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