winter, phone
Getty Images

You Asked: How Can I Save My Phone's Battery When it's Cold Out?

Jan 29, 2015

If you've ever had a hunch your phone's charge doesn't last as long in the wintertime, you're not crazy: Cold temperatures have a nasty effect on batteries.

The scientific explanation for this lies in how batteries work. Basically, their job is to store chemical energy until you need them to power or charge your device. Then they go about converting that chemical energy into electrical energy. However, cold weather causes internal resistance, slowing down the conversion process and resulting in less overall capacity. The kinds of batteries used in most phones are particularly vulnerable to this effect.

Translation? Just like wintertime makes it harder to get your car to start, your phone won't last as long in cold weather. However, all is not lost — there are some ways to keep your phone as warm and happy as a skier sipping hot cocoa after a day on the slopes.

First, keep your phone as close to your body as you can. Take it out of your backpack or purse and stick it in your jeans or, better yet, in the inside pocket of an insulated base layer. That'll help your body heat keep things warm. Second, consider picking up an insulated case. These can be a little on the bulky side, but it's better to have a cumbersome case than a dead phone.

And finally, avoid taking your phone out in really frigid temperatures — the ambient air will suck out your phone's heat quicker than you can send a text to Mom.

The 15 Most Bizarre Moments From the Consumer Electronics Show

A brand ambassador tests Samsung's Gear VR headset at the Samsung Galaxy booth at the International CES on Jan. 6, 2015, in Las Vegas.
A brand ambassador tests Samsung's Gear VR headset at the Samsung Galaxy booth on Jan. 6, 2015.Jae C. Hong—AP
A brand ambassador tests Samsung's Gear VR headset at the Samsung Galaxy booth at the International CES on Jan. 6, 2015, in Las Vegas.
Frank Lee, Brand Marketing for LG Electronics MobileComm USA, demonstrates the enhanced selfie feature on the new LG G Flex 2 mobile phone on press day for the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas on Jan. 5, 2015.
Attendees lay on Serta mattresses at the Serta stand on Jan. 6, 2015 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Joe Clayton, CEO of Dish, arrives on stage banging a bass drum followed by company mascots during the Dish news conference at the International Consumer Electronics show (CES) in Las Vegas on Jan. 5, 2015.
A transparent TRW model car is seen during the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Jan. 6, 2015.
At the 'Unveiled-event' a young woman has a look at salad at the CES electronics and consumer technology tradeshow in Las Vegas on Jan. 4, 2015.
The drone'Nano' from 'Zano' on Jan. 8, 2015.
Attendees interact with wity screens that run on Intel's Realsense technology on Jan. 6, 2015.
An attendee wears Altspace Virtual Reality head ware on Jan. 6, 2014.
Sony Electronics President and COO Mike Fasulo displays the Sony 4K Action Cam at a press event on Jan. 5, 2015.
Consumer Electronics Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro exits a Mercedes-Benz F 015 autonomous driving automobile after it was unveiled at a Mercedes-Benz press event on Jan. 5, 2015.
A display shows Panasonic's virtual make-up mirror at a Panasonic news conference on Jan. 5 , 2015.
Selfie sticks of the company 'Noosy' displayed on Jan. 8, 2015.
World freediving champion Stig Severinsen holds his breathe underwater for a total of 5 minutes, 35 secs to demonstrate the functionality and accuracy of the Masimo SET pulse oximetry device on Jan. 8, 2015.
Workers install an advertisement for a new S'UHD TV from Samsung Electronics on the side of the Las Vegas Convention Center on Jan. 4, 2015.
A brand ambassador tests Samsung's Gear VR headset at the Samsung Galaxy booth on Jan. 6, 2015.
Jae C. Hong—AP
1 of 15
All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.