Ever left your phone in the car and come back to find it’s overheated and doesn’t work properly?
Ever just left it exposed to the sunlight for half an hour of blistering heat?
If you have, you probably found out the hard way — as I did — that smartphones aren’t made for sunbathing.
This can be frustrating — and unnerving if it’s the first time — if you need your phone right away.
I’ve experienced both extremes.
In an unusually cold winter, while biking in Washington, DC, I was using my mounted phone to navigate. It was pitch dark, and DC is not primarily known for its well-lit side streets. Being from Florida, I tended to overdress in the slightest cold. So, when the temperature dropped to 14 degrees (-10 C), I barely noticed it while moving.
I was about a mile and a half from my destination when my fully-charged phone shut off. I tried plugging it into a portable charger, but that didn’t help. So, I had to stop for a freezing 15 minutes until I warmed my phone up enough in my jacket pocket to turn it on.
Apple recommends keeping its phones between 32 degrees and 95 degrees (0–35 C), and other makes are similar. In most of the United States, temperatures regularly reach 95 (35 C) or higher in the summer and drop below freezing in the winter.
Most people are smart enough to not expose their phone to extreme cold as I did. But it’s actually less dangerous if your phone shuts off from the cold. Extreme heat can cause permanent battery damage. Plus, plugging it into a power source doesn’t damage a frigid battery like doing so could with an overheated battery.
So much of our lives revolve around the smartphone that remembering to charge one’s phone has become as much a part of general etiquette as showing up on time. But a good charge can’t protect it from out-of-bounds temperatures.
A phone can experience overheating even in a cool car if it’s exposed directly to sunlight. This is frustrating if you need your phone to make a call or look up something right now.
It turns out, there is a quick fix.
If your phone shuts off from overheating, simply hold down the power button and the down (-) volume button together for about 10–15 seconds.
It worked for me on an overheated phone. Unfortunately, I found this out years after my phone shut off from the cold. I haven’t exposed my phone to frigid temperatures since — nor do I plan to. But I’m sure the same method would work in that situation too.
It’s best never to expose a phone to temperatures outside of that 32 (0) — 95 (35) window. But thankfully there is an emergency fix if we need our phone quickly after being irresponsible.
Originally published on Medium