By Julia Burgess
For those who really have to use a smartphone, or who are in the unfortunate position of having to share a home with one, then you may find this helpful, if you feel that you are affected by them even when they are not in use.
For a while, I was particularly sensitive to my smartphone, even when it was switched off and stored in the garden shed. I could still feel it doing something, as I did with any smartphone - especially iPhones.
This constant "pinging" to the nearest cell tower/mobile phone mast that they do, even when in flight mode or switched off, cannot be picked up by a standard radiofrequency/microwave meter.
I don't use my smartphone for making calls - I wouldn't dream of it. I use it for sending emails, SMS messages, Whatsapp voice messages, Facebook, and for taking photos.
I can't use a desktop PC for any length of time, because it requires mains power, and I'm badly affected by low frequency electric and magnetic fields and by "dirty electricity". I've tried using a laptop, but that didn't really work well for me either.
I find that my smartphone (after changing some settings) now affects me much less than using a PC or laptop, and it's easier for doing the everyday things that I want to do.
Here are some things that you can do to reduce the effect that the smartphone has on you.
I believe that all of the following settings can be changed in any Android phone. However, as far as I know, this cannot be done on the iPhone. *
Starting with the most obvious, in the Settings menu, I disable WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC (Near Field Communications).
You can also disable Mobile Data too, but I don't do this, as I keep Flight Mode activated at all times, unless I need to send/receive data, in which case I deactivate Flight Mode, wait for a few seconds (keeping a distance), and then reactivate Flight Mode.
I find that Flight Mode completely disables Mobile Data, and it is easy to switch on and off in the shortcut bar at the top of the screen whenever I need to send/receive data, and this is why I don't disable Mobile Data.
In Flight Mode, I can compose emails, browse Facebook, and use Whatsapp to record voice messages. I find Whatsapp much better than using a landline telephone, which can affect me badly. This way, I can keep in touch with family and friends overseas, which I do on a regular basis.
Next, go to Location in the Settings menu and switch off GPS. Also disable Google Location History and Google Location Sharing if applicable.
Look for any Apps that have recently requested your location, and turn off Allow Location Permission.
I doubt that most Apps really need to know where you are at any given time. I deleted every App that I didn't need, and didn't allow location permission for the rest.
DATE & TIME
Next, go to Date & Time in the Settings menu, and uncheck Automatic date & time and Automatic time zone. This stops the phone trying to contact the network every couple of seconds, or whatever it is, to update the time; after all, why does it even need to do this? The time is set, and only needs to change when the clocks get moved forward or back, depending on where you live.
Keep the phone's battery charged well above 50%; I notice that the phone works harder when the charge is low, and it emits a greater field - even when switched off.
Don't let the phone's memory get too full. Again, it seems to emit more of a field when it is reaching its maximum capacity.
Turn the screen brightness down to a minimum. I find that this helps when using the phone, and it saves power too.
SWYPE & Predictive Text
I use SWYPE for writing text, which doesn't require keystrokes, results in reduced impact on the fingers, and speeds things up considerably.
Despite making all of these changes, I still feel an effect at times when I'm composing messages (usually a dull pain that creeps up my arm - a similar pain to the one I get when I use a wired mouse on a PC), but I'm guessing that this is due to the low frequency field emitted by the phone's battery.
However, since making these changes, I've been able to use my phone this way for over a year without much of a problem. Also, by encouraging family and friends to do the same, I can ensure that I am no longer affected by their phones when they are with me. Unless they have an iPhone, of course...! *
Although these tweaks make things much easier for me, I still don't keep my phone anywhere near me, if at all possible, when I'm not using it. I don't even allow it into the house.
I think that the technology would be great, if only it wasn't so harmful.
If you know of any further tweaks that can make smartphones safer for electrosensitive people, please let me know, and I can update this post.
* This article describes how not all transmitting antennas are switched off on an iPhone when if is in flight mode:
iOS 10: Airplane Mode Doesn’t Turn Off All Radios (GPS, NFC)
(Image at the top from: http://topmobiletrends.com/radiation-levels-2014-flagship-phones-2/)