Have you noticed that when you use your mobile device outdoors on a cold day, the battery may drain faster; In some cases, the phone may even turn off.
In this article, we’ll cover whether lithium batteries in mobile devices consume more electricity at lower temperatures, and tips for using your phone in low temperatures.
To arrive at the answer, let’s explore an experiment in which there are three mobile devices from different brands. These phones will be charged to 100% then unplug and leave the screen on for two hours straight. All three phones will run the same programs to ensure similar power consumption and indoor temperature will remain at 21°C. After 20 minutes, you will probably find that the battery of all phones is still at 100%.
Test 2: Outdoor battery
Now, in a separate test we will have three phones from different brands and similar to the previous test, these will be charged to 100%, then unplug and turn on for two hours while running the same application. This time, however, the phone will be left outdoors near the snow, where the temperature will be 3°C. After 20 minutes, you will probably see another number showing the status of the battery.
Just doing these two experiments will tell you that mobile device batteries consume energy at different rates depending on the surrounding temperature. After 20 minutes, the second test will show the battery at around 97 or 95%.
Ordinary battery at low temperature
Currently, most mobile devices use Lithium-ion Polymer batteries (LiPo batteries). When temperatures drop in winter, the chemical reactions of the electrolytes slow down and result in less current and reduced battery power.
In more extreme situations, the phone turns off automatically. Power reduction or automatic shutdown are both protective measures. Shutdowns vary by manufacturer: some phones will shut down at 0% while others will automatically shut down when the temperature drops too low.
Tips for using your phone in cold temperatures
When you’re outdoors, there are a few simple things you can do to extend battery life without needing to charge.
First, try not to expose your phone to low temperatures. Keep your phone in your pocket or in your bag so it can be protected from the cold. If a call comes in, use your headset to answer it instead of taking the phone out.
If your phone is turned off outside, wait until you move to a warmer temperature before restarting your phone. Simply put, put a protective cover around the phone.