HTD Tech Tip #6: Putting your Cell Phone on Tinfoil Means No Speaker Interference

iphone-foil2

Have you ever heard the electronic buzzes and tones (called TDMA noise) that come from your computer speakers when your iPhone or other cellular phone is in close proximity? Typically this happens when your phone is downloading data or about to receive a call. It is EXTREMELY annoying. That is part of the reason why, if you use an FM transmitter to play your iPhone’s music over the car’s stereo, that when you plug in the transmitter, your iPhone asks you if you want to take your phone offline when you listen to music.

I recently rearranged my desk at work and brought some speakers in from home and was faced with the iPhone vs. Computer Speaker issue. In the past, whenever I ran into this issue, I usually did one of two things: move the phone or turn off the speakers. But both options were less than desirable. So about half a year ago, I came across a tip that discussed a solution that seemed a bit odd: simply place your iPhone (or other cell phone) on a piece of tinfoil. That’s it! Simple, inexpensive and a bit geeky!

iPhone_foil2

This tip has been written up in several other places so it is nothing original by me. However, it IS a great tip and I wanted to be sure it was documented. The tinfoil acts as some type of shielding that lessens the TDMA noise dramatically. My tests have shown that it doesn’t increase the likelihood of missed calls or data not being transferred into your phone.

Note, I haven’t been successful at getting this to work in my car, but I’m still trying. If anyone has any tips on how the best way to set this up is, please let me know.

I’m sure that there are now off-the-shelf products that you can buy that does the same thing as this. And, I’m also sure that they are esthetically pleasing but costly. This tip is practically cost-free and makes you look like you know something that others don’t. And it’s a great story to tell, especially because it works!

HTD says: Give the tinfoil trick a try. It’s pretty amazing how well it actually works!

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6 Responses

  1. @Brian,Yeah, it is a good one. I wish I had discovered it first hand myself so that I could claim credit (grin). And thanks for the comment about the blog. Hope you keep reading it!-HTD

  2. @Brian,

    Yeah, it is a good one. I wish I had discovered it first hand myself so that I could claim credit (grin). And thanks for the comment about the blog. Hope you keep reading it!

    -HTD

  3. What's weird about that interference is that I get the same buzzing on docked iPhone speaker docks. I had always attributed to the blackberry radio, but read this article in CIO that any GSM phone can make the buzzing. I'm guessing that the iPhone is so thin that it has no shielding, and that's why you pick it up on any speaker system, FM transmitter included or not.

  4. What's weird about that interference is that I get the same buzzing on docked iPhone speaker docks. I had always attributed to the blackberry radio, but read this article in CIO that any GSM phone can make the buzzing. I'm guessing that the iPhone is so thin that it has no shielding, and that's why you pick it up on any speaker system, FM transmitter included or not.

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Michael Sheehan (“HighTechDad”) is an avid technologist, writer, journalist, content marketer, blogger, tech influencer, social media pundit, loving husband and father of 3 beautiful girls living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This site covers technology, consumer electronics, Parent Tech, SmartHomes, cloud computing, gadgets, software, hardware, parenting “hacks,” and other tips & tricks.

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