Tech Mythbusters: Can a Cell Detect Microwave Leaks?

published Oct 5, 2010
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Ah, the internet. Where else would we find answers to all of our random questions? Our latest internet research: Whether or not your cell phone can help you identify leaks in your microwave. The legend says that if you place your phone in a microwave and close the door, it will only be able to receive an incoming call if there’s a leak. But is that true?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Paranoid about cell phone radiation? You’re not the only one. But they aren’t the first device to get people up in arms about radioactivity. Before cell phones, it was that handy dandy microwave.

So it kind of made sense when we heard about this microwave leak test: Put your cell in the microwave, close the door and try to call it. If it rings, there’s a leak. If not, you’re wave-safe. After all, the only shield between you and those TV-dinner-zapping rays is the microwave box and it’s door.

Well it turns out we couldn’t find a solid answer.

Crowd-sourced WikiHow says it’s a moderately reliable way to check for leaks, yet the also crowd-sourced Wiki Answers says “no dice.”

We’re more inclined to believe Wiki Answers, but we want to know if any of our uber-smart readers have a solid answer. Let us know in the comments!

  • EDIT: Duh, we forgot to tell you what happened when we tried it (Thanks, Letrent!). We put my iPhone in the microwave and called from the S.O.’s iPhone about 20 feet away on the sofa. It rang right away.