technology like this you WOULDN”T patent it??!!man you sure are running your multi billion dollar company differently than everyone else

    • Glad you hate to be picky. Me too.

      But microwaves don’t just cause water molecules to heat up. They also effect fat, oils and other molecules in the food.

      If you’re going to sub-edit a professional writer’s work it is always handy to get your facts right…

    • Particles vibrating IS temperature (particles being heated). The amplitude of vibrations increases with temperature. So Angus is correct.

  • People are so dumb, imagine thinking that microwaving a smartphone will charge it! But I reckon it’d work with a laptop, especially the aluminium ones Apple makes. Soon as I find a way to fit my MacBook Pro into my microwave I’ll let you know…

    • I think you need to break it in half in order to get it in. Don’t worry, the microwaving process also fixes it, gives you a bigger microwave and a bigger everything.

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