Persistent Tech Myths, Misconceptions, and Misinformation Debunked

Tech myths and misconceptions have been featured on this blog before. Of course, the items mentioned were just some of the many wrong information or beliefs that continue to prevail among tech users. This post is a continuation and update to the previous post. Read through this updated debunking of persistent tech myths and misconceptions.

“Devices should not be charged overnight.”

Occasional reports of chargers or batteries exploding have certainly helped propagate this myth. Fortunately, modern electronics have already improved vastly compared to their counterparts in yesteryears. Most smartphones, tablets, and other devices that require regular charging have mechanisms to prevent overcharging.

By Nuno Pinheiro , David Vignoni , David Miller , Johann Ollivier Lapeyre , Kenneth Wimer , Riccardo Iaconelli  (KDE) [see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons

By Nuno Pinheiro , David Vignoni , David Miller , Johann Ollivier Lapeyre , Kenneth Wimer , Riccardo Iaconelli (KDE) [see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons

“Third party chargers are dangerous. Only the chargers that come with the devices bought should be used.”

This is an unfair sweeping generalization. Quality third party chargers are safe to use. Just think of this: laptops, desktop computers, and even TVs can serve as third party chargers to smartphones and tablets with micro USB ports, provided that you have the proper USB cables. The reason why there are many cases of accidents involving third party chargers is not because of the idea of using third party chargers. It is because the chargers being used are of inferior quality. These are cheap third party chargers that bear dubious brand names or don’t have brand names at all.

“Hard drives should be defragmented after some time.”

This used to be true. Defragmentation was a must for old computers. These days, however, manual defragmentation has become obsolete since operating systems automatically perform it when needed. It is even inadvisable to force defragmentation if you are using a solid state drive (SSD) as it can shorten the life cycle of the SSD.

“Private browsing is private.”

Most web browsers nowadays provide the option for private browsing. However, this privacy option is nowhere near the real privacy users are probably expecting. Basically, when you do private browsing, you are simply preventing the browser from saving anything that will allow others who will be accessing the same browser from learning about the pages you view. Your Internet service provider may still be able to monitor you. Sites that make you load scripts on your browser can still track your online activity. If you want something that is close to real private browsing, it would be better to try something like the Tor browser, which provides all the features of private browsing and lets you roam around the Internet anonymously.

By Rock1997 (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Rock1997 (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

“You will know when your computer is infected by a virus or other malware.”

Thanks to sci-fi and tech-themed movies, most people think that viruses or malware readily make their presence known to computer owners. While in many cases, antivirus software do raise obvious alerts or notifications whenever threats are detected, more sophisticated viruses and malware infect and damage computers discretely. You may only realize the attack once the damage has been done.

“LED TVs are better than LCD TVs.”

This is pure misinformation. Basically, the “LED TVs” available in the market are themselves LCD TVs. Hence, they can’t be better than their own category. “LED TVs” are just different in the backlight used. In this statement, LCD is used to refer to the fluorescent-lamp-backlit models, which happen to be a rarity nowadays. LED backlights have already taken over the fluorescent ones because they are more efficient and longer-lasting. Moreover, it’s important to realize that the name “LED TVs” is essentially a misnomer. The LED TVs that can be truly distinguished from LCD TVs are more popularly referred to as OLED TVs. They are TVs whose pixels on their screens are made up of minute individual LEDs similar to the screens used in the popular Samsung Galaxy S series of smartphones. OLED TVs are significantly more expensive than LCD models so it may not make that much sense comparing them.

By LG전자 (LG전자, 세계 최초 풀(Full) LED 3D TV 출시) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By LG전자 (LG전자, 세계 최초 풀(Full) LED 3D TV 출시) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

“Magnets will erase data on a hard drive.”

This may sound like an old and forgotten myth but there are still many who believe that magnets can really erase HD data. Some even think that the myth also covers solid state drives or the data storage cards used in mobile devices and newer laptops. It is indeed possible for magnetic forces to damage hard drives but not at the level created by even the biggest speaker magnets. Only those used in MRI machines are expected to be capable enough of damaging hard drive contents and they may not even completely erase the data.

“Putting metals in a microwave oven is disastrous.”

This is a common exaggeration. It is true that metals will create undesirable consequences when exposed to microwaves but they don’t create the kind of scenario most people are thinking. If you have seen Youtube videos of smartphones exploding while being microwaved, realize that the explosions are caused by the batteries, not the metal components of the smartphones. Usually, only metals with sharp edges tend to create sparks. Those with smooth surfaces and edges don’t result in anything notable.

By Alejandro Zorrilal Cruz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Alejandro Zorrilal Cruz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Hopefully, these information have been useful to you. You may have acquired dubious “tech knowledge” from your less knowledgeable peers. If you have more to add, don’t hesitate to write a comment below.