Like anyone else who hasn’t been hibernating for the past three months, I am absolutely and completely over this winter weather. We’ve crossed over from a lovely white Christmas to a seemingly never-ending cycle of ice, snow, and meteorological nonsense. And with the groundhog predicting six more weeks of Mother Nature’s wrath, there are some things you should be thinking about when it comes to colder temperatures and your gadgets.

A few different things can happen when you expose your device to subzero temperatures. The battery life of your phone is dramatically reduced, draining more quickly than in warmer conditions. And even if the indicator says you still have battery life left, the phone could instantly go dead without warning. So if you’re going to be out for an extended period of time, make sure you have a full charge. It might also be a good idea to have some sort of external battery pack on-hand in addition to your normal charging cables.

That touchscreen that seems to crack when you stare at it too hard is even more fragile when winter weather is around. Screens become extremely brittle in colder temps, and may be less responsive to touch so you might notice a slower response time. Keeping your phone in a case helps, as well as keeping it as close as possible to your body. A coat pocket is a much better option than a purse or briefcase, and you should never leave your smartphone in the car, especially overnight.

Condensation becomes a potential problem when temperatures dip below freezing as well. If you’re not going to be using it, turn your smartphone off completely when heading out into brisk weather. Once you’re back inside, your device shouldn’t be turned on and used immediately after extended outdoor exposure either. Give the phone a few minutes to warm up to room temperature to avoid any liquid damage to the screen or other internal components.

If you consider the fact that 91% of adults own a smartphone, it’s easy to see that they have become an integral part of how we live and communicate. So don’t let a polar vortex ruin the device that keeps you connected to the outside world. Taking a few simple precautions will keep you chatting away until spring!

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