If you own a display device, you might be wondering whether magnets will affect its performance. Magnets are all around us. They are found in speakers, refrigerators, computers, cabinets and countless other products. While magnets won’t affect some types of display devices, they can cause damage to other types of display devices. What types of display devices are affected by magnets exactly?


Cathode-ray tube (CRT) displays are affected by magnets. CRTs, of course, are display devices that use an electron-beaming gun to illuminate their pixels. The pixels consist of phosphor compounds. When exposed to electrons, they’ll illuminate while subsequently creating visible images on the CRT’s screen.

You should keep all magnets away from CRTs. CRTs actually use magnets to guide the electrons. When turned on, CRTs will direct the electrons produced by their electron-beaming gun using a magnetic field. The magnetic field will project the electrons to the phosphor compounds where they are needed. If exposed to an external magnet, however, the electrons may strike other phosphor compounds, resulting in image distortion.

Magnet-Safe Displays

Fortunately, not all displays are affected by magnets. While magnets can distort the images produced by CRTs, they won’t distort or otherwise affect the images produced by liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). LCDs are safe from the effects of magnets.

LCDs don’t contain any built-in magnets. There are different types of LCDs, such as active matrix and passive matrix. Regardless, they all feature a pixel layer consisting of liquid pixels, which is illuminated with a backlight. LCDs don’t use electrons to strike their pixels, nor do they use any magnets. As a result, exposure to a magnetic field won’t affect them.

Organic light-emitting diode (OLEDs) are safe from the effects of magnets as well. OLED is a relatively new display technology. They produce strong contrast, support low-profile designs, are energy efficient and long-lasting. OLEDs simply feature an organic pixel layer with self-illuminating properties. As electrons travel through the pixel layer, the pixels will illuminate. Like LCDs, OLEDs don’t contain any built-in magnets, so they aren’t affected by external magnets.

In Conclusion

It’s a common myth that all display devices are affected by magnets. You can hold a magnet up to most types of displays without damaging them. Only CRTs are affected by magnets, which is due to their use of a built-in magnet for controlling the electrons. LCDs, OLEDs and all other modern displays are magnet-safe.