Stop Tktktkkt Sound By Wrapping Cellphone In Aluminum Foil

If you have a problem with your cellphone making an annoying tkkttktktk sound come out your speakers, this Instructable says wrap it aluminum foil. Doing so should prevent the EMF gremlins from escaping and wrecking havoc on your audio equipment.

There’s also the added benefit that now the CIA won’t be able to read your thoughts through your phone. — BEN POPKEN

how to block annoying cell phone interference [instructables]

RELATED: Feeling Cingular

UPDATE: Or not. Commenters say this idea is stupid. Maybe you can use the foil to wrap your fake fake [sic] eggs.


Edit Your Comment

  1. snazz says:

    how about a way to protect your speakers from cell phones in neighboring apartments that are causing that noise? i cant wrap those in foil.

  2. Ben Popken says:

    Aluminum foil wallpaper.

  3. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Like the article says..wouldn’t it just be easier to turn it off?

    Bonus tip: If you have annoying neighbors with whom you share a common wall, make sure you put your phone on the other side of the wall from their stereo. If you’re lucky, you can ruin their speakers :0)

  4. MrFlashport says:

    This is also a great way to make your phone work harder as shielding the phone not only causes it to transmit at a higher power level than needed (and this means less battery life), but also means you’ll have more missed/dropped calls while the phone is wrapped in foil. If you have a desire to put your phone in a Faraday cage (the technical term for this), than maybe you should turn it off or keep it away from a device that gets interference…

    or switch to a carrier that uses a more modern air interface (CDMA or UMTS)than GSM/iDEN.

  5. @MrFlashport: Ding ding ding.

    This does nothing but cut your battery life and possibly damage the RF section of your phone as it deals with reflections from the foil while transmitting at high power constantly to stay in touch with the tower.

    Do not follow the instructions at the link – just turn the phone off fer chrissakes.

  6. Jigen says:

    Man, I can’t have my phone anywhere near my TV or endless noises.

  7. As I just discovered this week, putting a cell phone in the drawer of a metal filing cabinet makes it transmit so hard that the normally slightly annoying speaker interference becomes startlingly loud.

    So yeah…leave the tinfoil at home and move the phone to the other end of the desk instead.

  8. BillyShears says:

    Another idea, one that doesn’t inspire thoughts of The Lone Gunmen from The X-Files, is to just keep the cell phone – this only happens with GSM-based handsets, by the way – away from something with speakers.

    Crazy, I know!

  9. Grimmtooth says:

    Concur with the above – turn the stupid thing off, for crying out loud!

    Worst. Tip. Evar.

  10. jkschlitz says:

    Any time I put the phone on my nightstand because I’m expecting a call, it gets picked up by the speaker in my alarm clock/radio (which is across the room). When I put the phone far enough away that it doesn’t make that noise, I can no longer hear it ring from the bed.
    I’m not sure I would do what is suggested in the article, but I just wanted to make the point that it’s not always possible to turn your phone off or keep it away from speakers.

  11. kidnextdoor says:

    Wait a second…you laugh at me for my tin foil beanie, and now you want me to make one for my cell phone? Sheesh.

  12. dbeahn says:

    @MrFlashport: Ironic, isn’t it, that all the major carriers are playing up the “3g” network, pretending that a standard that’s been in use in Europe and other places for 15 years is “new” and “better” than TDMA, UTMS and CDMA? All of which are more modern systems.

    The truth is, of course, that GSM isn’t a “better” system, it’s a *cheaper* system.

  13. dbeahn says:

    @jkschlitz: The point here is that while wrapping it in foil keeps signals from getting out to the speakers around it, it also keeps signals from fetting *in* to the phone – like the signal that tells the phone to ring.

    Wrapping it in foil IS “turning” it off, but without the benefit of saving battery life.

  14. lostsynapse says:

    No has suggested wrapping the speakers themselves in aluminum foil yet. Any secondary noise problems that will occur as a result of following this suggestion are unforseeable.

  15. tazewell78 says:

    Here’s a thought…switch to a CDMA carrier like Sprint, Verizon, or Alltel, instead of a crap-infested GSM carrier like Cingular or T Mobile. I laugh when I see people with those carriers, the voice and data are terrible by comparison.

  16. 2Legit2Quit says:

    my favorite is the cingular and t-mobile owners when they talk to others they are technically having a 3-way conversation… 1) them 2) the friend 3) their echo :)

    Verizon ftw!

  17. I wonder if adding a common RF choke to your speaker wires (when possible) would help?

    I’ll try it here at home and let y’all know.

  18. yg17 says:


    My favorite are the verizon customers who pay more than they should and have customer service reps who don’t know the difference between dollars and cents.

    T-Mobile FTW!

    FWIW, My T-Mo phone never creates that interference. When I had Cingular, I had it all the time, probably due to the different frequencies.

  19. superbmtsub says:

    To the clowns who never used T-Mobile’s services but make no attempt to dish out on em.

    FACT #1: T-MOBILE is NOT Cingular. Issues found on Cingular do not replicate on T-Mobile. If you hear echos on Cingular, it’s not gonna happen on T-Mobile. If the tktkktktktk sound pops up on Cingular phones, it’s not happening on T-Mobile. Just cuz they’re both GSM doesnt mean they’re the same. Remember that!

    FACT #2: I’ve owned Cingular, Sprint, and Verizon phones in the past 6 years and they’ve all sucked. Verizon always came up with astonishing charges (+ extremely rude CSRs), Sprint had terrible voice clarity issues (who said CDMA rules?), and Cingular has spotty coverage anywhere you go and that tftfkfktktk sound drove me insane.

    FACT #3: T-Mobile has excellent customer service and an awesome selection of phones (similar to Cingular)!

  20. lonelymaytagguy says:

    Cingular is mostly on 850 MHz and T-Mobile is mostly 1,900 MHz. Different devices will tolerate one frequency better than the other.

    Nobody here has mentioned NexTel iDEN — my experience is they win the noisiest interference race by a wide margin. (not to mention the beep-beep BLAH-BLAH)

    Just like when Microsoft tells us that Word crashing on italics is a feature because people shouldn’t use italics, I consider the mild interference from my GSM phone (T-Mobile) a feature.

    It usually lives in the storage compartment just below my car radio. When I hear the buzz-buzz start up, I know to turn off the radio and answer the phone.

  21. shdwsclan says:

    Umm…by the way….putting tin foil around the phone continuously will cause your phone to malfunction since it loosses network updates, you may not be able to recieve calls and/or text messages….
    You can actually turn your phone off and have your calls routed to your home phone and your text messages routed to your comp…

  22. cac67 says:

    @dbeahn: GSM is not 3G. UMTS is the upgrade path from GSM to 3G.

  23. karmaghost says:

    My fiancé’s Cingular phone makes my headphones go crazy in my ear, but my T-mo phone can be right next to me and do nothing. Also, it’s important to consider whether your speakers are properly shielded or not. My headphones and backup computer speakers are effected by the signals, but my TV’s speakers and the stereo hooked up to the TV aren’t.

  24. Indecision says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: “I wonder if adding a common RF choke to your speaker wires (when possible) would help?”

    I doubt it. The article you linked to says they’re designed to block AC signals while letting DC pass. Speakers work via AC.

  25. esquilax says:

    guys, stop conflating cell phone signaling tech:

    UTMS is a data protocol. Voice does not go over it.

    TDMA and CDMA are just channel access protocols. Nothing’s newer about one or the other. GSM uses TDMA.