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6 Easy Ways to Keep Your Phone Safe in the Summer Heat

3 minute read

Summer is most definitely here, and while that means warm evenings and walks on the beach or in the park, it also means your phone might be at risk of heat damage.

Extreme temperatures can have a big impact on your phone’s internal components. A phone getting too hot can cause data loss or corruption, and repeated exposure to heat could permanently slow down your device. Heat can even cause battery leakage, potentially putting your personal safety in danger.

With that in mind, here’s a list of six easy steps you can take to protect your phone when the temperature starts rising.

Take your phone out of your pocket

On a hot day, you shouldn’t keep your phone in your pocket if you want it to cool down. Not only is it unpleasant, but your natural body heat will work against the cooling process. Just like while charging, you’re better off putting your in a shaded position away from insulating materials. In a worst-case scenario, an overheated phone’s battery can start to leak or catch fire, putting you at serious risk.

Stop using your phone, or put it in airplane mode

It’s not just external temperature that can cause a phone to overheat. If you’re playing games or making lots of calls, your phone will be working harder and generating more heat as it does. Combined with warm surrounding temperatures, this can lead to overheating. To help your phone cool down, put it in airplane mode and stop using processor-intensive apps like games — or better yet, stop using it altogether for a while.

Don’t leave your phone in the car

A car acts like a greenhouse on a hot day — one recent study found that a car parked in the sun on a 95 degree day can reach temperatures of 116 degrees in just one hour. Apple recommends not to use an iPhone when it’s above 95 degrees, and says you shouldn’t store it anywhere higher than 113 degrees. Other smartphone manufacturers recommend similar steps. (Hot cars are, of course, also a threat to people and pets.)

Don’t charge your phone in direct sunlight

As you’ve probably experienced, charging your phone can cause it to heat up. If you leave your phone in direct sunlight while it’s charging, the heat from the sun will add to the normal heat that’s a side-effect of the electricity transfer to your phone’s battery. That can cause the phone to heat up far more than it normally would.

Don’t charge your phone under your pillow

For the same reason, you shouldn’t leave your phone under any kind of pillow, blanket or other warming material. On a hot day, the heat given off by a charging phone can climb to dangerous levels if it’s not allowed to dissipate efficiently. Make sure to charge your phone in the shade, preferably on a hard, cool surface.

Don’t put your phone in the freezer if it gets too hot

Rapid temperature shifts are also bad for your phone. One reason for this is condensation: water is more likely to become trapped inside your phone, causing problems, if you put it somewhere like a freezer when it’s very hot. A better bet is to turn off your phoen and leave it in a cool area for a while so it returns to room temperature at a more natural rate.

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Write to Billy Perrigo at billy.perrigo@time.com