How to Protect Your Batteries in Winter

In some ways, you can think of batteries as being like people. They like to stay warm and be fed with lots of energy to keep their internal chemical reactions happy, and of course get lots of exercise. Just like it can sometimes be difficult to get your car started in winter, it’s also true that your phone battery won’t last as long in the colder months.

The science behind this phenomenon has to do with how batteries work. Batteries convert their stored chemical energy into electricity in order to power your devices. However, the cold temperature causes internal resistance that makes the whole conversion process less efficient, resulting is less effective capacity and longer charging times. Cell phone batteries are particularly vulnerable to this.

What happens to a cold phone, and what can we do about it?

Smartphones each have their own unique operating temperature ranges. For example, the iPhone 5s can withstand temperatures between -4°F and 113°F when powered off, and within a much narrower range when the power is on.

Apple recommends not operating iPhone in temperatures below freezing (32° F). Some other phones are rated for much lower temperatures, with some claiming that safe operation is possible in conditions as low as -4° F.

Sometimes smartphone batteries deplete rapidly in cold weather, and the phone itself may spontaneously power off.

“In the event that your phone does shut down, do not restart it until you’re inside and give your phone time to warm up. Restarting your phone immediately could cause more harm to your phone and actually shorten your battery life,” recommends Jeremy Kwaterski of CPR Cell Phone Repair.

It’s not just the battery, says Kwaterski. Smartphones are made up of other delicate electronic parts, like their LCD screens, which can malfunction in extreme temperatures. Cold temperatures can also bring damage the phone’s external casing, making it more sensitive to cracks and breaks.



Nice to know what happens and what to do when your smartphone is in the extreme cold. It’s also nice to know what temperature the iPhone 5s can withstand since I’m using one right now😁.


When I went to Iceland, it was so cold… so my phone automatically turned off…
I missed a lot of opportunities for shooting good photos.:joy:


Keep your phone in your pocket or coat. Simple tip

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My galaxy s5 shuts off after its -5, but my moto x pure was working still when it was -24 out.

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Another great article. Good information :slight_smile:

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I remember last year, while I was skiing that my iPhone didn’t recognize my finger for about an hour.
Obviously, in that hour, the most beautiful things to film had happened :joy:

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I’v noticed the finger print sensors are the first thing to stop working on phones due to the cold. I use my phone in below freezing temps regularly throughout the winter. The metal cased phones like the Pixel are more prone to “cold” than the plastic cased phones in my experience, and it’s how cold the actual phone is, rather than the ambient temp that is the problem.
Out in minus -5°C-ish I’ve had my phone temp down as low as 5.2 °C according to ampere. The finger print sensor didn’t work, but the phone was fine in all other respects. Although the battery does discharge quicker, which I think is why Ampere was struggling to read it. The phone was almost too cold to hold in bare hands because of the metal body!

My Advice? Keep your phone close to your skin in cold weather to keep battery drain at a more normal rate!

(My phone temp normally sits around 25-30°C)

I have trouble with the fingerprint sensor a lot in the winter because my skin is dry. Sometimes I have to put lotion on to use my phone.

I went to see one of the NFL playoffs this weekend (Go Steelers!) and the high for the day was 18F. I noticed my phone’s screen was definitely reacting slower, and my buddy’s phone shut off randomly just as this article described. Unfortunately, keeping the phones in our pocket still did not keep them warm enough. We ended up holding our heating packets up against our phones to keep them warm. :smile:


My team Greenbay was out when rogers broke his collar bone so steelers were my backup team, I just wish they had won.

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Thank you for the valuable information! great article!!:blush:


Wow, never realized this till now

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Very interesting article. I remember how frustrating that iPhone X bug was when it froze up and wouldn’t respond.

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That’s awesome to know! I wondered why sometimes my phone would just turn off while I was running in the winter! Now I know. It was with an old Samsung galaxy S4.

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This is a really neat article! I had never thought about how cold weather affects batteries. I, as well as most of you, have seen the alert a phone has given when it is too hot outside. Namely, an iPhone will say something like it needs to cool down before it can be used.

I lived in Michigan and never saw a too cold alert, but I imagine that if I would have been holding it outside instead of rushing to get inside because it was cold I may have experienced a sudden shut down.

Whoa, I did not think about this. What about laptops too? Because I know sometimes I pick it up and it is really cold, is that damaging too? I will keep this in mind for my phones that I have in the house. Thank you for this article, very useful!

Essential article for everyone on the northern countries. I learned my lesson after having an iPhone 5 die on me several times during its first winter in Canada. I tried to turn it on while still outside, only to have it die again shortly after, and my battery was never the same. Silver lining, tough, that’s how I got to know Anker!

Now I know better, on top of always having my trusted Anker powerbank with me, I try to minimize the phone use outside when it’s really cold, and keep my battery topped as much as possible.

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Humidity can be a concern you sweat all the time even when cold and if under layers of clothing the humidity would be high. The water vapor physically inside the phone, which is vapor when next you as its warm, would then condense inside the phone when you took the phone out and it began to cool. The air outside is naturally drier when cold as when that air was cooled it got rid of its water (rain, snow) and then when that cold air is warmed up it becomes very low humidity - so when you visit cold places usually cracked lips occur.

Warm, yes but not next to skin warm, more coat pocket warm.

Here in USA I travel and have to cover daily change from 70F to 10F in winter. In extreme situations i make heavy use of BT buds and a smartwatch. Good example use case needing of good voice recognition on BT buds.