CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Christmas Gift Guide
Culture

Did this iPhone really take a bath in superacid?

A video purporting to show an iPhone battling it out with superacid shows some interesting chemistry, but it's not what you might think.

This iPhone suffered some surface damage.

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

YouTube user TechRax has a reputation built on destruction, whether it's drilling into an iPhone or crushing a gold Apple Watch with magnets. TechRax's latest viral stunt involves an iPhone 7 and what is supposed to be a dose of fluoroantimonic acid, a substance so strong it's known as a "superacid."

In the video, TechRax covers the back of a matte-black iPhone 7 with what he calls the "world's strongest acid" and leaves it overnight. He then adds some hydrogen peroxide and sulfuric acid into the mix before trying to start the phone up.

Fluoroantimonic acid is a powerful and dangerous substance. There is some very warranted skepticism about TechRax's use of the acid, which should come in the form of a colorless or yellow liquid, but is in a crystalline form in the video.

TechRax told CNET, "All I can confirm is I indeed went out my way to purchase Fluoroantimonic Acid, yes. Now did I activate it with HF? No." "HF" stands for "hydrogen fluoride." If missing the key component of hydrogen fluoride, the crystalline substance won't be the crazy-powerful superacid that we should all know about and fear.

This was actually a smart move by TechRax, since full-on activated fluoroantimonic acid is extremely hazardous and would have eaten through the glass container holding the iPhone. It can also react with water and spew horrifying fumes. It should only be handled by professionals in controlled conditions.

The video has nearly 6 million views, but it won't give watchers a "Raiders of the Lost Ark"-type melting experience. TechRax's experiment is interesting as-is, but it doesn't show us if an iPhone would survive an encounter with a whole-hog dose of fluoroantimonic acid. In reality, the iPhone would be eaten alive.