How To: Protect Your Phone From the Cold

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snowblow

Tempting to take a photo, isn’t it? Get your chilly hands into the snow and off your phone!

When your phone is off, it can withstand extreme temperature almost as well as humans can (in the appropriate gear, of course). But when it’s on, it’s another story – like the average North American, your smartphone will suffer when it’s on the less comfortable sides of 0ºC and 38ºC. From visible effects like condensation and screen issues to internal problems like battery drain and difficulty reading SIM cards, our fancy phones really like it temperate. For iPhones, Apple released an article about acceptable operating temperatures this winter.

More specifically, it’s the lithium-ion batteries inside our phones that are particularly sensitive. They may drain more quickly than usual, or say it’s full one minute then completely go dead on you the next. Aside from the battery, the screen may crack more easily especially if there are already nicks in the glass, and there are other delicate electronic parts that could malfunction.

Cheaper Android phones with less complex circuitry actually tend to last longer in the cold. A company in Finland called MikroPC tested a wide range of phones, smart and dumb, to see which phones would withstand the coldest climate, and found quite quickly that generally, phones with less cool features endured the more cool temperatures. So if you’re somewhere that is consistently below freezing, maybe hold off on the upgrade!

Here are 5 tips for a cozy phone:

1. Close to your heart

When you’re outside, keep your phone in your pocket or in close proximity so it can absorb your body heat. Whether you’re skiing, camping, or just going out for a coffee, protect it as if your life depended on it…which isn’t too far from the truth!

2. Keep it hands-free

Use headphones or a Bluetooth bud so you can keep your phone warm in your pocket when navigating through music or answering calls. I know you so badly want to archive your snowball fight or your buddy’s snowboard tricks, but remember that your phone may not enjoy it as much as you do.

3. Get some cozy swag

Cases can help keep your phone warmer. One like Salt Cases actually uses NASA’s thermal technology to protect your phone against heat and cold. Lifeproof cases are not only good for winter, but are dirt-proof, waterproof, and drop-proof – hence their name. Even with other less heavy-duty cases, it will at least reduce the possibility of you dropping your slippery cold phone on the icy pavement!

case in snow

Rare image of an iPhone ripping it down a snowy mountainside

4. Don’t leave it behind

Hopefully your smartphone never has to spend the night outside or in a freezing car, but if it does, make sure to turn it off instead of just putting it to sleep. A phone that is turned off is much less prone to damage than a phone that’s still beeping.

5. What if my smartphone does spend some time out in the cold?

Just turn/keep it off until it gets back to room temperature. Turning it on when it’s warmed up again will keep condensation from building and will help protect against any other damage like shortened battery life. And don’t worry – it doesn’t look like a bit of exposure to cold causes any permanent problems, and you may choose that the winter wonderland Snap or Instagram may be worth it.

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