iPhone user discovers MagSafe and ferrous sand do not mix

in iPhone edited May 2021
Apple's MagSafe is an accessory and charging system designed for the iPhone 12, and one user discovered the magnets attract more than wallets.

Ferrous sand attracted to the magnetic portions of an iPhone 12
Ferrous sand attracted to the magnetic portions of an iPhone 12

The iPhone is full of magnets, especially since the release of the iPhone 12. Between the speakers, optical image stabilizers in the cameras, and MagSafe itself, you'll find many objects can magnetically attract to your iPhone.

A Reddit post from an iPhone user in Tahoe showed an interesting image of an iPhone covered in ferrous debris arranged around the magnetic parts of the device. The post said "the sand in Tahoe is magnetic and stuck to my phone."

Sand is made up of all kinds of particulate rock that is pulverized by the elements over time. Tahoe, for example, has several types of iron oxides plus pyrite, and magnetite in its sand -- all of which will be attracted to the magnets on the back of an iPhone. Even the dust of a ferrous metal in sand or shavings from a workshop can cling to the phone.

While this may appear to be a cool discovery, it can be quite dangerous to the device -- but not directly because of any magnetism. The photo showed the sand neatly attracted to the various magnetic parts of the iPhone, but it did not show the state of the display, port, or speaker holes.

Regular sand will damage the glass on the rear of the iPhone, scratch the display on the front, and potentially even damage the camera lenses depending on the sand's makeup. While the ferrous metal on display in this image isn't as hard as the screen, and probably won't scratch the glass, if it gets into the device it can wreak havoc on the electronics, since ferrous materials also are electrical conductors.

So, while the image in question is interesting, do not try this at home. When around any sand, be it from the beach or desert, a device's surfaces and ports should be far away from the substance. For those who work with metal in any fashion, shavings from drills and knives can also attract to and damage your iPhone.

When in industrial area, beaches, or visiting a hazardous area with ferrous dust, keep the iPhone in a sealed case, or in a ziploc or similar bag -- and this isn't even considering losing it underwater.

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  • Reply 1 of 31
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,153member
    Thanks to those magnets, the 2020 iPhones are heavier, too.
  • Reply 2 of 31
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,069member
    Jeez... is this really a complaint or are people just fishing for things to whine about?

    Captain Obvious has entered the chat...
  • Reply 3 of 31
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,967member
    Uh oh.   Ferrous-gate 
  • Reply 4 of 31
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    chadbag said:
    Uh oh.   Ferrous-gate 
    No doubt at all.
  • Reply 5 of 31
    yojimbo007yojimbo007 Posts: 1,165member
    …. Duhhhhh
  • Reply 6 of 31
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,496member
    That circular metal on the back of the iPhone looks like a Ferrous Wheel.
  • Reply 7 of 31
    DanManTXDanManTX Posts: 7member
  • Reply 8 of 31
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 1,094member
    DanManTX said:
    You know, I just had to Goole that


  • Reply 9 of 31
    stompystompy Posts: 401member
    Wooly Willy's iPhone
  • Reply 10 of 31
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,831member
    sflocal said:
    Jeez... is this really a complaint or are people just fishing for things to whine about?

    Captain Obvious has entered the chat...
    Umm neither. Where do you see a complaint or whining? All I see here is someone posted an interesting photo and AI added some relevant information.
  • Reply 11 of 31
    mtbnutmtbnut Posts: 198member
    I heard that Apple iPhone 12s will not fare well in the Martian atmosphere. 

    WILL THEY BE ADDRESSING THIS? If not, I will sue. 
  • Reply 12 of 31
    Rbg136Rbg136 Posts: 3member
    The magnet also works as a screw finder as well. I was hanging up a hook to the fence outside as the sun was going down. The small screw fell into the grass. I couldn’t find it.  I turned the phone over and waved it over the grass until I heard a click! Turned the phone up and there was the lost screw!!

  • Reply 13 of 31
    FlytrapFlytrap Posts: 59member
    So, are people going to start suing Apple for not telling them that ferrous sand, ferrous dust and iron filings may be attracted to the magnets in their phones which may result in damage to the sensitive electronics should it slip through the lightning port, speaker or microphone holes :p  >:) ?
  • Reply 14 of 31
    Not to mention people with pace makers need to keep the iPhone away from their bodies, like that's really possible. Probably not the best idea to build permanent magnets into your products. Just put in ferrous rings and let the accessory makers build in the magnets.
  • Reply 15 of 31
    baconstangbaconstang Posts: 1,062member
    Even the 'old' mag-safe power connectors tended to pickup ferrous bits, which could interfere with charging your laptop.
    Nothing an old toothbrush couldn't fix.
    edited May 2021 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 31
    damankasdamankas Posts: 10member
    Could be a problem-so use duct tape. It does a decent job at removing the ferrous metal off the AirPod changing case (in addition to the actual speaker if ones volume starts to decline).
    Duct Tape for the win again!
  • Reply 17 of 31
    fred1fred1 Posts: 1,092member
    Oh no! My 8 track tapes!!  :'(
  • Reply 18 of 31
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    mtbnut said:
    I heard that Apple iPhone 12s will not fare well in the Martian atmosphere. 

    WILL THEY BE ADDRESSING THIS? If not, I will sue. 
    Oh there will be a class action filed. You can bet your paycheck on that. Some legal firm is contacting iPhone 12 owners as we type.
  • Reply 19 of 31
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,131member
    So you're saying that the powerful neodymium magnets inside the iPhone can attract magnetic particles, including ferrous sand? Who would have thought that this was even possible, that Apple would use magnets in its products that are ... magnetic?

    What's next? An iPhone that attracts pocket lint and dog hair?

    Rumor has it that if you release your grip on your iPhone it will, are you ready for this, fall to the ground due to something called "gravity." If you happen to be leaning out over the edge of the Grand Canyon taking a selfie, which you may want to direct to a Photos album called "Obit Photos," and lose your footing, you AND your iPhone may be subject to the same "gravity" and enjoy a few seconds of not-so-quality plunge-time together.

    This would never have happened if Steve was still in alive. But if you're one of those folks who gets a thrill from taking dangerous "look at me me doing something really stupid" selfies, you can ask him yourself.

  • Reply 20 of 31
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,063member
    TIL that someone in Tahoe didn't pay enough attention in their science classes, and that they didn't think they needed any sort of case on their phone before taking it to the beach.

    A fool and his money are soon parted!
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