As the UK continues to be gripped by an absolutely blistering heatwave, many of us will be looking to take advantage by getting out in the sun at every opportunity.
There is however, a catch. While you might love the sun, your phone probably doesn’t and if you’re not careful you could even do it some permanent damage.
In just the same way that exposing your phone to the extreme cold can cause it to slow down, even just keeping it in your pocket on a hot day could also be doing some damage.
You will almost certainly have noticed your phone get particularly hot when you carry out certain tasks such as recording video, using the navigation app or downloading large files.
The reason for this is that the more strain your put on the phone’s processor the harder it needs to work and this in turn creates heat. Lots of heat.
Even if you’re not doing one of these tasks though you will probably find your phone getting alarmingly warm if left out in the sun. This is a combination of the sun naturally heating it with the addition of the heat your phone naturally creates from just being on.
What happens when your phone overheats?
To understand what happens to your phone we need to differentiate between what happens when it gets too hot, and when it gets too cold.
When your phone gets too cold, the chemical reaction inside the battery naturally slows down (chemical reactions cause heat) which in turn will then shorten the battery life of your phone. Thankfully this is just temporary.
When your phone gets too hot however, several bad things happen at once. Firstly the phone’s processor will become incredibly strained, this will make it appear sluggish to use and could even cause it to malfunction.
Secondly the battery will overheat, something which can cause permanent damage to the phone. We’ve all seen those videos of phones which have warped because their batteries have expanded in the heat.
Thankfully, modern smartphones are pretty amazing pieces of technology so as long as you follow some sensible guidelines your phone will actually look after itself.
Most smartphones have a temperature regulation system which means that they will know when they’re getting too hot and react accordingly. On iPhones for example you might see the screen brightness go down, the flash on your camera will be disabled or in extreme cases the phone will shut down altogether with a warning.
You’ll then have to wait for the phone to cool down before you’ll be allowed to use it again.
Tips for keeping your phone cool
These might seem common sense but just keeping them in the back of your mind could make a big difference.
Don’t leave your phone on a seat or dashboard in the car, the temperature will always be hotter than outside and it could do permanent damage before you get back.
If it’s a really hot day don’t keep it in your pocket, you’re actually making things worse by throwing your own body heat into the mix.
Don’t leave it on an outside table or on the grass.
Don’t put it in the sand. For starters you run the risk of getting sand inside the phone and secondly sand can get incredibly hot on warm days.
Always try and keep it in the shade, even if it’s under a jumper or inside a shoe while you’re at the beach.
Try not to take long videos, play graphics-intensive games or download large files in direct sunlight. Your phone’s already hot, and the sun is just going to push it over the edge.