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Smartphone in summer: When it gets too hot for the smartphone

8. August 2023 Published by Jana Greyling

There is still no sun protection for smartphones, nor are there any cooling covers, and unlike black clothing, which is known to offer better sun protection than white, the colour or cover of the smartphone does not matter, whether white, black, red or purple, they all get equally hot in extreme heat. Especially in summer, when temperatures exceed 30 degrees, the devices are particularly at risk. A sunny day at the beach can be the last thing a smartphone experiences. In addition to the intense heat, sand and salt water can also attack the devices.

According to the industry association Bitkom, too much time in direct sunlight can damage sensitive components such as the battery and display. Possible consequences: reduced performance, shortened lifespan of the device or loss of data due to sudden shutdown. If the mobile phone gets hot in your hand or even displays an error message, it’s time to cool it down. But don’t put the smartphone in the fridge to cool it down. Nor does a dip in the pool or sea help.

Even though modern smartphones such as the two outdoor smartphones from Gigaset, the GX4 and GX6, have IP68 certification and are thus largely protected against dust, sand and water, they should not be taken into chlorine or salt water. Salt water in particular can cause short circuits in the electronics because of its electrically charged particles, the ions. In any case, it is primarily not the energy storage device, but the electronics around it that are damaged first by too much heat.

According to Bitkom, this is due to the vulnerability of semiconductors, the electronic circuits that are built into all devices. In hot conditions, for example, the display breaks down more quickly than the battery. Incidentally, the battery does not discharge much faster when it is hot. At least in modern smartphones, this is ensured by the battery management system. It reduces power consumption by deactivating functions that eat up battery power. The principle is similar to the power-saving mode. In extreme cases, the display or even the entire device switches off automatically to prevent heat damage. “If the mobile phone is left in the blazing sun for too long, sensitive components such as the battery and display can be damaged. Reduced performance, a shorter lifespan of the device or even data loss due to sudden shutdown can be the consequences,” says Dr Sebastian Klöß, Head of Consumer Technology at the digital association Bitkom.

To make sure this doesn’t happen, Bitkom gives six tips on how to keep your smartphone running well through the summer, even in high temperatures:

  1. avoid intensive use: Taking photos, navigating, communicating – the smartphone is a frequently used companion on holiday, but games and social media with graphic-intensive applications, location services or streaming and recording videos can put additional strain on the device. Therefore, it is better to do without it on holiday and switch off in the truest sense of the word.
  2. use flight mode: “If the smartphone is not being actively used, it is advisable to switch on flight mode. This deactivates the wireless connections, which reduces energy consumption and heat generation,” says Klöß.
  3. remove the protective cover: Whether made of plastic or metal – they protect against dust, sand and moisture, but can also mean that heat cannot escape properly. If the smartphone tends to heat up quickly, temporarily dispense with the protective cover.
  4. store your mobile phone correctly: The smartphone feels most comfortable at room temperature. However, it can quickly become hotter on the dashboard in the car or unprotected on a towel in the midday sun. The pocket of your trousers is also not recommended because of the additional body heat. The smartphone is best kept in a backpack or covered with a cloth, for example.
  5. Only charge the mobile phone when it is cool: Especially when it has already warmed up, the mobile phone should not be charged. “Since the battery develops its own heat, especially during fast charging, this can put additional strain on an already hot mobile phone,” says Klöß.
  6. Too late – smartphone already overheated? Close the apps, switch them off and leave it in the shade. But be careful not to put it in the fridge or freezer! Not only can extreme cold also damage the smartphone, the abrupt temperature difference can also cause condensation inside the device.

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