Is the sand in Tahoe City, California, US magnetic? Well, that's what an iPhone user thought recently. In a post on Reddit, user bopete1313 shared a photo of his iPhone's back covered in ferrous debris. The picture shows the ferrous neatly arranged around the camera, speakers, and MagSafe ring, while the rest of the phone was clean. He wrote in the caption, “The sand in Tahoe is magnetic and stuck to my phone.” However, oblivious to the user, the MagSafe charging system comprises a lot of magnets.
What the user failed to realise was that the MagSafe technology separated the iron from the sand, making it appear that the sand had magnetic properties. Apart from MagSafe, the rest of the iPhone is also full of magnets — between the speakers and image stabilisers in the cameras.
Responding to the post, another user Mixedbysaint said that particles the magnet attracted were ferrous, adding the sand wasn't "magnetic." "If the sand itself was magnetic, it would cling on more than just that magnetic material under the iPhone," the user said.
K1NG_itai, another user, went on to claim that iPhone users should say "goodbye" to the "speakers."
Another user, MoFauxTofu, said that things that are magnetic are also highly conductive. "You don't want any sand in your phone, but you really don't want this sand in your phone," the user wrote.
"It's not magnetic. I grew up spending weekends in Tahoe. The phone is magnetic and attracts iron shavings," wrote another user, bumbletowne.
And finally, a user asked what the ring around which the ferrous was arranged called.
"Is there a permanent magnet in the wireless charging hardware?" asked BreckSkunk.
"Yes, it's part of the MagSafe charging system," replied a user, ColgateSensifoam.
While the image looked interesting and even made the owner of the phone believe that he had made a startling discovery, a report by AppleInsider said that regular exposure to sand would damage the glass on the back of the device, scratch the display and even damage the camera lenses.
The report also advises against trying this at home, adding that if an iPhone user is ever around sand — at the beach or desert — it should be ensured that the phone's ports are covered well.
We dive into all things Apple — iPad Pro, iMac, Apple TV 4K, and AirTag — this week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts. Affiliate links may be automatically generated - see our ethics statement for details.