It's official; Grand Rapids just set the record for the coldest February in history. And while all that ice, snow and wind significantly increased our commute times, you may have noticed that it also decreased the functionality of your mobile device. Sub-freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on smartphones and tablets, diminishing battery life and causing their  delicate internal parts to malfunction or stop working altogether. Here are a few tips for extending the life of your handheld device in extreme temperatures.

  • Make sure you have a full charge whenever heading out and invest in a protective case such as an OtterBox or an ArmorCase. Additionally, you should carry your phone in an inside pocket where it will be able to use your body heat to keep warm.
  • Always turn off unused apps and try to limit the use of those that are more demanding on systems resources. Save "live" widgets and wallpapers for the warmer months!
  • Use Wi-Fi whenever available. Wi-Fi has been proven to be less taxing on your battery because once connected to the network, it doesn't have to refresh the connection like on a cell network.
  • Turn off "push" services, or at least minimize the frequency your phone pings a server to check for new information. A simple switch from one-minute to two-minute pings not only cuts power usage in half, but with less notifications coming through you'll be less tempted to pull the phone from your pocket and expose it to the frigid conditions.
  • Install the latest software updates. Developers are continually working to improve power management functions, so having you things up-to-date will ensure you are running the leanest version.

If your device seems to have plenty of battery left but suddenly quits working altogether, it probably just needs to warm up. When this happens, however, don't immediately try to restart or charge it. Rather, allow the device to return to it's optimal operating temperature range -- between 32°F and 95°F -- and you should then be able to power it back up without any problems.

If you would like to receive additional tech tips and helpful information delivered right to your inbox, SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER.