By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It turns out that we have something in common with our cellphones: We both don’t like the extreme cold!

Apple even recommends keeping iPhones in above-freezing temperatures. Anything below 32 degrees can hurt your charge.

We brought one phone outside and kept one phone inside for 20 minutes. The inside phone didn’t lose any battery life, but the poor phone we made go out in the elements lost five percent.

“The battery is not frozen at that point. It’s basically slowed down to the point where it’s just not operating,” said Kyle Opdahl, CEO of Cell Phone Repair. “You really start to notice it at about 10 below.”

Cellphone batteries produce energy like this: There is a positive electrode and a negative electrode. They live in a solvent with lithium ions that allows the electrodes to interact.

cold cellphone How Does The Cold Kill Batteries?

(credit: CBS)

When it gets cold, that solvent becomes thicker. It puts up more resistance and slows the battery down. The same thing happens in your car.

“I would recommend always keeping it close to body heat,” Opdahl said. “Leave it inside of a glove, inside of a hat.”

Or, perish the thought, wait until you get back inside to call or text.

Opdahl says your phone is not damaged when it shuts off due to the cold.

“If it dies, it’s basically in hibernation mode,” he said. “Bring it inside, set it somewhere warm. You know, don’t put it on a radiator or a heater. Don’t put it next to fireplace, don’t use a blow dryer. Let it get back to room temperature.”

And then just wait, and think about how we ever managed without cellphones.

Opdahl also recommends not charging your phone right away when you get back into a warm environment — that could cause a short in the battery.


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