What the Tech? Heat and Smartphones

(ABC 6 News) – How hot is too hot to use a smartphone? Surprisingly, according to Apple, it is just 95 degrees. That’s what the company says its iPhone is built to operate most efficiently. What happens if you use an iPhone or Android device when it’s even hotter?

Namely, high temperatures will damage the smartphone battery.

If you’ve ever left an iPhone in a car and ran inside for a few minutes you probably looked to see a warning that the phone is too hot and needs to shut down. When that happens it’s best to take the following steps:
• Bring the phone inside and away from the heat.
• If you keep your phone in a protective case, remove it.
• Let the phone reach room temperature until the warning screen goes away.
• Turn off the phone and let it cool for an hour or so.
• Do not attempt to cool a phone more quickly by putting it in the refrigerator. When the phone is removed from the cold, condensation can form inside and damage the electronics.

There are a few things that cause smartphones to reach a higher temperature than the air around them. If you’re using the phone outside in hot weather to play games, watch videos, taking and share photos and videos, that will heat up the phone because it is processing information constantly.

If you’re going to be out in the heat and can’t turn it off completely, here are a few things you can do to keep it from shutting down:
• Keep the phone away from direct sunlight in your car. If it’s sitting in the passenger seat, the phone can overheat by direct sunlight even if the AC is on.
• If you’re outside on an extremely hot day, do not keep the phone in your pocket as your body heat can cause the phone to overheat more rapidly. • Keeping the phone under a beach towel or blanket might protect it from the sun’s rays but it will not keep the phone from overheating.

A few instances when the phone overheats may not damage the phone itself but it will lessen the life expectancy of the battery. If you upgrade to a new phone every year that might not be a concern but if you typically keep the same phone for 3-4 years you will begin to notice that the phone’s battery doesn’t make it through the day.