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How to keep your smartphone cool during the hot summer months

Google Pixel outside
Google Pixel outside (Image credit: Android Central)

Summer is all about streaming the hits of year's past and shooting a bounty of selfies. But while you're out doing that, remember to keep tabs on how hot your smartphone becomes while you're having fun.

The warmer weather months don't offer a friendly climate for electronics, and the heat can actually be hazardous to overall device health. Here are a few tips to keep your smartphone cool for the summer.

Don't leave the phone in the car

Maxboost Car Mount

Source: MaxboostGrab one of these if you need to tend to use turn-by-turn directions, in your car, during the hot summer months. (Image credit: Source: Maxboost)

There's a reason why it's illegal in some areas to leave your child or a pet behind in a hot car (I mean, it should be illegal everywhere). Even with the windows cracked a bit, cars are effectively giant metal and glass incubators. It's also why you shouldn't leave your smartphone behind.

Overall, it's best to pre-plan where you'll put things before you get into the vehicle. If you're driving long distances, for example, grab a magnetic car mount to keep the phone affixed to the air conditioning vent as you're using turn-by-turn directions. If you have to leave the phone in the car for safety reasons, try storing it in the trunk instead. That's the part of the car with the least "greenhouse gas" effect (link is a PDF), and believe it or not it's generally one of the coolest spots in a parked vehicle.

Another rule I abide by is to never leave any gadgets in the glove compartment, even if I'm streaming music, and my phone is connected to the auxiliary cable located inside. Glove boxes are hot enough to melt the cassette tapes of yore, and unless you've got an air conditioning vent located inside, it's definitely hot enough to toast your newer electronic devices.

Turn off what you don't need

Bluetooth, LTE, Wi-Fi, and GPS — if you don't need these things while you're out and about, turn them off. That will ensure your phone isn't working in overtime in your purse or pocket while you're out gallivanting in sun-stroked gardens. It'll also be a boon for battery life, which you'll want considering how much warmer a smartphone gets when it's plugged in for a charge.

Take off the case

Google Pixel no case

Source: Android CentralDon't bother with a case in the hot summer months. It'll just make things hotter. (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

You wouldn't wear layers in the hot summer heat, right? There is no need to pile them on top of your smartphone, either. If you're in need of a case because you're engaging in outdoor activities, put the phone inside an Otterbox (opens in new tab) or similarly rugged case and keep the screen off during your excursion.

Keep devices separate

I don't live in a humid climate or the desert, so I've never had this sort of issue. But if you're walking around with several devices clustered in a bag or backpack and the air is positively thick with heat, be sure that they're powered off and kept in separate compartments. This gives all the metal things on your shoulder a little room to breathe as the world outside bakes everything else.

Don't put it in the fridge

Google Pixel fridge

Source: Android CentralA strange practice that isn't worth practicing at all. (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

I used to do this with my MacBook Air until I was scolded for doing so. According to Gazelle (opens in new tab), a site where you can sell your old gadgets, cooling your gadgets too rapidly could actually damage the inside components.

Don't cool it too fast. If your phone overheats, your initial reaction is going to be to rush it to the coldest place you can find. However, rushing the cooling process can cause condensation to get trapped on the inside of the devices and inevitably, water damage.

Whoa! The best thing to do if you feel like your device is too hot is to slowly cool it down by turning it off completely and leaving it alone for a while. You should also unseat the battery pack, if it's removable, and definitely place the phone away from direct sunlight.

What are your tricks?

We all have our own tricks for dealing with the heat. What are some of your methods for cooling your smartphone down when the world outside is burning up? Let us know!

Florence Ion is an editor and columnist at Android Central. She writes about Android-powered devices of all types and explores their usefulness in her everyday life. You can follow her on Twitter or watch her Tuesday nights on All About Android.

17 Comments
  • You could just say greenhouse effect, no quotes needed.
  • Put your phone in the trunk? I don't think that is wise. Honestly, if you have to leave it in your car, under a seat out of the sun is probably gonna be cooler than the trunk.
  • Trust me...from personal experience the trunk is wayyyy cooler than any other part of the car. I had to sit in my car for an hour on a hot day and I didn't want to leave it running so I climbed into the trunk. It almost felt refrigerated compared to the rest of the car. Can't say I recommend it but it's definitely much preferable to cooking in the car.
  • Theres at no point, in my entire life where there exists a scenario where I must climb into my trunk. Not for anything, certainly not to get cool. Short of being held at gunpoint and told to do so, this is begging for abuse and you should seek help.
  • Don't put it in the fridge - LOL!
  • I would have never thought of putting it in the fridge honestly...
  • I have put my OnePlus One is the fridge. Only because I was doing some crazy things. I was overclocking and benchmarking it to get the highest possible performance out of it. I would say i succeeded
  • Succeeded? If you constantly have to put your phone in the fridge just to use it, id call that a fail.
  • I've used an ice pack a few times without issue
  • I would not recommend actively cooling your phone by any means, fridge or ice pack, especially if you live somewhere that gets humid in the summer like I do. Metal and glass that's cold enough will gather condensation in humid air, much like how a dehumidifier works.
  • You might not believe me, but the only way my NOTE 4 turns on is to put it in the FREEZER. It has not downloaded the new software in months...lol..But I love my Note 4..cant wait to replace it with the Note 8...Its the only way it works now...crazy
  • I suggest using a white case in the summer. Really makes a difference, especially when it's out in the sun, like at the pool or on a dock at a lake!
  • Phone gets AC by being in a Kenu vent mount. Good suggestion about the case. Don't need that on while in the mount on long trips.
  • Live in a country where it's always raining in the summer, like the UK. Jokes, jokes it's actually been really hot and sunny the past few days! Too hot for my liking to be honest.
  • I can't mount my phone over a vent the way the dash is designed and I have a mount next to the vent for the phone. So I built a small tube/tunnel/whatever out of cardboard and painted it black to match the dash. It sits in the air path of the vent, and blows air on the back of the phone. It looks odd when the phone isn't in the mount, but looks fine any other time. Also it does not block the vent fully, so I can enjoy the AC as well. Wish I had a picture, but it looks like a periscope "S" but is pretty short, wide and thin.
    Before this, in the Texas heat, the phone would switch to slow charging instead of quick charging due to heat. Now it will run Spotify, Waze and quick charge. When I take it off the mount and put it in my pocket, the phone is cooler than I am.
  • I live in the desert. I started using Polar Box Gel Ice Pack ( amazon.com/gp/product/B01MDM3DG6/ ) in my car's center console (where it plugs in for Android Auto / charging). My phone rests near but not on the ice pack in this enclosed area.
  • Play ingress redacted with brightness turned up to max and plugged into a battery pack, guaranteed to keep your phone cool 😎