Why Do iPhones Suddenly Die in the Cold?

Winter has come bringing forth another tide of agitation among iPhone owners: how their gadgets will perform in cold weather? Why do they have to watch thermometer rules iPhone battery? Yes, it is annoying but still, are there any chances to avoid cold weather battery problems?

Yes, iPhones do die in the cold, it’s a fact. But what is it – designers fault or inevitable evil? Let’s have a closer look at this issue.

All new iPhones use a type of battery called Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery or Li-Pol. Everybody knows that Li-Ion has been the most common technology that can be found in our rechargeable devices, but where “Polymer” came from?

Polymer means that instead of liquid electrolyte dry solid polymer is utilized. The result is a “plastic” cell, which theoretically could be thin, flexible, without risk of electrolyte leakage. However, this technology has not been fully developed and commercialized yet. So, currently “polymer” refers more to a “polymer casing” rather than a “polymer electrolyte”. The electrolyte is still present in the form of gel-like mass received through the use of polymer additive.

Using polymer has certain advantages: batteries have very low profile, flexible form factor, decreased weight, improved safety and lower production costs – very good reasons for manufacturers to make use of them. Users enjoy more flexible recharging process: Li-Pol battery charges fairly quickly and doesn’t need to be completely depleted before recharging.

But the same polymer is to blame for users’ cold weather battery problems. Low temperature affects polymer physical properties resulting in increased internal resistance and diminished storage capacity. That causes fast-paced drop of battery level. Furthermore, since battery meter is calibrated for warm environment, its readings are becoming unreliable in the cold. This is the reason for unexpected iPhone switching off despite another 30% of charge is displayed.

There is also some good news: this is not manufacturers’ conspiracy, and if you take a look at battery specifications you will see straightforward notice saying that recommended working temperature range is 0-35°C. Manufacturer warns: if a battery happens to be exposed to lower temperature this can lead to a decrease in battery life, but this condition is temporary. Once the battery’s temperature returns to its normal operating range, its performance will return to normal as well.

Thus, iPhone cold weather battery problems do not have to be a major concern; going beyond maximum storage temperature (45°C) might cause much greater damage to your device. Yes, in theory, but what if battery dies in the most inappropriate moment (everybody knows how perfectly well Murphy’s laws work)?

Here are some tips that can help avoiding unexpected and unwanted iPhone failure in cold weather conditions:

  1. Use phone case.
  2. Keep your iPhone close to your body when you go out in cold weather i.e. in the inner pocket.
  3. Take portable iPhone charger with you.
  4. Do not charge your iPhone immediately after you are back in from the cold – let it reach room temperature first.
  5. Do not allow condensation occur inside your iPhone body.

Forewarned, forearmed, iPhone cold weather battery problem is not something cannot be avoided. Keep in mind that the problem exists, follow above recommendations and you will not be taken by surprise.

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