With temperatures dropping at a record rate and interest in outdoor winter activities heightening due to the pandemic, UScellular wants to inform the public of the potential impact extreme cold temperatures can have on smartphones.

According to the wireless carrier, it is the lithium-ion batteries in smartphones and other connected devices that often create an issue in cold temperatures. Lithium-ion batteries contain liquid and when extreme cold temperatures are introduced, the molecules shrink, causing potential issues for displays, buttons and battery life.

“We typically think of hot temperatures causing issues for smart devices but extreme cold can do the same. Anything below 32 degrees is going to start slowing down your phone,” said Tabatha McKay, area vice president/general manager for UScellular in New England. “We use our smart devices for nearly everything these days, so it’s important to keep them protected in extreme temperatures so they maintain their functionality.”

If you’re dealing with cold temperatures, UScellular recommends the following tips to keep your devices safe and working properly:

1.) Charge your device. Because battery power can be reduced in cold temps, it’s best to keep your device fully charged to avoid the battery being completely drained in outdoor temperatures. Carrying a portable charger, such as the Ubio Labs 4-in-1 Portable Charger, is a good idea to make sure you’re ready, anytime.

2.) Keep your device in a case. Think about it like a winter jacket, you wouldn’t go outside without one, so don’t do that to your phone. When it comes to protecting your phone, a case like the OtterBox Defender Case, is one of the first lines of defense. It can create a barrier between your device and the outside elements.

3.) Keep your device in a pocket. Humans are a natural source of heat, so when you’re out in the cold, try to keep your device in a coat pocket rather than a purse or bag. This will help protect the device from the shock of the freezing temps.

4.) Let your device warm up before you try to use it. For optimal performance, users should avoid storing devices in frigid places, such as a parked car. If a phone powers off due to the cold, give it time to warm up to room temperature before turning it back on. Never use heating aids like a blow dryer.