Keeping Your Tech Safe in the Winter

While many of us will be spending the next few months curled up inside with hot drinks, cozy blankets and big books or a show to binge watch, many of you will be heading outside to take in winter sports and fun.

Back in June, we warned you to keep your tech cool so your devices don’t over heat in the hot summer sun.  We have a similar warning for you now - don’t let your tech get too cold in the winter.  Your tech does not like to be out in weather below freezing. If you do plan on having it on you in lower temps, it is best to keep it in a zipped pocket or as close to your body as possible to keep the device warm.  Don’t leave your devices in the car overnight or even for a few hours.  Freezing temps can cause problems with your device’s battery and screen.

If your phone gets too cold, your battery will start to drain faster than normal or your device can go dead even if you have ample power.  If you want to keep your device on you but don’t need to have it on, you should turn your device off, not just put it to sleep. If your device has gotten too cold, you’ll want to wait until it’s warmed up to room temp before you turn it on. If you turn it on while it’s still frozen, you run the risk of condensation forming inside your device causing water damage.

Freezing temperatures can make the screens on your devices more likely to break, especially on your smartphone.  Keeping your phone in a protective case and warm will protect your screen should you drop your phone.  The protective cases will also help against water damage, just like we advised in our summer post.  Many snow sport websites recommend cases or pouches that have a lanyard so you can wear it around your neck and lessen the risk of dropping it while on the ski lift.  There are even special cases that will keep your phone warm that use materials NASA developed for the space program!

Now what if you need to use your phone while out in the cold?  There are a few options besides pulling off your glove or mitten.  My preferred choice is a pair of touch-screen friendly gloves.  These special gloves use conductive threads and materials when constructing the pointer finger and sometimes even the thumbs of the gloves.  These materials conduct the small electric charge between your finger and the screen that allows the touch screen to work.  Another option is a stylus. These are made from similar material used in the gloves, and make using your smart devices easier both when you are wearing and not wearing gloves.  Your third option is to use your nose but it’s not easy (yes I tried it).

Now that your device is protected, what about listening to your music or podcasts while out in the cold? In all my research, it was mentioned that your headphones should be safe in the cold weather.  But what about when you’re faced with the choice of headphones or ear muffs? You can solve this problem by getting a pair of headphone ear muffs. They range from cheap wired ones, to expensive Bluetooth ones with designer names, but all will play your music and keep your ears warm while you are out having fun, walking the dog or shoveling your walkways.

- Amelia R., Information Technology