A hoax claims to quote a Harvard study which allegedly states that you can charge your cell phone in the microwave 15-25 times faster than plugging it into the wall.
It’s a hoax.
If you place an electronic device in the microwave, it will no longer be operational and could create a fire hazard. It will also likely damage the microwave and emit toxic fumes.
This hoax first appeared in 2013 and resurfaced in September 2014. A similar hoax circulated in 2013 which claimed an iOS update would render phones waterproof. Let’s take a look at examples of each.
The version which circulated in June 2013 included a graphic that read:
Any iPhone can be charged in a microwave oven, 15-25 times faster than the charger that came with it! Try it now:
Step 1: Plug your cable into the phone
Step 2: Put your iPhone in the center of the oven and coil the cable around it.
Step 3: Set the timer on the oven for 10-20 seconds
Step 4: You now have a charged iPhone!
This works because microwaves use the same principles as wireless charging pads, by rearranging the electrons in your iPhone’s battery, to gather at the negative terminal. Remember to leave your cable plugged in!
Note that the Harvard URL (either with a zero or the letter “O” in the url above) does not exist.
Although the graphic cited a Tumblr profile, we couldn’t find this graphic posted by that popular account, so it’s possible someone attributed this “fact” to that account to lend credibility to the claim.
The video below demonstrates what will happen if you place your cell phone in a microwave oven:
With the release of the iPhone 6 and iOS 8, the hoax resurfaced in September 2014. This time, the hoax was named “Wave” which stated that the new Apple products could be charged in a microwave oven.
Wave is the latest and greatest addition to iOS8. Wave allows your device to be charged wirelessly through microwave frequencies. Wave can be used to quickly charge your device’s battery using any standard household microwave.
The graphic includes a copyright in Apple’s name, and lists times for charging products at 60 or 70 seconds.
It is unclear if any unsuspecting Apple users fell for the 2014 “Wave” variant of the hoax, although some sources have reported this to be the case.
2013 “Waterproof” Version
In September 2013, a similar fake ad was spotted circulating on several social media sites. This claimed than an operating system update would allow the iPhone to become waterproof. The text of this phony advertisement read:
Update to iOS 7 and become waterproof.
In an emergency, a smart-switch will shut off the phone’s power supply and corresponding components to prevent any damage to your iPhone’s delicate circuitry.
The professional-looking ad is believed to have originated from 4chan, a web forum known for internet pranks and memes. According to The Inquirer, a few Twitter users admitted to falling for the prank, with one user writing, “OK whoever said iOS 7 is waterproof GO **** YOURSELF.” Another Tweet stated, “Someone told me to download iOS 7 so my iPhone becomes waterproof. I am now tweeting from my PC.”
Using a microwave oven on a cell phone will likely destroy your phone and the oven. This hoax has circulated at least twice since 2013. There was also no iOS update which would make iPhones waterproof.
Originally published June 3, 2013.
Updated October 29, 2014