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Strategic insights
Recharge your iPhone with Music

Written by on April 1, 2009

Everyone who owns either an iPod Touch or an iPhone have experienced that the battery power sometimes increases when playing music. The effect is actually easily reproduced.

Yes, this was just a April Fool's Day joke :)
(see my comment for details)

Here is what you do.

  1. Use you iPhone/iPod Touch in ways that will quickly drain the battery. Like when you play a game. Wait until it has dropped below the "only 20% left" warning.
  2. Put it on standby, and wait about a minute.
  3. Turn it back on. Go into music; find a song with a nice even beat (or a Podcast). And start playing that.
  4. Put it back on standby (while the music is still running) and listen to it for about 10 minutes.
  5. Now turn it back on, and you will suddenly see that the battery is no longer displayed with a red indicator.

That is pretty neat, right?

So how does this work?

It turns out that the modulation of certain sounds actually regenerates the battery. This is a combination between how electricity is flowing through your iPhone, to the earplug socket and the small amount of energy radiation that is bounced of the sides of the battery.

When the flow of electricity is moving at certain pulses, at a very specific frequency, the battery will recharge!

The effect is similar to the wireless battery charger mats. Where you simply place your device over a special electric area.

See David Pouge's review of charging mats.

There is catch...

While it is great that you can actually recharge your battery simply by listening to music, there are a few problems to consider.

The pulses and frequency has to be in very specific range, meaning only some form of music tends to work. Fast paced music, being either heavy rock or techno will drain your battery rather than recharging it. While slow paced music tends to work much better. Especially country music seems to have a positive effect with 0.2% higher recharging rate than any other form of music.

Classical music is tricky. Anything that contains a piano or a violin will drain your battery far quicker than normal, due to the high frequency sounds, and do not go near anything that has to do with Opera.

Classic acoustic guitar works just fine (which match the positive effect of country music).

Podcasts and audio books are especially interesting - although with a huge differences. It works fine with The Daily GizWiz (although not during the Thursday theme), while it didn't work at all with the audio book "The Funny Thing Is..." by Ellen Degeneres. In fact it seemed to drain far quicker than normal.

But most importantly, your battery will never actually fully recharge. Once the remaining power reach about 21% full, the built in Mac OS X energy saver will take over. This only works while the battery is displaying a red battery indicator (at which point the energy saver is switched off by the system).

You can however repeat this process, depending on the type of music you decide to hear.

Also, this only works with the iPhone 3G or the 2nd generation iPod Touch. And this doesn't work when the screen is on, since the power consumed by the screen exceeds the recharging power of the music.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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