Much of the country has been welcoming the first few days of the new year with snowfall and behind that snowfall bitter cold temperatures. With this year’s big holidays coming in the middle of the week, for some it has just extended the new year a bit longer, but there are some folks who have to get out and work in these chilling temperatures. I’m currently in Washington DC which didn’t get hit as hard by the snow or the cold temps, but for this region it is still slowing things down a bit. And I can’t wait to return to Chicago on Monday when the high is projected to be a lovely -7 degrees on the old fahrenheit scale.
But I can bundle up and stay warm enough until I get back inside. And part of that bundling up is to make sure my mobile devices keep warm enough as well. Even with touch screen devices that work with gloves I’m not one to take my hands out of my pockets in weather like this, so I typically keep those mobile devices in an inner pocket.
Mobile devices don’t like extreme temperatures. In that way they ware much like humans. And in fact, manufacturers include temperature ranges that they recommend you stay within. Some damage from extreme temps may not be covered by our warranty, so before you start snapping pictures of all those pretty snow covered trees, you might want to make sure you’re covered.
For mobile devices extreme cold usually hits in two areas: Displays and Battery Life. It isn’t uncommon to see LCD displays dim if exposed to extreme cold weather. Bubbles can form in a Liquid Crystal Display that can cause permanent damage. It is common to see batteries discharge more quickly when extreme cold weather causes the chemical reaction that provides a charge and the battery responds by producing more energy to keep things going at a normal rate. That process can get amplified and accelerated a bit if your device keeps going from extreme cold to warmer temps on and off through a day.
Apple’s temperature range recommends 0 Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) as the low point, Nokia recommends -10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit), and Samsung recommends -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit). Motorola recommends 0 Celsius (32 Fahrenheit). In various tests around the device testing world, most mobile devices will start exhibiting issues between -10 and -20 Celsius (14 to -4 Fahrenheit) and most phones will turn off around that -20 mark.
Of course your mileage may vary to some degree depending on your usage. In the best of all possible world’s when facing extreme cold temperatures you probably should treat your mobile device with the care you would to avoid damage to exposed skin. It is also recommended that you turn brightness on screens down and keep devices in inner pockets close to your body if you have to keep them running. Of course turning them off and leaving them indoors are options that work as well.
And if you’re phone won’t turn on after being exposed to extreme cold, let it set and warm back up to room temperature while you’re sipping hot chocolate to warm yourself up before trying to turn it back on.