So, you want to know if an iPhone can go through a metal detector? This leads me to believe that the true question you wish to ask is, can an iPhone go through a metal detector undetected?
If that’s your true interest, let me break the news now.
No, an iPhone can’t go through a metal detector without being detected.
Or can it?
Will an iPhone Trigger a Metal Detector?
Sorry for the little tease up there but not everything is so cut and dry.
Metal detectors work by sending out an electromagnetic field. This field then interacts with any metal objects in the vicinity, which causes them to emit a signal. The metal detector picks up this signal and alerts the user that there is indeed metal nearby.
Now, most iPhone cases are made out of aluminum. Aluminum isn’t the best conductor of electricity but it’s still a decent one.
On top of that, there are other kinds of metals that make up an iPhone, like copper for instance.
So when an iPhone is placed close enough to a metal detector, the metals in the phone will interact with the electromagnetic field. This will trigger the metal detector to alert the operator of the device of a nearby metal object.
In this case, an iPhone.
However, it’s not a foolproof system. There are scenarios in which a metal detector won’t detect the presence of an iPhone. Much like a disposable vape or body piercing, these are relatively small metals.
But before we get into that, let’s find out why an iPhone is going to trigger a metal detector so easily…mostly.
What Kinds of Metal Are in An iPhone?
According to a 2018 Business Insider article, an iPhone is primarily made up of aluminum, totaling 24% of the total phone mass.
The remaining metal components break down to 14% iron, 6% copper, and 5% cobalt. Cobalt is a chemical element found in the Earth’s crust.
As you can see, the makeup of an iPhone contains enough metal to interact with the electromagnetic field produced by a metal detector.
Where the occasionally missed signal occurs is due to the iPhone’s size.
It’s not as small as say a safety pin or money clip, but it’s small enough to be missed if the metal detector in question is low on power, receiving interference, or not calibrated correctly.
How to Hide Phone from Metal Detector
So you want to hide your phone from a metal detector?
While I did say that this can happen occasionally, it’s usually caused by the metal detector, not the phone.
Your phone has metal in it. Thus, a metal detector will notice it.
All those rumors about wrapping your phone in aluminum foil or just taking out the batteries are bogus.
The only way to guarantee that your phone won’t be detected by a metal detector is if it doesn’t have any metal in it.
Which, as you can imagine, would make for a pretty useless phone.
In fact, for any item you’re trying to sneak through security (flasks, tablets, etc.), this general rule applies.
Even if you constructed a phone case made out of non-metallic material, you still need a circuit board, power source, and visual display.
I’m not sure how you get around the fact of needing metal for any phone design.
Without a guarantee of passing through a metal detector, your best chance is to hope that the operator makes a mistake or the metal detector does.
Either way, it’s not likely to happen.
Do Metal Detectors Harm Cell Phones?
I can see why this question would come up but there’s no reason to worry.
Metal detectors don’t harm cell phones.
The electromagnetic field produced by a metal detector is non-ionizing.
This means that it doesn’t have enough energy to remove electrons from atoms or molecules.
In other words, it can’t damage your phone in any way.
You’ve probably heard the word radiation tossed around when it comes to walking through metal detectors and x-ray machines.
While it’s true that these devices emit electromagnetic radiation, it’s not the same kind that can damage your phone or even you for that matter.
Plus, the amount of radiation emitted from a metal detector is well within the safety limits set by the United States. It’s actually comparable to the amount of radiation emitted from your iPhone.
But what about magnets, you ask?
Yes, magnets have been known to damage some forms of electronics.
However, it does not apply in this scenario.
In regards to Apple iPhone’s current technology, magnetic components are not used. Neither the screen, storage, or battery consists of magnetic materials.
Furthermore, a metal detector emits a very low-level magnetic field. This field is in no way strong enough to alter or damage any magnetic components in your phone if there even were any.
FAQs About Metal Detectors and The iPhone
Still have some questions about iPhones and metal detectors? Well, hopefully, we have the answers.
Can a Metal Detector Find a Phone in Snow?
Yes, a metal detector can find a phone in the snow.
Depending on the thickness and present condition of the snow, your average depth might be impacted but you can still expect to find the metal in a phone.
Just think about it this way, if a metal detector can find a coin several inches below the ground, it can certainly find a phone on or just below the surface of the snow.
In fact, if the snow is beginning to melt, the watery conditions can actually help conduct the signal and make it easier for the metal detector to find the phone.
Of course, you probably want to find it before it gets too wet. Or you’ll be looking for a replacement most likely.
How Can I Sneak My Phone Into School with Metal Detectors?
Yes, you can sneak your phone into school with metal detectors. But your success will be dependent on cleverness and the operators of the metal detector.
Now, in no way do I condone doing this! In fact, I’ll just say, don’t do it at all!
But, to answer the question…
Getting a phone into your school is more likely to happen if the operators of the metal detector seem less interested than those at an airport.
At an airport, every beep of the detector is investigated thoroughly and every appendage is scanned before moving on to your gate.
It’s been a long time since I was in school but from what I’ve heard, you sometimes experience a rushing mass of students all trying to get to homeroom before the bell.
This causes congestion and impatience, which can easily lead to less follow-up and quicker (less effective) pat-downs or wand searches.
However, with the rise of gun violence in the US, I do think extra precautions are taken in most schools.
As I stated initially, it can be done but your success depends on factors outside your control.
Metal Detector Proof Cell Phone Case
So you think you’ll just pick yourself up a new cell phone case designed to block metal detectors?
Sorry friend. It’s not that simple.
There is no cell phone case with material made to block the detection of an electromagnetic field.
While some will try and sell you on the idea of buying a Faraday case, those don’t work for what you need.
A Faraday case is designed to block RFID and NFC signals. This is the signal that allows your phone to communicate wirelessly with other devices, like credit card readers or door locks.
But a Faraday case will not do anything to prevent a metal detector from picking up on the metals in your phone.
So if you’re looking for a way to sneak your phone into school or past security, I’m sorry to say a metal detector-proof case does not exist…yet.
Cell Phone with No Metal
You might be thinking, “Well then I’ll just buy a cell phone with no metal!”
While that’s not a bad idea, it’s also not possible…yet.
Even though we briefly touched on this, let’s recap.
All current cell phones on the market contain metals. Even if it’s just a small amount, there are metals in your phone.
And not just one metal. You can usually expect to find a few different metals and alloys making up the many components of your phone.
I hope this article helped clear up some confusion about iPhones, metal detectors, and how they work together.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to iPhone detection by a metal detector.
But the bottom line is this: an iPhone will set off a metal detector because it contains metals that are attracted to the electromagnetic field created by the detector.
There are ways to get around this, but they’re not foolproof. The best bet is to just leave your phone at home or in the car when going through security.
Thanks for reading and feel free to share this article if you found it helpful!
Until next time.