With winter in full force in the Northern Hemisphere, you may be bundling yourself up with coats, hats and gloves, but be sure to take care of your tech too. Cold weather can be detrimental to your smartphones, laptops and tablets. Winter can also make life for difficult for you. Follow these tech tips to prepare for winter weather and make life easier for you and your tech.
You may realize that leaving your tech in a hot car in the summer isn’t good, but cold can have an impact on your tech as well. Also, check out apps that help you deal with wintry weather. Find out how you and your tech can help each other survive and thrive in the cold!
The Impact of Cold Weather on Phones
Severe cold can take a toll on your electronics. A study done by PC World in Finland tested mobile phones at temperatures below 32°F/0°C. The study, conducted last year, tested 15 different cell phones, including the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy SII.
The iPhone started showing signs of trouble at 23°F/-5°C, failing to recognize the SIM card. At 14°F/-10°C, the iPhone battery drained to zero and the phone shut down completely.
Most phones had problems by -4°F/-20°C. The Samsung Galaxy SII was the best of the bunch, functioning down to -31°F/-35°C.
You can read the full report on the study at PC World Sub-Zero Weather: Can Your Smartphone Stand The Cold?
What You Can Do to Protect Your Phone
Cold temperatures can cause your cell phone battery to drain more quickly. As shown in the PC World study, the lower the temperature, the more quickly cell phone batteries will drain. If you’ll be traveling in cold weather, keep your phone battery charged with a car charger. Keep a spare phone battery handy in case you get stranded.
Cold weather can make your screen more brittle and prone to cracking. Keeping your phone warm and covering it with a case and screen protector can help protect your screen.
Keep your phone as warm as possible. Don’t leave your phone in your car overnight. Carry your phone in an inner coat pocket and use a Bluetooth headset to talk on the phone.
By keeping your cell phone warm, you’ll help make sure that your phone is available to use when you need it.
Apps to Help You Deal with Winter
Keeping your phone warm will help keep it safe and usable. These apps help you deal with cold weather, helping to minimize disruptions to your life.
When the weather is bad you may need to wake up early to shovel your driveway or clear ice from your windshield. Winter Wake-Up is a free app that will wake you up when the winter weather hits. You can program the app to wake you up at the normal time if the weather is good and at an earlier time, up to 60 minutes earlier, if the weather is bad.
The app allows you to have separate wake up times for frost and snow. The app even has a setting that turns off the alarm so you can sleep in if the weather is too bad. Note that “too bad” probably depends greatly on your latitude. “Too bad” might be different in Alaska than in Alabama.
The app uses your Internet connection to check the local weather report. Your phone must be on for the app to work.
Winter Wake-Up is currently unavailable.
Winter Survival Kit
Winter can present unique dangers and the Winter Survival Kit is designed to help keep you safe. This free app is designed to help you survive in severe weather conditions. The app provides advice on what to do if you’re stranded in your car in the snow. You can set up the app to alert friends and family if you’re stuck. The app uses GPS to determine your location and call emergency services.
The app also has a gas calculator to estimate how long you can run your car before you run out of fuel. Every thirty minutes the app reminds you to check your tailpipe to make sure it isn’t clogged with snow so you can avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Winter Survival Kit is free in the iTunes App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and at Google Play for Android devices. Note that the calling feature will only work with the iPhone and that Internet connection is required for many of the features to work.
SkyMotion is an app that will let you know the chance of precipitation within the next few hours. I first reviewed SkyMotion back in October, SkyMotion – Never Get Caught in the Rain Again! but now that winter is upon us, SkyMotion’s ability to predict the weather locally becomes even more important. If you’re looking for information about when a storm will hit or when snow will stop falling, SkyMotion may be your best source for that data.
SkyMotion gives you real-time hyper local weather predictions telling you what is going to happen within the next two hours. This app is securely nestled on my iPhone home screen and has been extremely accurate in predicting the local weather in my area.
This video shows you SkyMotion in action:
SkyMotion is available as a free app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch at the iTunes App Store and for Android devices at Google Play. The app is now available for Windows Phones at the Windows Phone Store. SkyMotion is also available free online through the SkyMotion website.
Winter weather can be tough on your and your electronics. Protect your devices and make the most of winter with these tech tips!
Do you live in a climate that is cold in the winter? Do you protect your tech from cold weather? Do you use apps to deal with winter weather? Do you have any winter weather tech tips? Let us know in the Comments section below!
* Snow image by Luigi Torreggiani