From hard closing apps to the importance of pixels, it’s time to take the power back as we bust five of the biggest mobile misconceptions…

Man chasing unhappy mobile

If you eat all your carrots you’ll be able to see in the dark. If the wind changes, your face will stay like that. If you keep picking your nose your brains will fall out…

While most mobile myths aren’t as laughable as these old wives’ tales, they can still be a challenge to spot. How do you sort the fact from fiction and get the most from your device?

We’ve looked into some of the most common tales told about mobile from battery life to signal and everything in-between. Read on as we navigate the nonsense to set the record straight…

1. Hard closing apps will save your battery

For many, hard closing apps has become almost automatic. There’s a strange sense of peace and order to be found in double tapping the home button on our iPhones, or hitting the multitasking key on Android and swiping all those open apps away. However, both Apple and Google have confirmed that closing your apps yields absolutely no benefits for your battery life – in fact, it may make things worse. That’s because algorithms on both iOS and Android carry out automatic memory management on the fly. They automatically freeze the apps that drain your mobile device’s power or memory, so there’s really no need for you to do it. It’s also much easier for your system to open apps that are already in memory rather than having to reopen and restart everything every single time. So now you know.

2. You should always let your mobile phone die before charging

This one does have some basis in truth; older nickel-based batteries did need to be ‘taught’ their capacity by being charged from completely empty to completely full. However, this is simply not the case for modern mobile batteries. The lithium-ion batteries found in today’s smartphones are much happier if you top them up throughout the day, as they have a limited number of charge cycles in them before they lose their ability to hold charge. What’s more, modern phones have inbuilt limiters that know to stop taking in electricity when the charge hits 100%, so you don’t need to worry about keeping yours plugged in for long lengths of time.

Empty and full mobile batteries

3. Casting drains your battery

It seems like streaming video and sending it to your TV should be a massive power suck, right? But the truth is, using Chromecast or a similar casting device to stream media has virtually no impact on your smartphone’s battery life. That’s because when you use Chromecast to watch video on your TV you’re not actually sending full content to the Chromecast from your smartphone; you’re just sending the URL, allowing it to pick the content up directly from the Internet by itself. As a result, your casting device of choice draws energy from its own source, leaving you with plenty of power to spare.

4. More megapixels make a better camera

To a certain degree, this one is true; the higher the pixel count, the greater the amount of detail that can be captured in a photo. But megapixels alone are no guarantee of photographic success. That’s why some 8-megapixel cameras have been known to outperform some 12, 13, or even 16-megapixel smartphone cameras. According to this comprehensive guide from CNET, moving up the megapixel ladder without increasing the sensor size can degrade photo quality by letting in less light than you could get with slightly fewer megapixels. The size and material of the main camera lens, the light sensor, the image processing hardware, and the software all play a vital role in photo quality. So, next time you’re looking for a high-quality shooter, look beyond the pixels. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Smartphone photo of a beach scene

5. The more bars you have, the better your signal

More bars mean better signal strength, right? Well, yes. But also no. According to information from Digital Trends, while these bars do indicate signal strength, there’s no universal standard, leaving it up to manufacturers to determine their own algorithms for sensing signal strength and the number of bars displayed. In the case of Apple, for example, the number of bars is determined by the quality of the signal, the distance from a transmitter and the number of people using the network. This makes it impossible to compare signal strength bars between phones. However, you can switch both Android and iOS phones to display strength in decibels – a much more accurate indication of signal strength.

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