You know it’s going to be cold outside when the TV/newspaper weatherperson comes up with a new phrase to explain how cold it’s actually going to get (i.e. “Polar Vortex”).
Nearly 150 million Americans are preparing for some of the most extreme cold weather this nation has witnessed in the past 20 years or so. According to the National Weather Service, average temperatures are expected to drop 30 to 50 degrees below average in some cities.
In freezing weather, it’s arguably more important than ever to stay connected with your cell phone. Here are a few cold-weather facts and tips that will help you keep your cell phone up and running during winter storms and cold weather.
Know your phones temperature range. Take the Apple iPhone, for example. When it’s turned off, the iPhone 5S can withstand temperatures between -4° and 113° Fahrenheit. When it’s turned on, the range is much more narrow. Apple suggests 32° Fahrenheit as the lowest operating temperature. Most cell phones or smartphones will list the optimum range of temperatures in their technical specs.
When outside, keep your phone close to your body. If you have to venture outside with your phone during a cold winter storm, keep your phone in inside pockets closest to your body where they can absorb some of your body heat. Also, don’t leave your phone behind (i.e. in a parked card) if you don’t have to. If you do have to, turn the phone off instead of just putting it to sleep.
Make your gloves “smartphone ready.” Many cell phone and smartphone touchscreens depend on your body’s ability to conduct electricity to work, and wearing thick wool gloves will prevent the screen from registering your taps and pokes. Here’s a video tip that can help you stay connected with your touchscreen phone, even when wearing gloves.
(In a pinch, you can sometimes use the tip of your nose!)
Watch your phone’s battery life. When cold, a cell phone battery can drain faster than normal. It might say it has ample power remaining and then suddenly go dead. This problem should be only temporary and the battery should behave normally when the device is brought back up to warmer temperatures. If your phone does shut down, don’t restart it until you’re inside and it has warmed up. Restarting when it’s still cold can actually harm the battery.
Watch out for cracks in the glass. Freezing temperatures can also make a phone’s glass surfaces more sensitive to breakage, especially if there are already cracks in the glass.