arctic conditions affecting battery

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by SolarCanoe, Feb 7, 2016.

  1. SolarCanoe macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2008
    In a couple days I am going up to resolute bay for some survival training where I'll be outside in -35 to -50 degrees celsius temperatures. I want to bring my iPhone just to have the ability to take pictures.

    I know my battery life will be impeded by the cold temperatures but I am wondering if it will affect my battery life permanently. Could the cold do permanent damage?
  2. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    If you left your phone outside to get cold soaked at -55, I would say yes. If you keep it inside your clothing against your body you should be able to take it out and take a few images before returning it. Keep your battery charged as it will decrease its capacity.
  3. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    as above keep it close to your body and minimal exposure to the outside. if you have to leave it anywhere exposed for a period of time then turn it off and make sure you rewarm it to a decent temperature before you turn it back on.
  4. 0003462 Suspended

    Dec 17, 2013
    If it's cold enough, your phone may just switch itself off until it's warm again. My iPhone 4s frequently turns itself off when I'm outside in a cold Scottish wind.
  5. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Watch out when moving a cold phone to an even slightly humid warmer area. The moisture will find the inside of your iPhone and collect there.
  6. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Agreed, one really needs to keep it in a zip-lock when brought back inside to allow it to warm to room temp to avoid condensation.
  7. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    Apple lists the minimum non-operating temperature as -20° (for a 6s). I do not suggest letting it get any colder than that, even when not in use.
  8. Matthew.H macrumors 6502


    Sep 16, 2015
    Norwich, UK
    You would probably be better to buy one of those digital cameras that are designed for tougher environments.
  9. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    Heat kills a battery permanently. For the most part, the effects of cold are temporary, so long as the phone isn't warmed up too rapidly.

    The advice everyone else has provided is pretty much spot on.
  10. bbrks macrumors 65816


    Dec 17, 2013
    Simple, don't do it. Leave your iPhone at home.
  11. mrex macrumors 68040


    Jul 16, 2014
    they have also listed an operating temperature from 0 to 35 C. if it was taken like that, they couldnt sell their phones here at all because during the winter the temperature is from 0 to -40C. Phones sold here must be operational also in the winter time (of course all above -20 are extreme conditions), otherwise they must say before you buy the phone that the phone cannot be used outside and apple should pull their phones out of sale here. i dont think they would do that and admit that their phones cant be used in a cold weather. so it is on the gray area...

    but it doesnt mean that they would work as expected. my 6S+ went off when it was only -1C and showed that the battery was empty. when i got back home the battery was around 40%. i have been using the phone outside and the temperature was around -10 - -15C and took photos.

    the problem is not only the battery but the screen too. it may become verry laggy and even unresponsive. then another issue is going back to inside when the phone is cold and hence the humidity may condence inside the phone as water drops. when you put the cold phone back to your pocket (inside the coat) it may get moisture even then.

    anyway i wouldnt use the phone outside in -35 - -50C. that is an extreme condition.
  12. balzz macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2012
    I was in Yellowknife last week and left my iPhone my outer coat pocket in -24C. After about 30 mins, I pulled it out of my pocket and the battery was completely dead. According to coconut battery, there's no permanent damage however.
  13. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Keep in mind that a battery getting to much lower than what Apple recommends can actually freeze the battery causing it to slightly swell and damage the battery.
  14. hamiltonDSi macrumors 68000


    Jul 29, 2012
    Past winter my 6 Plus was used at -26C (-16.6F) and a couple of months ago my 6s Plus at -16C (3.2F).
    Both phones worked just fine.

    Mind you, the phones we're not in my pocket. I was taking a picture every minute or so. Those mountains I visted.. beautiful in the morning. Just beautiful.
  15. Jtludwig macrumors 6502

    Mar 24, 2012
    Those are good ideas. I used to go to Thule Greenland a lot and tried to keep my iphone in an inner pocket of my coat..and it always seemed fine.

    I tried to not leave it in the truck overnight because I didn't want to worry about condensation when bringing it back inside.
  16. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Condensation can set off all the water indicators so I always put my iPhone is a ziplock before going inside to prevent condensation.
  17. Analog Kid macrumors 601

    Analog Kid

    Mar 4, 2003
    The bigger risk is permanent damage to the LCD. The L stands for "Liquid", and you really want it to stay that way. The -20C limit is probably to protect the display, and I'd try to respect that. As it gets colder, the display will respond more slowly, and that's fine. If it gets too cold, however, permanent damage can occur.

    As others have said, keep it close to your body as much as possible. The phone and backlight will act as a bit of a heater when it's turned on, and the glass is an insulator, so it should be ok for short periods.
  18. Keirasplace macrumors 601

    Aug 6, 2014
    Past winter, 6 weeks of -15=-20C days, -25=-30C at night (live in the province of Quebec)
    Phones usually fine when kept in line coat pockets that close for a long time.
    Non lined pockets (satiny) that don't close, are a lot cooler and I've actually haven't tried long enough to give a definitive answer.

    If it's kept in handbag idle though, it functions pretty wonky of not at all functioning after awhile when I take it out; eventually it revives itself though if I move it to my pockets and warm it with my hands.

    If you go out and use it extensively though (heating itself), it's fine for quite a while I found if winds are light, moderate or non existent.

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