Is Samsung spying on you and stealing your data via that suspicious “chip” on phone battery

This video is doing rounds these days in social media especially in Asian countries like India, Pakistan and middle-east in which a Pakistani national shows a thin “chip” attached with the battery of a Samsung phone. This alleged “chip” has a circuit with its terminals attached with the battery. He peels off the battery’s outer paper covering and detaches the film (which was firmly glued to the battery). The person in the video is speaking “Urdu” and alleges that Samsung is stealing your data via this “chip” without your knowledge. He further says that this “spying chip” is not required for the proper functioning of the phone or battery. Therefore he urges “Galaxy” phone users to remove this “chip” from the battery and stay safe. But wait! before you peel off your expensive phone’s battery read the next half of this post first.

The truth – when we investigated the issue, the whole matter and the video turned out to be a hoax only. The so called “chip” shown in the video is actually an NFC antenna found in some high-end Samsung Android phones. As you may know, NFC (Near Field Communication) is a technology used for high-speed data transfer (like WiFi Direct) among compatible devices and to perform some other functions. Usually found in back cover of phones, sometimes phone makers pack NFC circuitry with the battery to reduce the use of duplicate batteries. Many phone tear-down videos and articles are available online (like this one by iFixit) which show this NFC circuit sheet attached with the battery. iFxit further says about this (in context of Galaxy Nexus phone) –

Not only does the 3.7 V, 1750 mAh battery power the phone, but the user manual states that it also doubles as the NFC antenna. There’s a sweet antenna hiding underneath the battery’s shiny wrapper. So if you ever want to buy a replacement battery (and keep NFC functional), ensure that the battery has the antenna.

Even user manuals of such phones also have this info if you carefully read them. So that’s it, nothing fishy about the alleged spying “chip”.

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