July 7, 2015
FEELING THE HEAT
This summer is proving to be a hot one. All across the US, temperature records are being broken. It’s the same story in Europe, with all-time records being broken on a daily basis, and in India and Pakistan, the heat is so intense that it is melting roads and claiming lives. While it is vital that we monitor the health and temperature of people and pets under such circumstances, perhaps spare a thought for your smartphone as well.
Smartphones are a marvel of modern engineering. They have the same processing power as most desktop PCs and are capable of the same things, only they fit in your pocket. But while a desktop system has numerous fans and vents to cool the processor down, the design and size of a smartphone means that it’s just not possible to include cooling systems, and in temperatures such as these, this can become a problem.
Without fans, your smartphone already produces a good deal of heat, especially when under pressure. Playing games, streaming video and running high-performing apps such as maps and GPS heat the processor and this can cause your handset’s performance to dramatically slow. High temperatures magnify this problem, and as well slowing your phone’s performance to a virtual crawl, it can lead to permanent damage that is neither easy nor cheap to fix.
Batteries do not fare much better – the more you use them, the more heat they create, meaning that there is a second heat source causing problems inside your smartphone. As well as helping to slow down your phone’s systems, an overheated battery charges much slower and can shorten its lifespan. Heat can also damage the screen. The liquid crystal display (LCD) can overheat, pixels can die permanently, and excessive heat could also warp or even crack your screen.
There’s no need to panic. You won’t need to start carrying a bucket of ice around with you everywhere you go if you want to make a phone call. There are plenty of ways to soothe your overheated handset and keep an eye on the temperature. There are plenty of apps, for example, that can monitor the heat your phone is producing, and help you adjust accordingly. Several of these solutions are good practice in general even without excessive temperatures – such as adjusting the brightness of your display and managing your apps more carefully. Having your smartphone in a case can add to the problem, so if you’re seeing things slow down, taking it out will usually help reduce the heat. You can also get specifically designed cases that will help keep your phone cool. And if your battery is draining faster than you would like, a power bank is an excellent resource for extending its useful life when you don’t have access to a charger.