iPhone Tips for Cold Weather

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The iPhone can lose battery life quickly in cold temperatures. This article provides tips to keep your iPhone operational during cold weather.

It’s been a cold winter for many people across the globe. Extreme weather seems to be the new normal. Unfortunately, electronic gadgets, particularly those powered by lithium-ion batteries, are not suited for temperature extremes. The iPhone is no exception. According to Apple, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus can operate at temperatures between 0° to 35° C. When turned off, these devices are a bit more robust and can withstand temperatures from -20° to 45° C.

Those living in cold climates may be familiar with this situation. If one takes out an iPhone on a cold day, the battery life diminishes quickly. Within a few minutes, the battery can lose enough power to shut down the device. It’s not actually discharging. Instead, the lithium-ion battery simply cannot function at extremely cold temperatures. The lithium ions slow down under cold temperatures, diminishing the flow of electricity.

This is not a flaw with Apple products. This happens with any lithium-ion battery-powered device. There are a few things you can do to keep your iPhone working and protect it from permanent damage.

Turn Off Your iPhone

If you are walking (or riding your snowmobile) outside and don’t need your iPhone, turn it off. As mentioned previously, when turned off, the iPhone can withstand a much greater temperature range. Make sure to turn it off, and not just put it to sleep. Hold the sleep/wake button and then swipe the “slide to power off” switch to turn off your device.

When you return to a warmer environment, don’t turn on your iPhone right away. This is true of every electronic device, and also some forms of media, such as video and audio cassettes. Turning on a cold device can warm it quickly. The rapid change in temperature can expand components too quickly, causing damage. Furthermore, your device is at risk for condensation to form. Any moisture inside the device can cause electronic components to fail. Simply wait for your device to come up to room temperature. With the new, metal-encased iPhones, this should happen within a few minutes. Just make sure it doesn’t feel cold to the touch.

Keep Your iPhone Warm

If it’s cold outside, chances are you are wearing warm clothing. You may have a thick, down-filled parka. If so, put the iPhone in an inside pocket. Between your body heat and the jacket’s insulation, your phone should remain within operational temperatures. If you can’t do that, try to put the device as close to your body as possible.

Of course, this limits the use of your iPhone. The buttons on Apple’s headphones actually allow users to control some iPhone functions. For example, one can invoke Siri simply by pressing and holding the center button on the headphones. I wouldn’t advise taking the phone out and returning it to its warm location repeatedly. It will present the same problem of expansion, contraction and condensation.

There are some cases that may provide adequate insulation for your iPhone. Neoprene seems like a good option. It is inexpensive and is the same material used in wet suits. You could probably even make one out of a mouse pad, since most are constructed from neoprene. Neoprene is also a great shock absorber. For those with the financial resources, a new, high-tech thermal protection case is coming soon…

Use a High-Tech Thermal Protection Case

Optimal is an active, electronic thermal protection case that is currently in development. It promises to be the high-end solution to using an iPhone in extreme temperatures. This high-tech case will help maintain the temperature of your iPhone in hot or cold weather. The case will have fans and heating elements to keep your iPhone at the optimal operating temperature. It will also ensure that your iPhone won’t overheat when gaming or engaging in other resource-intensive activities.

The Optimal case will only be 5 mm thick and constructed of anodized aluminum. The case has its own battery and must be charged, so as not to drain the iPhone’s battery. This is a high-tech case with active electronic components to monitor and maintain the optimal temperature. It will even work with Touch ID and will not obscure the camera lens. The case is currently under development, however, it is being crowd funded on Indiegogo. This case is not cheap. It will sell for around $200. However, if you need to use your iPhone in extreme temperatures, there’s really nothing else like Optimal.

Don’t Leave Your iPhone in the Car

Given the operational and non-operational temperature range for the iPhone, it makes sense not to leave it in a cold car. If you do, at least make sure to turn it off and wait until it warms up before turning it on again. The most sensible thing is to take it with you. It may be colder outside your automobile, but if your iPhone is tucked in a warm pocket, it will fare better. (continue…)

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50 thoughts on “iPhone Tips for Cold Weather

  1. How can I use an iPhone in case of emergency in cold climate when I’m in danger and need help? The iPhone is useless and by skiing cross country it is not possible to keep phone warm.

    Why you are not copying the technology from Samsung, Nokia etc.? They are working also in cold climate.

    • I would suggest putting the iPhone in an inner pocket in your coat. That should keep it warm, even if you’re outdoors in cold weather for a long time. I would suggest getting a neoprene case. Neoprene is the same material used in wetsuits, so it will help keep your iPhone warm. But you can’t expect to be skiing for hours with an iPhone externally exposed to cold temperatures. I wouldn’t expect someone to ski with an iPhone attached to their belt or on an arm band.

      Which models of Samsung and Nokia phones aren’t affected by cold temperatures? All lithium-ion batteries are subject to failure under cold conditions.

      The Samsung Galaxy S7 has the same operating temperature range as the iPhone.

  2. So let’s get this straight. I turn off my phone in cold weather and when I need it for say an emergency it is still cold so it won’t turn on to be used. So the best idea is to leave it at home when you go out in the cold because even if you do need it it is still completely useless. Did you work for Microsoft?

    • You can put it in an inside coat pocket. That should keep it warm. For hands-free operation, you can use the earbuds to control Siri and talk on the phone. On page two of this article, I cover using a car charger to use a cold iPhone in emergency situations.

      The point of this article is that, if it’s cold outside, don’t let your iPhone get cold. Don’t leave it in a cold car. Most of my cold weather jackets have inside pockets. That should be sufficient to keep it at operating temperature. If you take it out to use it, don’t use it too long.

      Unfortunately, no one can change the fundamental laws of physics. Lithium ions slow down when it’s cold, which prevents the battery from functioning. This is true of all smartphones. Any device with a lithium ion battery can stop functioning in cold temperatures.

    • I read that they acquired a battery R&D firm, so the technology may be implemented in the future. As it stands now, lithium-ion batteries are the only viable option for smartphones and many devices. Every smartphone on the market uses lithium-ion batteries and they are all affected by both cold and warm weather.

    • That will happen with any lithium-ion battery powered device. It’s not unique to the iPhone. I checked competing smartphone manuals, and they all have the same temperature ranges for operation and storage.

  3. I have both iPhone 6s plus and iPhone 5s. My 6s plus turns off when the air temperature is +1 C, and my 5s still works when it’s -5 C (may be even lower).

    • It may be because the iPhone 6 is almost all aluminum and thinner. The metal dissipates heat faster and offers less insulating properties. The thinness may also cause it to lose heat rapidly compared to the older model. The iPhone 5S only has a panel that’s aluminum, but the front and top/bottom of the back are glass. Glass is a better insulator than aluminum.

  4. Today it was +7C. My iPhone still shut off. I was downtown looking for my sister and couldn’t possibly call her because I have a phone that I can only use indoor apparently. Completely useless. Apple should seriously consider a recall. I seriously need my phone to call someone. I can’t possibly use it in my pocket. It should have different kind of emergency battery life at least to call 911 in case of an emergency.

  5. Unfortunately, I work outside, and I have an iphone. Just 2 days ago, I had to make a call and my phone had to be exposed to the cold air for less than minutes while I talked. Before the conversation ended, the phone got too cold and shut down, so keeping it warm doesn’t make it possible to use, if we have to bring it to our ear to talk. An awfully expensive essential device that doesn’t work in an emergency. A $30 flip phone is my next buy.

    • One possible solution may be to use the included headphones. I actually prefer using it for calls, especially outside or in crowds. Using the headphones, you can keep it in your pocket while you make calls. Siri can be activated by pressing and holding the center button on the headphones.

      I’m not sure any phone powered by a lithium ion battery will work in cold conditions. That said, a $30 flip phone may be worth a shot.

  6. What about my iPhone 6? It got cold as soon as it cut off and won’t cut back on. And I’ve tried different people’s iPhone chargers to see if that would work and it didn’t. Then I tried to reset it so I held the power and home button and then it still wouldn’t work and all I was doing on my phone before it did what it did was on Facebook then it just cuts off. What does that mean?

    • It’s possible that your battery is completely dead. Perhaps the cold weather finally did it in, but it was on its last legs. Given that the iPhone 6 is a few years old now, if you used it heavily and charged it often, the battery may just be dead. The batteries don’t last forever. You can either replace it or get a new iPhone.

      It’s also possible that there’s a lose connection to the battery. Cold weather causes metal to contract. It could possibly damage the device, but it would have to be very cold for that to happen.

      My best guess is that the battery is shot.

  7. I have an issue with my iPhone 6s Plus rear camera. I live I South America, Ecuador. I used to travel almost every single weekend, from my home city which is at an altitude of ~9100 ft to another city at ~400 ft above sea level. You can deduce from these altitudes that the highest is colder that the lower one. The problem is that my iPhone 6s Plus rear camera works just perfectly when am at those ~400ft, it records 4K and it is awesome, but, once I get to my home city, things get darker, for real, the camera doesn’t respond and what I see in the camera app is nothing but a black screen. I would love to hear something, at least some joke, cause here, in any technical support center, they don’t know how to solve it. They say it may be the camera itself, but, also say if it’s not, I would have to pay anyway, please help me!

    • My hunch is that the change in altitude is causing problems, although my research shows that the iPhone functions well at high altitudes. People have even attached them to weather balloons and taken them up to 100,000 feet, without the camera failing. It may be that your camera is defective and the high altitude exacerbates the defect, rendering the camera useless. Does this happen to anyone else’s iPhone? If not, it must be unique to yours and is probably a manufacturing defect.

  8. Yeah, cause my sister has an 6s as well, and it works just fine, you’re probably right, the camera must be broken somehow. Now I’m going to change the camera and the battery, cause it’s already 2 year old, and the battery sucks now. Thanks for the help!

  9. Guys… just buy a powerbank, they are cheap and with those your iPhone will switch one, despite the cold weather. Problem solved

  10. Lived in Canada for 3 years and had a Samsung S6 and S7, even in -30 temps the battery was NEVER affected and phone never shut off suddenly. Now living in Japan where -10 and iPhone dies within minutes even if you only take it out to take a quick photo.
    Samsung have it right!! Shame on Apple

    • That’s because AMOLED displays handle cold weather better than LCD. Apple didn’t offer AMOLED displays because they weren’t good enough for their specifications (beyond the thermal issues). The iPhone X is the first iPhone with an OLED display, and it is the best display on any smartphone, according to DisplayMate’s exhaustive testing. Even though it is made by Samsung, the iPhone X’s display is built to Apple’s specifications, and it’s the best display on any phone. It offers the same cold temperature benefits of other phones.

      Also, those older Samsung phones were made of metal with a glass coating on the back, which is an insulating material. Great for cold weather, but not great for warm weather. Glass also traps in heat when the phone is doing intensive operations (gaming, multimedia, heavy network activity). Too much heat will shorten the lifespan of the battery.

      I’m not so sure that either company got it right or wrong. It just happens that Samsung’s products worked better at cold temperatures, because they made glass-backed phones with AMOLED displays.

      It is interesting that Apple can instruct Samsung on how to make a better display. Apple doesn’t have the manufacturing capabilities, but their intellectual property and design capabilities are impressive.

    • Unfortunately, this is a reality of lithium ion batteries. No one makes a phone that can survive cold temperatures. I have read anecdotes of other brands of phones that fare better in cold weather, however, the documentation doesn’t support the claims. They all seem to have the same temperature range for operation.

      The best you can do is get a case that can insulate the phone. Neoprene cases are inexpensive and do just that. It’s the same material used in wet suits.

  11. I have the same issue with iPhone 6s. Today I played Phone Pokémon go outside at ~5C. Phone was charged at 90% in my car. After 20 mins it shutdown saying 20% Battery. Meanwhile my son was playing on my Motorola G4 plus. It had 60% power initially and had 45% power, and did not shut down. The issue is not the battery but Apple and their fanboys saying “it’s a feature not a bug”.

    • Was your iPhone 6s manufactured between September and October of 2018? Apple is doing a recall of iPhone 6s models manufactured between September and October 2015. It is a known issue. Their battery supplier had a bad production run, which causes some iPhone 6s devices to shut down unexpectedly. Please read “Check If Failing Battery Is Slowing down Your iPhone”. It has more information about this issue and a link to check if your model is affected.

      As for the “feature, not bug”, I believe that’s more about Apple slowing down iPhones with failing batteries. That’s the correct thing to do. Who would rather have a phone shut down than slow down? I haven’t found one person who prefers the former. Every engineer I know, including myself, thinks it’s pretty amazing exception handling. Their competitors don’t do it because they can’t. Their hardware and software are loosely coupled. Apple has tight integration between hardware and software.

      Neither Apple nor their fan boys claim that an iPhone shutting down due to cold weather is a design decision. I didn’t write that. I’ve never read that. That’s just a reality of lithium ion batteries. Cold weather affects all lithium-ion powered devices. Some devices overheat, so they fare better in cold weather. They can fail or even be a hazard in warm conditions. The other phone you mention is notorious for overheating. That means it will fare quite well on a cold day, but won’t perform well on a warm day.

      I’ve owned iPhones for the past 8 years and have never had one shut down unexpectedly. Every other non-Apple device I have owned or used crashes, shuts down unexpectedly and is quite buggy. Apple’s not perfect, but I’m not about to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  12. When I charge my iPhone via a laptop and use it for a half hour then the touch screen doesn’t work properly.
    Sometimes I type a message but it opens other apps (Whatsapp etc) even sometimes I press A but it pressed L or remove it.
    I charge my iPhone with laptop I don’t use adaptor etc. What is the reason and what is the solution?

    • There are two possibilities. Is your iPhone speaking when it exhibits this behavior? If so, you may have activated an Accessibility feature by accident. I have done this a few times. I usually have to do a soft reset to get it back to normal, as it is too hard to navigate through settings.

      If you have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, it may be a case of Touch Disease. I doubt it, because it seems to happen only when you charge your device with a laptop.

      Try doing a soft reset. Hold down the sleep/wake button and Home button for approximately 10 seconds. Let go of both buttons when you see the Apple logo. Your device will restart with some cached data cleared out. This solves the majority of iPhone problems. It’s the magic bullet used by most Apple “geniuses”.

  13. Wow, I can’t believe we cannot use our iPhone 6 in the cold. My car broke down yesterday. I stepped out of the car to check it and tried to call a tow truck and my phone was dead. It had a 86% charge before I left the car. So dead car and dead phone. Great for emergencies. My husband’s Samsung has never done this at all and he has been out in minus 35C this winter. He doesn’t even have a phone case on his phone. Explain that one.

    • The iPhone 6 is an old device, and unless you have replaced the battery, the unexpected shut down is probably due to a failing battery. It is notoriously true that Apple slows down the iPhone 6 to avoid unexpected shut downs, however, in cold weather, the battery can fail spectacularly. This is also because the iPhone runs cooler than other smartphones (due to its efficiency), which is great in the summer. It’s not so great in the winter. Other smartphones that run warmer may fare well in the winter, but will experience problems in the summer. Overall, they will have shorter battery life, as heat damages lithium ion batteries. I’d much rather have a phone that runs cooler, even if it shuts down in the winter. If I lived in Alaska, I may have a different preference.

      Samsung also specifies an operating range for their devices, which is exactly the same as Apple’s. Your iPhone 6 probably died because the battery is in poor shape. After all, it is an old phone. I own one too, and it is three years old, and I bought it 4 months after it launched.

      My advice — get the battery replaced for $29. If you don’t like it anymore, sell it. You can still get good money for an older iPhone. That can’t be said for other brands.

  14. Yak… Why are you defending Apple over and over again by referring to the specs of the iPhone? Who cares about the specs? The reality is that neither of the competition shuts down in cold weather like 0 degrees C. Only the iPhone. In particular the 6s. I had the battery replaced by the recall program and I still face the issue. I’m using the Xperia XZ in minus 8 perfectly while the iPhone doesn’t even work in 0. Turning off the phone when it’s cold? Seriously man, are you on drugs? A phone is a portable device that can save your life in a certain situation. Don’t spread the BS please.

    • As I mentioned, the phones that do well in cold weather don’t fare well in warm weather. For example, if I type “Xperia XZ o” into Google, it populates the “o” with “overheating”. That’s because so many people have searched for those terms, because the phone overheats. It is notorious for overheating. There are hundreds of web pages referring to this problem. A phone that overheats will perform better in cold weather.

      “Why are you defending Apple over and over again by referring to the specs of the iPhone?”

      Product specifications are facts. I care about facts. I’m not defending Apple. I am stating facts. I am offering tips about using an iPhone in cold weather, because, in case you haven’t noticed, this site is about Apple products. I am not going to write the narrative you want, which is that people should go buy something other than an iPhone. These are tips for people who own an iPhone. You can go and create your own Sony fanboy site that no one will visit.

      You seem to be in some sort of tech news echo chamber, one with an anti-Apple bias. Please, keep me out of your black and white echo chamber. Your simplistic straw man tactics are tedious and intellectually fraudulent.

      “the iPhone doesn’t even work in 0”

      No kidding. Who told you it did?!?

      As you mention, you don’t care about the specs. If you did, you would have discovered that the iPhone’s operating range is 0º to 35º before you purchased the device. Apple is transparent about the operating temperatures. I have posted them in the article. They are posted on Apple’s site. You are upset that it doesn’t work at a temperature that is at or below the operating range.

      You’re the one who bought a phone that doesn’t work well in cold temperatures. Apple did not hide this from you. You ignored it, because you don’t care about specs, and you assume that everyone feels the same way. Maybe do some research, but it seems like that’s not your strength. You didn’t do due diligence on your purchase. You bought into iPhone hype, blindly purchased an iPhone like an iSheep, and now you are taking it out on me. No one is to blame but yourself.

      I just bought a new WiFi router. I bought a Google WiFi and not an AirPort Extreme. I researched it, and the AirPort Extreme has a problem with the fan breaking. Apple hasn’t refreshed the device in years and they are getting out of the router business altogether. If I had bought the AirPort Extreme and it broke after a few years, more fool me for being an iSheep. I am not an iSheep. I always research everything before buying it. The irony is that you, an iSheep, claim that I blindly defend Apple? You’re the one who bought an iPhone without researching it. In fact, this web page provides critical information that could have helped you make an informed purchase, yet you take offense to any discussion of facts.

      Who are you? You’re some anonymous guy posting something on a website. What credentials do you have? I’m supposed to value some random angry person’s anecdote over documented specs?

      That said, I don’t doubt that the Xperia XZ works in -8º weather, because it is well-known to overheat. The specs also say it works at -10º. This is the only phone I have found that doesn’t have the 0º C to 35º C operating range. I only checked the major brands of competing phones. Sony is a major brand, but not when it comes to smartphones.

      “Turning off the phone when it’s cold? Seriously man, are you on drugs?”

      That recommendation is based on the operating temperature range. Apple’s documentation, based on lab tests, finds that it can operate just above 0º C, but it can be stored at -20º C. Thus, if it gets below 0º, it’s probably a good idea to turn it off, because it can’t operate at that temperature. What’s controversial about that? You don’t like facts and truth. Maybe you can try persuading your iPhone to work at -8º with your wonderful personality?

      Your ad hominem attacks reveal that I am dealing with a moron who can’t blame himself for buying the wrong phone. If you live in a cold environment, you may want to check on that, but you didn’t. You were too lazy and stupid. You admit that you don’t care about specs, which is precisely why you bought the wrong phone. I guess you will come back and post another rude, accusatory comment when you make the same mistake again.

      I try to stay away from ad hominem attacks, but you are a moron. I couldn’t resist. Go blame yourself for buying the wrong phone. It’s like someone who goes outside in freezing weather wearing a t-shirt, and they blame Hanes for it. You need to find a moron-proof phone that works in cold weather.

  15. We have iPhone 4, iPhone 6, iPhone 6S iPhone X all bought in Europe.

    At 0 degrees the 4, 6 and 6S are shutting down within 1 Minute including new batteries from Apple store didn’t change that.

    The iPhone X can run all day at -10 in Swiss alps while skiing and still at 40% at the end of the day while tracking is on permanently so we can follow our son where he is in the mountain.

    My mother in law has bought the iPhone 6 in Russia, Asian model, different from EU model.

    Her phone has a 3 year old battery now and just as the iPhone X runs all day even at -10 in the Swiss alps.

    Li-ion is not li-ion. There are many different technologies. I guess for EU and US Apple sells us the crap and for Asian customers they get the high quality products. Same as iPhone X, you get the high quality .

    Note Apple has not just different technologies for different markets but also different suppliers.

    Btw, same for Nokia or Samsung, if you have a model produced with some other supplier for the batteries your phone might work at -10 but if another model has a different supplier with different technologies for the same stats on paper that one might already shut down at +5

    That’s how people get the different experiences.

    • According to Apple’s specs, an iPhone will probably experience problems at 0°. If it shuts down at that temperature, it’s to be expected. It’s amazing that the iPhone X can handle lower temperatures.

      It is true that Apple gets parts from different suppliers. There was a notorious issue with the A9 processor. Some were manufactured by Samsung and others by TSMC. They differed slightly in processing power. US customers got either processor. The part was not distributed based on market location.

      The other story is that a supplier often has different manufacturing facilities. For example, Bosch Sensortech is a German company, but has facilities in the U.S., China, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. They supply Apple with accelerometers.

      It is true that there are a few different types of lithium ion battery, however, Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LiCoO2) batteries are used for smartphones, tablets and notebook computers. There are slightly different designs and manufacturing tolerances. You are correct that Apple used to get their batteries from different suppliers. Now they get their batteries exclusively from Sunwoda Electronic.

      According to my research, Apple makes three models of iPhone X (A1865, A1901, A1902), but they are identical apart from their modem chips. Two of the versions are for the US/EU/China/etc. depending on the carrier. The third version is made exclusively for Japan. They are assembled by either Foxconn or Pegatron.

      With older iPhones, one could get batteries from one of two manufacturers. They varied slightly in terms of quality. Apple is pretty strict about manufacturing tolerances, so the differences are insignificant.

      In my experience, people usually ruin their iPhone battery through overuse. I know people who use their iPhone 12 hours a day and use it extensively while it is plugged in. This will shorten the battery’s lifespan and make it more susceptible to failure from temperature extremes.

      My guess would be that your mother-in-law isn’t playing Angry Birds for 12 hours straight, which could also be why the battery has lasted so long. I still have an iPhone 6 and it is my daily driver. It is over 3 years old and the battery lasts all day. I don’t use my iPhone heavily. I turn it off when I charge it. I put it in Airplane mode and Do Not Disturb mode, because I am inundated by telemarketers. (That’s what happens when you have the same cell phone number for 20 years and live in a country with crooked politicians.) The climate is fairly cool where I live. I’m not too surprised that my iPhone’s battery is still in great shape.

  16. My iPhone 6s has shut down twice in temperatures around 50°C
    I previously had an iPhone 6 which never shut down despite being out in subzero temperatures.
    So this iPhone 6s does not meet Apple’s claims regarding the operating temperature minimum of 0°C. It is less than 1 year old.

    • The battery is probably failing. I strongly recommend getting a replacement before the end of December 2018, as it is only $29. I’m not sure if this offer is available in the UK and how much it would cost in GBPs. (I notice your email address is from the UK. I am not snooping. I am compliant with all of the ridiculous, paranoid UK/EU cyber laws.)

      One thing I should mention. Apple normally requires a battery to have below 80% “health” to be eligible for a replacement. They have waived this requirement for the $29 battery replacement deal. This is very important, because I went to Best Buy to have the battery replaced, and they refused to do it. I called Apple, and they said Best Buy was wrong. Apple agreed to replace the battery for $29, even though it was at 97% health. (I replaced it because it is 4 years old and I like to keep iPhones a long time — spares, car music player, security cams, etc. I just couldn’t pass up a $50 discount on battery replacement.)

      Even though you may have bought your iPhone 6S a year ago, this phone is actually 4 years old. It may have been manufactured years before you bought it and the lithium battery wears down with age.

      I am not apologizing for Apple. I just think the battery may be in bad shape. Go to Settings > Battery and see what the “health” is. Personally, I would replace it even if it was in the 90% range, because you can keep your iPhone longer that way.

  17. My Samsung Galaxy has NO problems ever in minus temperatures yet my partners way more expensive iPhone shuts down immediately. He needs it for his work, which is outdoors, so makes it a big waste of money. WHY isn’t this information made available when buying??? Apple needs to do better.

    • They should mention it under specifications, but since other manufacturers do not, they don’t either.

      The iPhone will fare better in warm weather than other phones. The consequence is that it can shut down in very cold weather.

  18. I have iPhone 6s, first one was bought in december 2015, next winter when it turned cold start shuting down, took it to authorized service, they replaced it with new one since many were complaining worldwide and they said it was a bug…
    The new one again turns off in cold. I was in Denmark on temp. around 0, needed it for emergency call, couldn’t use it….
    There is absolutely no excuse for this failure and nothing you can say can make us, who have experieced the problem, convince that this is “ normal”. I am giving up on Apple, told everyone I know it is not worth the price and will replaced it for any other brand, since it seams others have the technology that can keep up with climate conditions….

    • It’s normal because they disclosed this and it happens with virtually every lithium ion powered device. You’re from the nation that gave us Nils Bohr. It’s a fact of physics. Lithium ions sieze when it is too cold. If smartphone manufacturers insulate their devices, they will overheat when it is warm.

      Some smartphones fare better in cold temperatures because their operating systems and apps run on managed code, as opposed to compiled code. Hardware needs to be scaled up to run a less efficient software architecture. Their components generate heat exactly because they run inefficient operating systems.

      The best way to make an emergency call is to leave your iPhone in your pocket and use the headphones. You can click the button on the headphone control bar and ask Siri to dial a number. I mention this in the article.

      Why not just sue Apple over this? It seems de rigueur these days…

      I am quite critical of Apple, but these are the laws of physics. If one phone works better in cold weather, it will overheat in warm weather. You can always put a neoprene case on a phone or leave it in your pocket. The phones that run warm? What can you do when it is warm? Rip the chassis off? Turn up the air conditioning and stay indoors?

      The last time I was in Aalborg, I bought a HH puffy down jacket. If I put my iPhone in the inside pocket, I could be in Antarctica and still use the phone, although it would be hard to find a cell tower.

  19. I do not understand people who complain so passionately about the batteries. I found this article because it was suspicious that my battery life shortened so quickly during winter. The iPhone 6S is a very thin phone with a glass screen and an aluminium back…… Of course it will instantly get cold outside unless you buy a better case than a 0.2 inch plastic layer…

    In return this is my first phone (I switched from Samsung) which doesn’t overheat during summer.

    @ the people complaining about the price of the phone: if you had so much money for a new iPhone model I’m sure you can afford a cheap case that keeps it warm.

    I love my phone and I’ll buy a case like you mentioned, thank you so much for explaining the mechanics I didn’t understand.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful reply. In addition to a insulating case (neoprene), keeping the iPhone in one’s pocket and using Siri through the headphones should allow for emergency calls. If you have the device inside a parka, it should still work on the coldest day.

      Much of the anti-Apple backlash is due to one (probably more) of their competitors hiring trolls. They actually got busted for this in Taiwan, where it is illegal. It’s legal in most of the world. They call it marketing! I also get offers from time to time to write some article about some crappy product I wouldn’t use myself. I never go for those opportunities. My time is better spent writing an evergreen “how to” article. I also dislike the payola that’s rampant on the WWW. I hate it when I buy a product based on fake reviews, so I don’t want to roll around in that slop, like a pig. But this is why there is so much anti-Apple garbage. Some of it is disgruntled customers. Most of it is hired trolling and payola.

      You can see a few hired trolls in the comments on this page. Some are rightfully disgruntled customers taking out their frustration with the laws of physics on Apple.

  20. Guess what, I have an iPhone 6s which dies in seconds in -5C, while my wife is chatting away for half an hour with her Sony Xperia XZ in the same weather. Both have Li-Ion battery. So what does Sony know what Apple failed so badly? Shall I find someone with an Xperia when I am lost in the snow storm to get help? Honestly this is a serious design flaw which puts people with iPhone in cold weather in danger!

    • The Sony Xperia XZ is notorious for overheating. It’s actually a humorous read. They keep releasing patches to fix the issue, but over the span of a few years, it’s still a problem. They can’t fix it with software, as it is a fundamental problem with the OS.

      Apps are developed in Java, which is compiled to byte code, not machine language. Apps run in a virtual machine. VMs have come a long way, but apps running in a VM will never be as efficient as code compiled to machine language (as with iOS). This means that the Sony Xperia has to use more CPU cycles and battery power in order to run the equivalent iOS app. This generates more heat.

      The physical design of the phone also seems to be ignorant of material science. It almost seems like they intentionally designed the phone to overheat. But they designed it that way because gorilla glass and plastic are cheaper than high grade aluminum alloys.

      This is such a huge problem with the phone, just typing in Sony Xperia XZ in Google, will autocomplete the search query with “overheating” and “overheating 2018”. The thermal issues with this phone are epic!

      The iPhone, as a physical device, is designed to dissipate heat. Heat is a far bigger issue than cold. Apple employs democratic design. It would be fair to say that, if you spend a lot of time outdoors in cold weather and need to physically hold your smartphone to make calls (as opposed to using headphones and keeping the device pocketed), then the iPhone is not a good choice. It would be easier to buy another phone than to persuade Apple to put a heater or insulation in the iPhone. If they did that, I wouldn’t buy an iPhone, and neither would hundreds of millions of people.

      Yes, you could find someone with an Xperia when you are lost in a snow storm. Or, you could keep your iPhone inside your parka and control it with headphones, using Siri. Maybe you need to get two phones — one for summer and one for winter.

      The Sony Xperia XZ doesn’t fare well in warm weather, or room temperature weather, for that matter. But you can just turn the thermostat down and put on a heavy coat, hat and ear muffs at home when you need to use your Xperia.

      Thanks for getting me to research this Sony Xperia XZ smartphone. It makes me appreciate the iPhone even more.

  21. Think it’s just iPhones that turn off when cold? I have had every iPhone from the start of the 3GS. I can’t take my phone outside this time of year and I work out side. My friend takes his Samsung out every time we’re in the cold all day and he doesn’t have any problem with his and he’s always making calls and taking pics. I think apple needs to change their batteries otherwise your customer base will keep declining. I know of 7 people that switch to Samsung this month and I am afraid I will be joining them soon.

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