Measuring the temperature outside in snow

5 Ways to Protect your Tech from the Cold

How to keep your mobile devices warm and safe from the winter elements

The best way to avoid cold winter weather damage to your mobile devices is to avoid these environmental conditions altogether. But who can resist sending some snowy Snaps or going live on Facebook during an epic day on the sledding hill?

There are several risks when your smartphone, tablet or laptop is exposed to low temperatures (below 32 degrees Fahrenheit). Subzero temperatures affect the molecular structure of materials, making them more brittle. If you fumble trying to retrieve a phone out of a coat pocket with gloves on, it will be more susceptible to breaking or shattering when it hits the ground. The cold also reduces conductivity, hampering touchscreen capabilities. The device’s battery life can also be prematurely or permanently shortened.

Following are a few suggestions to protect your device from winter weather.

Woman using cell phone outside in snow

1. Don’t leave devices in your car on cold days
It’s best to avoid leaving your laptop, tablet or phone in the car when it’s severely cold. While avoiding this situation is the best option, there are a couple of things you can do to try and avoid damage. If you carry a winter safety kit, wrap your tablet or entire briefcase in the safety blanket. No blanket? Sweaters or anything else that can provide insulation is better than nothing. Make sure the devices are powered off (not just hibernating), then wait until they warm up again before trying to turn them on. Restarting a phone or other device when cold can harm or destroy the battery.

It’s best to take your smart phone along with you in an inside pocket, so your body heat can keep the phone warm.

2. Protect the screen
Some smartphones have screens protected by Gorilla glass. For tablets and older smartphones, buy a rigid tempered glass screen protector. For a few bucks (a tablet protector can be purchased for $8, including shipping), you could prevent the cost of a screen replacement in the event of a cold weather drop.

3. Carry a backup power source
A large battery brick is likely to be a little more resilient than your phone’s relatively small battery. If you’re faced with a long winter car trip, traveling with a backup power source may save your life in an emergency.

4, Avoid the fumble and drop
Use touch gloves or a stylus to access phone features without taking off gloves. Keep your phone out the shortest time possible, then return it to an inside pocket or take it indoors to warm up.

5. Use an insulating case
Insulated cases are available for phones, tablets, laptops, even cameras. Some cases uses thermal layering technology to tackle the issues of heat transfer, radiation and conduction for cold and hot temperature extremes. Before you buy, do your research. Some cases offer too much coverage—enough to degrade the phone sound and picture quality.

Think of your mobile device as a fragile little life with a battery for a heart, and protect it from the elements as you would other things you love.

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