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CAN AN iPHONE HANDLE EXTREME COLD TEMPERATURES?

Date: Apr 22, 2013
Weather that Gives You Popsicle Toes Could Freeze Your Talk Time.

Global warming seems to be causing colder and more extreme winters. Go figure. But, no matter what's happening to our climate over the long haul, in the short term cold temperatures can cause major iPhone problems.

If you're wondering whether or not your iPhone can handle extreme cold temperatures, there are two points to consider. First, how cold is ‘cold’? Second, are you talking about using or storing your phone? Here's the way it breaks down:

1. Extreme cold. For a Dolphins fan in Miami, sitting at a home game in December when the temperature dips down into the 50s might be considered extreme cold. For a Cheesehead in Green Bay, that would be downright balmy. Apple specs call out two important cold temperatures: -4º F and 32º F. Most of us would probably agree that -4º F is fairly extreme by almost any measure. However, we might argue about 32º F and this brings us to the second major point:

2. Storage vs functionality. Apple says that iPhones can be stored in temperatures down to -4º F. However, the company doesn't recommend using the iPhone at temperatures below 32º F – and even areas in Florida and California can dip down that low during the occasional cold snap.

To get back to our original question of how well the iPhone handles extreme cold temperatures, if you're talking about surviving storage, the device handles the situation pretty well. If you're talking about chatting on your iPhone, it doesn't score such high marks. Some third party testing noted that sim cards started to report errors at 32º F. When the mercury dropped to 14º F, testers found that the iPhone shut down due to a "dead battery."

This may not be a major problem for most users. But when a couple of reporters for TV station WTOP were checking out an ice sculpture show at a hotel in Forest Heights, Maryland their iPhones conked out while touring the 17º F display area.

Maybe Apple needs to shanghai some Finnish engineers from Nokia. You'd think that the Scandinavian company would have some excellent experience designing phones for cold weather. And, if you do take your iPhone into arctic temperatures, rewarm it slowly afterwards to avoid permanent damage. And, when navigating snowy or icy pathways, make sure your iPhone is in a LifeProof case. The shockproof, snow proof and waterproof protection will prove invaluable.

Here's the summary:

• iPhones are sensitive to the cold
• Don't operate an iPhone below 32º F
• Don't store an iPhone below -4º F
• Warm cold iPhones slowly
• Protect against wet snow and spills with a LifeProof iPhone case