Do Phones Have Gold in Them? – More Than You Think


Gold is a precious metal

That is about what most people see gold as. It is something of extreme value that has no other purpose than to make you rich. many countries stake the value of their currency on how much gold they hold in reserve.

Cell phones have gold in them. Most people do not know this and casually throw their phones away. The gold is located in the computer chips of the phone. Some people are able to make a substantial side income by collecting discarded phones and extracting the gold within them.

A phone can’t support a monetary system nor can it make you rich beyond your dreams. If there is gold in phones, there will not be a large enough amount for anyone to care about.

To find out the answer to this question, just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to know about.

Is there gold in cell phones and computers?

The secret has been out for some time now and it really shouldn’t be considered a secret anymore. Yes, there is gold used in both computers and cell phones. That includes laptops and possibly tablets as well.

The reason cellphone, laptops, and computer makers use gold is that the precious metal has more uses than just being a precious metal. it turns out that gold is a great conductor of electricity. The current passes through the gold very easily.

Even though copper is cheaper to use, which is why it is the metal used most often for electrical wires and connections, it is also the slowest metal when it comes to conductivity.

Gold is in second place when it comes to this measurement and follows silver which is the fastest precious metal. Even though gold is slower than silver when it comes to conductivity, it is stronger and more durable than silver. This metal is very corrosion resistant which is why you find it on a key cell phone and computer part.

But do not expect this trend to continue as some manufactures are thinking that using gold is not necessary anymore. The reason behind that move is that people change cell phones far too often.

How much gold is in a cell phone?

There are different answers to this question as not everyone has the same information. Some people will say that there is only 1/35th of a gram of gold in a cellphone. One gram equals only 0.04 ounces and 1/35th of a gram does not equal to a lot of gold.

Others will say that there is about $1 to $2 worth of gold inside a cellphone which equals about 0.001 troy ounces. A troy ounce is part of the metric system and is used to measure precious metals. However, one troy ounce equals about 31 grams.

One imperial ounce equals just over 28 grams which means that a troy ounce is slightly heavier than an Imperial ounce. But still, 0.001 troy ounces does not equal a lot of gold in a cell phone.

There are companies that recycle old cellphones and extract the gold that is placed inside of them. In one year, one of those companies extracted over 167 ounces of gold or the equivalent of 789 Olympic gold medals.

What makes these figures pale in comparison is that just Americans alone through over $60 million in gold and silver away when they toss out their old cell phones. On an individual basis, there is not enough gold to make extraction worth it.

However, on a collective scale, you could have your own little gold rush. That is if you have the right equipment to extract most of the gold. Not all gold will be recovered even with the best of equipment.

What part of a cell phone has gold in it?

There are 4 main parts in a cell phone that contain some element of gold. They also contain other precious metals as the devices use about 12 cents worth of copper and 36 cents worth of silver among other precious or rare metals.

For gold, you will find that metal on gold-plated circuit boards, gold-plated connector pins, Ic chips, and monolithic ceramic capacitors. While those are vital cell phone parts, the amount of gold inside will not recover your purchase price nor make it profitable to buy old phones and start extracting.

Since laptops, PCs, and tablets are larger than cell phones, you may find more gold in those devices and more parts that have the gold on them. if you are thinking of starting a recycling business to retrieve gold and other precious metals, it may not be worth it.

It will take time to recover your initial investment plus you have to be given the phones, laptops, and computers to make any sort of profit. It takes roughly 1,000,000 cell phones just to get 75 pounds of gold.

That amount only gets you about 1.64 million dollars. This is the way it is even though Americans throw out over $60 million worth of gold every year.

How do I get the gold out of my phone?

The easiest and most inexpensive method is not considered to be the best option to use. Most companies in developing countries tend to burn cell phone parts, then use salt and vinegar to separate the gold from the burned parts.

That is not an environmentally friendly way of extracting gold from cell phones. There is another method that is a bit more complicated, uses more sophisticated equipment, and costs a bit more to operate.

This method includes shredding the plastic, then using a magnet to get rid of those steel or other metals that can be picked up by a magnet. Then an eddy current is used to separate those precious metals from the plastic.

That is how some bigger companies get the gold out of the cell phone, as well as other electronic devices that contain gold. It is said that there are some other more technologically superior methods to use but those methods cannot compete financially with the two mentioned above.

Protecting the environment costs companies a lot of money even when the reward is precious metals.

Which devices contain the most gold

You have heard the old saying, the bigger they are the harder they fall, a similar concept is used to describe the gold content in electronic devices. the bigger they are, the more gold can be found inside of them.

That is just a logical conclusion as the more parts you have the more you need top electrical conductivity. Gold will solve that problem and also resist corrosion better than other precious metals.

The bigger electronic devices that have the most gold would be computers and television sets. Following those two devices would be camcorders, media players, and gaming consoles.

In the overall picture of things, cell phones would be considered a drop in the bucket when compared to these larger devices. Your recycling efforts would have to be done on a larger scale in order to make any real money at retrieving the gold from those devices.

Then you would need a very large warehouse to store those devices until you could get to them and send them to the extraction process. While the gold is tempting to go for, the initial setup costs may not make the effort worth the trouble.

A breakdown of the gold content

If you are still contemplating recycling electronic devices to make your living, then you should be aware of how many of each device you need to gather up just to make a little money.

At the time of this writing, the current gold price for an ounce is roughly $1,800 per troy ounce. the price per gram is just under $58 and a kilo of gold or 2.2 pounds equals almost $58,000.

Keep in mind that the price of gold changes on a daily basis so those figures will be out of date shortly. To make a living retrieving gold from electronic devices, here is what you need:

  1. 1 ton of cellphones = 5 troy ounces of gold (10,000 phones equal 1 ton)
  2. 200 laptops = 5 troy ounces of gold
  3. 1 ton of circuit boards for PCs = 5 troy ounces of gold

That should give you an idea of how much of each device you need to make a good living extracting gold from electronic items. With camcorders, television sets, and other devices are thrown in, you would have to have a monopoly on the recycling market in your area to make it doing this type of work.

Some final words

Gold is used in cell phones simply because it is the strongest material to use and because it can conduct electricity faster than other precious metals except for silver. As you can see by the numbers, there is not a lot of gold being used in cell phones.

Then with cell phone makers thinking it is not worth the expense or effort to use gold, this money-making opportunity may disappear soon. Just be thankful that these companies still use gold as your cell phone works better with that precious metal than without it.

The consolation prize is that you do own your own personal gold reserve even though it does not amount to much money.

Gene Botkin

Gene is a graduate student in cybersecurity and AI at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Ongoing philosophy and theology student.

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