Statistically, summer is the most dangerous time for smart devices, but frigid winter temperatures can damage a device just as much as a sweltering summer day. An exposed phone in freezing temps can drastically decrease performance, and immersion in snow and ice can cause permanent damage.
It also doesn’t help that a third of users either lose or break their smartphones, typically within ten weeks of purchase. Here’s a winter wrap-up of ways to weather every storm.
1. Test the Temperature
Checking the temperature before you head out is the low-hanging fruit of accident prevention. Though an iPhone can withstand temperatures below freezing, its recommended operating temperature is still 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above, according to Apple. Lower temperatures mean lower performance and increased risk of battery failure.
That’s probably why “What’s the temperature?” is my most frequently asked question to Siri. She quickly lets me know if I need to bundle up my phone.
There’s nothing worse than a dead battery that could have been easily prevented before going out. Scientific tests show that devices totally shut down around -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Heat it up Slow
If you’ve been shoveling snow for hours while jamming out to your snow day playlist, condensation can form inside your device if you heat it up too quickly. Yes, it is possible to cause water damage without directly getting the phone wet. Don’t subject your smartphone to a sudden swing in temperature that could leave its circuitry too wet to work.
If your phone becomes glitchy or slow, you may want to follow these steps to avoid any type of permanent damage.
I also personally invested in gloves with conductive thread. Now, I never have to worry about fumbling with my gloves and sending my phone into an icy gutter. Outdoor winter sports fans are particularly at risk.
3. Keep it Wrapped Up
Expensive smartphone glass can go from flexible to brittle if exposed to below-freezing temperatures, making a slip or drop much more dangerous. Keep your phone in a warm, interior pocket and don’t leave it in your car overnight. Just like a black leather interior on a sunny summer day, a subzero car can be ruinous. Jack Frost isn’t too kind to lithium ion.
Salt Cases use NASA technology to thermally protect devices in the most extreme climates. But a standard QuikCell protector will also do the trick for anyone who isn’t preparing for the first mission to Mars.
Cases aren’t only for those clumsy drops. Protect your phone to help it retain heat and survive the snowy outdoors.