Are Your Electionics Safe in Your Purse?

Magnetic closures on purses are nothing new, but I've been noticing a lot more of them lately. It also seems like the magnets are getting stronger. For the most part, a stronger magnet closure is a good thing. It keeps your purse closed and, therefore, keeps everything inside. But the magnets could harm the contents of your purse.

I recently found a great deal on a cute, classic leather bag with a magnet closure flap. Part of the purse zips, but the main compartment is open. The magnet is super strong, which is good because I keep a lot in my purse.

However, the magnet sits on the front of the bag where the zip compartment is. This is the compartment with big enough pouches to store my iPod and camera. Plus, this compartment zips so I don't worry about my electronics escaping. When I filled my new purse up, the iPod sat right up against the magnet. I wondered if such a strong magnet would hurt it so I stopped in the Apple store to ask, "Can this magnet hurt my iPod."

The answer is maybe. If you have a classic iPod, as opposed to a nano or shuffle, it has a magnetic drive so magnets can hurt it. The Apple store employee said a women had just been in with a magnetized iPod. Any electronic device with a magnetic drive can be harmed by a strong magnet so check the kind of drive you have before storing anything close to a magnet.

Also, be careful carrying CDs or other data next to a magnet in a purse. I lost several CDs because I accidentally stored them in a box that I didn't know had a small magnet in it.

I had to rearrange my purse, but my iPod is safe now that it sits in a compartment no where near the magnet, even though the compartment doesn't zip.


Anonymous said…
I know this is an old post, but just in case you don't know this by now-- like you said, magnets only affect magnetic media. That means hard drives that have plates that spin and 3.5 inch disks.

CDs store digital data as a series of tiny pits in the shiny surface. Magnets have no affect on CDs unless the magnet physically scratches the CD (as any hard thing can.)

Most ipods now have solid state memory because it's faster and doesn't spin when it reads and writes, meaning the memory is less prone to fail. It is also possible to buy hard drives made this way. These hard drives work like big jump drives or CF/SD cards used in cameras. None of these are affected by magnets.

Your phone and camera are not (and never would have been) at risk of data loss from a closure magnet-- only ipods that vibrate when you use them (spinning) would, and most of those died after a year or two of use, as hard drives tend to do.

The biggest danger a magnet poses to most electronics in 2009 is scratching them or *maybe* running down the battery a little faster than usual.

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