General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Do magnets mess up USB thumbdrives?

Asked by elbanditoroso (33127points) November 27th, 2023

My Fitbit watch uses a magnetic field on the charger to hold the watch close to the charger.

Before I recharged the watch last night, I noticed that a USB drive (the metal end) had been attracted to the magnet on the charger and they clung together.

1) does the magnetic field in any way mess up the chip inside the USB drive? Or whatever control electronics are inside the casing?

2) If I plug the USB drive into my laptop, is it going to magnetize anything therein?

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16 Answers

Caravanfan's avatar

A mild magnetic field like your fitbit charger shouldn’t bother it. If you have a strong magnet, then it could screw with the memory in the USB driv.e

LadyMarissa's avatar

I don’t think that it will magnetize anything in your laptop; however, it “might” wipe the files on the flash drive. On second thought, I doubt that the magnet is strong enough to wipe the drive, but it “might” possibly happen. FYI…don’t let any of your credit cards or gift cards get near a magnet or that can possibly stop them from being read when swiped. Anyway that’s what the cc companies will tell you if you’re having read errors.

Forever_Free's avatar

No. They are not made from magnetic materials.
Flash memory uses an electrically erasable programmable read-only (EEPROM) memory chip that is non-volatile.
Interesting fact is that they get lighter as you store more data. Negligible but less (the mass of each electron removed by changing a 0 to a 1 is 0.00000000000000000000000000091 grams)

filmfann's avatar

@Forever_Free Amazing! Zeroes weigh more than ones??? I’m astounded!

Blackwater_Park's avatar

The default state of a bit in NAND flash memory is “1” so you load data by writing the appropriate zeros.

A magnet won’t hurt it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

IDK but a magnet will sure as hell mess up a new (in 1969) color TV!

smudges's avatar

^^ There’s a story there somewhere!

Dutchess_III's avatar

My sister found that rubbing a magnet across the TV screen created a groovy psychedelic effect on the colors! It was groovy. Also irreversible! Brand new TV.

smudges's avatar

^^ :D That’s too funny! Did she get in a lot of trouble?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t remember! But we had to watch that damn TV for years! That was punishment for her.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Knowing my parents, especially my dad, he would have reasoned that she couldn’t have known….but keeping the TV instead of buying a new one, which he could have easily afforded to do, was probably a side look at her.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

TV’s can be degaussed. I think sometime in the 80’s it was actually something that happened automatically when you turned on the TV. When I did this as a kid, I thought, oh shit! It’s ruined! Then I took a bigger magnet and went over it, that fixed it. Luck.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Forever_Free Wow! I will have to try that on my Mettler lab scale. :-)

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Dutchess_III I did the same thing! It stayed that way for years. My poor parents….

Forever_Free's avatar

@filmfann yep, the Zeroes I know also weigh more than most.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I.messaged two of my sister’s daughters and told them the story. They were just rolling! I said “I want my sister to have a good Christmas so don’t say anything!” knowing damn well they WILL!

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