Will a thunderstorm affect how well your smartphone works? Xiaomi gives us the surprising answer

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Will a thunderstorm affect how well your smartphone works? Xiaomi gives us the surprising answer
The other day Xiaomi debunked the old myth that giving your scratched smartphone screen a toothpaste massage will restore the glass to its original pristine condition. In a series of short-form YouTube videos that it hashtags as #XiaomiAcademy, the company seeks to bring truth to many rumors and myths regarding mobile devices, Today, Xiaomi answers the question, "Can my phone be affected by using it during a thunderstorm?"

So Xiaomi set up an experiment using a Tesla coil. No, this has nothing to do with Elon Musk and his automobile company Tesla. A Tesla coil is a transformer circuit used to create low-current, alternating-current electricity. It was invented in 1891 by Nicholas Tesla who had nothing to do with self-driving cars. The Tesla coil is used by Xiaomi in this experiment to simulate lightning.

With the "lightning" striking what appears to be a Xiaomi 12S model in the clip, you can see that the phone continues to play a video without any interruptions or problems. And the electrical strikes also did not impact the quality of phone calls made by the same handset. As Xiaomi says, "This proves thunderstorms do not affect the usage of smartphones."



So where did this rumor come from? Xiaomi points out that when people used "old-fashioned" wired telephones, there was concern about lightning being conducted by the wires. People have been killed when using their wired phone during a thunderstorm. In one example, a New Jersey teen was killed back in 1985 when lightning caused an electrical surge to run through his telephone wire. The electricity entered his ear and led his heart to stop.

But as it turns out, the majority of lightning consists of low-frequency electricity while smartphones use high-frequency electricity. This means that the probability of lightning affecting signals from your smartphone is "relatively low."


Does this mean that you should go out during a lightning storm without a care in the world? No, because there is still the chance that you can still get struck by lightning. Back in 2019, a man in India was struck and killed while talking on his smartphone. The National Weather Service says that the odds of getting struck by lightning over one's lifetime is a less than reassuring 1-in-15,300 (assuming that you live to be 80 years old).

But if you happen to be inside and are using your mobile phone, a thunderstorm will have no affect on how well the device sends and receives signals.
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