How strong does a magnet have to be to erase an iPod?
June 19, 2011 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Would a magnetic closure on a purse be strong enough to damage an iPod?

I recently sewed a purse that has a flap on top, like a messenger bag. I wanted a way to keep the flap closed but wasn't happy with the button I was using. My husband suggested magnetic closures like these.

The problem: I carry my iPod Touch in my purse. I use it for work all the time, so I take good care of it and take no chances with it. I don't want my iPod to be erased or damaged by the magnets, even if there's a small, Mythbusters-"plausible"-level chance it could happen.

Could a magnet like that be strong enough to damage an iPod?
posted by christinetheslp to Technology (7 answers total)
Even when we had magnetic hard drives in our gadgets, the chances of a normal-life-sized magnet causing damage were basically zilch. Today, though? Magnets will have no effect on your Touch. It uses Flash memory, not a hard drive; Flash memory is not magnetic. Damage isn't unlikely, it's impossible.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:21 AM on June 19, 2011

Hooray! Thanks!
posted by christinetheslp at 8:22 AM on June 19, 2011

No chance at all.

HOWEVER, some gadgets and phones (my Blackberry is one) use a magnet sensor to tell when it is in a dock or case of some kind. And sometimes there are automatic behaviors when it thinks it has been docked/holstered. What would happen was that I'd walk too close to the fridge, and my call would hang up. Because it was set to hang up when holstered, and the magnets on the fridge fooled it into thinking I had holstered it.

So it can't ruin anything. But there is a possibility that it, or some other device, could behave weirdly near magnets.
posted by gjc at 8:33 AM on June 19, 2011

They might not damage your iPod, but a magnetic purse closures have been enough to kill the magnetic strip on a couple of my bank cards over the years.
posted by peppermind at 8:49 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

My iPod died so many times my account got red-flagged by Apple. In the end, the last tech I spoke to said they thought it might be the strong magnets in my purse* effectively pulling the drive slightly out of place. I don't know how plausible that is, but after I got what I was told was my last replacement ever, I got a zune and a different purse and no more problems.

*it had a bunch for secret pockets etc.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 3:38 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ah yes, I should point out that it was an 80GB iPod, and the tech said exactly what Tomorrowful did - that a flash drive couldn't have this problem.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 3:40 PM on June 19, 2011

Slightly unrelated, but the only trouble I've had with a smallish purse with two strong magnets is that it wiped some Metro tickets on me once (paper ones with magnetic strips). Credit cards (in wallet) and iPhone have been fine.
posted by cndelia at 8:44 PM on June 19, 2011

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