By Samantha Vercellino
Smartphones can do a lot of things but functioning in extreme cold is not one of them.
Even if the Midwest escapes another polar vortex, the winter will still be frigid. CUB has some tips to protect your device.
Check battery life. When cold temperatures hit, your battery life will suffer. Lithium-ion batteries can drain faster than normal when exposed to the cold air, or they may shut off completely. To avoid being phoneless, adequately charge your phone before leaving the house and keep a car charger near. If your phone does shut down, wait until you’re inside and the device has warmed up before you restart it. Restarting too quickly can lead to internal damage and actually shorten battery life.
Leave it in your pocket. Resist the temptation to respond to a text message when you’re out in frigid air. Freezing temperatures can make your smartphone brittle. To prevent screen cracks or delayed touchscreen reactions, stash smartphones safely away in your purse, bag or pocket where they can absorb some of your body heat.
Keep it away from snow-related activities. Instagramming and tweeting pictures of your snowball fights can seem like a good idea, but that increases the chance of your smartphone getting wet and damaged. Also, liquid condensation can form underneath the display if you use your phone too soon after bringing it in from frigid conditions. This too causes water damage and affects the screen’s display performance.
Invest in warm accessories. Hats and gloves help protect you from the wintry elements, and your smartphone needs protective gear, too. Purchase protective cover like a Lifeproof or Otterbox case that regulates a phone’s temperature in extreme situations. If you leave your smartphone out, search your home for warm household accessories, like socks, that can quickly defrost it. (Your creativity will get your friends talking!)
Consider purchasing special gloves. Regular gloves won’t work on smartphone touchscreens, but you can invest in a pair of gloves that include conductive fabric on the tip of the index finger. The special fabric lets your manage you smartphones without taking off your protective gear. They run around $3.99 a pair at local convenience stores. If you don’t want to part with your favorite mittens, thread the fingertips with conductive thread to make them smartphone-friendly. Find out how here.