What happens if you use an iPhone below 0C?

0007776

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Jul 11, 2006
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So on the specifications for the iPhone it says the operating temperature is between 0 and 35C. Looking at the weather where I am it is -21 outside right now, and it's not going to be above 0 for a while, so my question is will I have any problems with my phone if I talk on it while walking outside between buildings?
 

donm527

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Jun 18, 2009
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my experience last year taking my daughter skiing at mt. sunapee in nh and the temp was like 14 deg f... my phone would shut off at that temp and useless until i was able to get into the lodge and get back to operating temp.

i had a speck candyshell case on it too (3gs) and if i were hoping that might provide a bit of insulation... it didnt.

So on the specifications for the iPhone it says the operating temperature is between 0 and 35C. Looking at the weather where I am it is -21 outside right now, and it's not going to be above 0 for a while, so my question is will I have any problems with my phone if I talk on it while walking outside between buildings?
 

0007776

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my experience last year taking my daughter skiing at mt. sunapee in nh and the temp was like 14 deg f... my phone would shut off at that temp and useless until i was able to get into the lodge and get back to operating temp.

i had a speck candyshell case on it too (3gs) and if i were hoping that might provide a bit of insulation... it didnt.
Did it cause any lasting damage or did it just shut off?
 

donm527

macrumors member
Jun 18, 2009
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just shut off. surprised me... but i am a floridian and never been in temps that low. once it warmed up it was ok.

i have a 4s now but i gave the 3gs to my daughter as an ipod and it still runs like new. i did replace the battery on it... but i forgot if it was before or after the trip.

Did it cause any lasting damage or did it just shut off?
 

Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
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Did it cause any lasting damage or did it just shut off?
Walking between buildings will not do any harm, it should be brief enough, you probably won't see any performance issues either.

Prolonged exposure, like a ski trip for several hours outdoors, I would avoid.

The chemical reaction that occurs in batteries will be highly degraded, and you risk condensation when you come back indoors.
 

Big-TDI-Guy

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Jan 11, 2007
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It is 5F outside right now.... going to put my iphone out there for ~15 minutes, and I will BRB with my experience. :)
 

0007776

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That's interesting about the shutoff. Will it do that for high temperatures too?
I know I've heard about it doing that for high temperatures. I just was asking because I didn't know what it does in low temperatures, and don't really want to experiment on my phone.
 

Big-TDI-Guy

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Jan 11, 2007
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Yeah, they do shut down from high temps - but never heard about the low-temp thing. That's why my phone is outside in 5F weather playing an episode of the Simpsons as I write this... 7 minutes in, it's still chugging along...
 

Big-TDI-Guy

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Jan 11, 2007
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Have a calibrated thermocouple affixed to the display of my IP4, currently reading -9C, and it's still playing...

Now at -10C, and it's survived an episode of the Simpsons... going to let it lock, to see how much colder it'll get now that it's not generating much heat...
 
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donm527

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Jun 18, 2009
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i tried googling a little... some reports but nothing consistent.
could be dependent on the condition of the battery.
again personal experience but i ended up ordering a battery and replacing it.

Have a calibrated thermocouple affixed to the display of my IP4, currently reading -9C, and it's still playing...

Now at -10C, and it's survived an episode of the Simpsons... going to let it lock, to see how much colder it'll get now that it's not generating much heat...
 

Big-TDI-Guy

macrumors 68030
Jan 11, 2007
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Ok, I'd play longer, but I need to get some sleep tonight.

Got to -14.1C when it went asleep, I woke it, and played another movie - it's working just fine. The LCD is getting a *tiny bit* sluggish, it's hardly perceptible compared to other displays I've see in the cold. That said, works just fine.

Here be the proof. (iphone outside window - hence the "fuzzy" around the display)

Edit: Final update - 1 hour at those temps, and it's still kicking. I wouldn't start to worry about the temps until it got well beyond -30C.
 

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apollo1444

macrumors 65816
Jul 22, 2011
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mexico
why would other people test and abuse their own iPhones for the op? :rolleyes: well I'd recommend indoors usage only anyways...
 

Big-TDI-Guy

macrumors 68030
Jan 11, 2007
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God forbid if I decide to help answer the question asked by someone, by "abusing" hardware that I purchased with my cash.

If that gets your crank going, it'll really twist things to know I purchased this phone flat-out of pocket, without any carrier subsidy.

;)
 

Shadowbech

macrumors 603
Oct 18, 2011
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I don't think it does anything, because where I am right now, few days we have had below 0 degree C and my phone worked fine, of course it was cold when touching my phone :D
 

/user/me

macrumors 6502
Feb 28, 2011
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God forbid if I decide to help answer the question asked by someone, by "abusing" hardware that I purchased with my cash.

If that gets your crank going, it'll really twist things to know I purchased this phone flat-out of pocket, without any carrier subsidy.

;)
Good God!! How dare you do something that you want with;p your product that you bought with your money!!! you should be ashamed...
 

cyks

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Jul 24, 2002
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So on the specifications for the iPhone it says the operating temperature is between 0 and 35C. Looking at the weather where I am it is -21 outside right now, and it's not going to be above 0 for a while, so my question is will I have any problems with my phone if I talk on it while walking outside between buildings?
If you're using it, it's likely in your hand and being held close to your head... More than likely, you're body heat would keep it warm enough. No reason to worry.
 

Big-TDI-Guy

macrumors 68030
Jan 11, 2007
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Because I'm such a bad person - I went and abused my iPhone 4 even harder today. I dropped it into a -40C/F (where they meet) chamber for 30 minutes. Worked before, worked when cold - though that time the screen was VERRRRRY slow to respond, and... it still works now.

So, my year+ old IP4 works at and survived -40C.

My fingers did freeze to the touch screen for a few seconds though... would not advise having a phone call at that temperature! ;)
 

blesio

macrumors 6502
Jun 9, 2011
270
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I think that the biggest problem isn't the temp itself. The problem starts when your phone gets hot very fast if you start gaming and it's initial temperature is very low. This can cause the glass to break for example. The problem might also be condensation, when the phones temperature is lets say 25 degrees and you take it outside on a cold then the air inside is moist and when it gets cooled fast little droplets of water form inside and can get onto internal elements causing a short circuit which can cause severe damage.

Those might be the two main reasons why Apple stated the minimum working temperature as 0 degrees.

I've used the phone in -20 degrees but never for a prolonged period, just to make some calls :)
 

SHirsch999

macrumors 6502a
Apr 19, 2011
656
191
Wow. Kinda weird that this thread comes up today, as I kinda made the mistake of bringing my phone with me on my morning walk like I do every day. However, today was COLD!!! Only 11 F. I use the GPS with a walking app to chart my walks every morning, and just carried it with me today as I do every day. When I got home (after 72 minutes and some seconds), the phone turned on for a moment, then shut down. After not going back on 10 minutes later, I did a hard reset. The apple logo came up, then it shut down again, but only after looking like the battery had completely discharged (empty battery with only a thin red line). I put it on the charger, and then it acted like normal. It showed the actual charge at the moment (65%), and has been working normally since. So, that's my experience, and I will make sure not to repeat it. I had been out before when it was cold, but this is the first time the temp was below 30F. Nice mild winter so far here in NJ.
 
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