How To Winterproof Your Phone & Protect Your Device In Cold Weather

At some point between the months of June and August, you probably received a heat warning on your mobile device asking you to allow it to cool down before resuming use. It's no surprise that overheating can damage you mobile device, but did you know that the dropping temperatures of winter can take a toll as well? Learning how to winterproof your phone will help prolong your mobile device’s lifespan, so you can send those important texts all year round.

Fun fact: Smartphones actually do have an optimal operating temperature. According to Apple, the ideal ambient temperature at which to operate your device lies between zero and 35 degrees Celsius (32 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit). "Low- or high-temperature conditions might cause the device to change its behavior to regulate its temperature," Apple's support page notes. While using your phone at either end of this spectrum will not instantly ruin your device, it may trigger one of the automatic safeguards put in place to protect the device, and render you momentarily phone-less: According to Apple, for example, "Using an iOS device in very cold conditions outside of its operating range might temporarily shorten battery life and could cause the device to turn off. Battery life will return to normal when you bring the device back to higher ambient temperatures."

In an emergency situation this battery drain is less than ideal, so it's important to know how to properly care for your device in the winter. Take these steps to winterproof your phone, and you'll never be stopped by a little bit of snow again!

Use a Phone Case That Offers Thermal Protection

Salt Cases

During the coldest months of winter, we wrap ourselves in hats, coats, boots, and gloves as protection from the elements. As it turns out, that same logic should be applied to our phones, too. Dress your device appropriately for the weather by keeping it warm and dry with the right case. Whether you are shoveling snow or going ice skating, there is a case out there for you.

A few brands currently on the market specifically offer thermal protection, such as the stylish Salt Case, which tackles heat transfer to maintain your phone's starting temperature. Another excellent option is the super thin Optimal thermal sleeve (currently crowdfunding on IndieGoGo), which monitors your phone's temperature and protects its lithium ion battery and outer shell with a range of complex hardware. For those who enjoy winter sports, the rugged Snow Lizard case offers heavy-duty waterproofing and drop-proof protection; additionally, as constant cold temperature will shorten battery life, solar panels offer a charge boost.

Keep The Battery Charged


Battery drain is a common side effect of cold weather. Make sure your phone is fully charged before heading out into freezing temperatures to combat the possible rapid decrease of battery power. It's also helpful to have a backup power source handy — or even a case with a built-in charger or portable power bank — to make sure you are always prepared in an emergency situation.

Should your phone give you a low temperature warning or shut off by itself, don't panic. Do not not try and restart it immediately or warm it up too quickly, or you could risk long-term damage. Instead, keep it in a warm place (like your pocket) until the internal temp adjusts; then you can resume use. "In the event that your phone does shut down, do not restart it until you're inside and give time for your phone to warm up," CPR Cell Phone Repair's Jeremy Kwaterski told CNN in 2014. "Restarting your phone immediately could actually cause more harm to your phone and actually shorten your battery life."

Turn The Phone Off In Freezing Temperatures


Cold weather and smartphones do not mix well. Plunging temps can damage the delicate circuitry inside the device, so it's important not to push your phone too far during the winter. When your phone is turned off, it can take a lot more abuse than when it's switched on. iPhones can be stored at temperatures ranging from as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit to upwards of 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Those in cold climates will want to switch their devices off when not in use when the temperature dips bellow 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Keep The Phone Covered When Outside

Kristin Vogt/Pexels

This may seem obvious, but the more time you can keep your phone in your pocket or out of the snow, the better. Typing a text with gloves on is frustrating, but the best way to ensure that your phone stays in perfect working order is to shield in from the elements. The screen could be more sensitive to breaks in the cold weather, so just like you wouldn't leave your phone baking in the sun or roasting in a hot car, do not leave it lying in the snow or in a freezing car.

Follow these tips, and you'll be able to Instagram that snowman without fail!