You may have heard stories from friends and family about how they or a friend of theirs put their overheating phone in the freezer to cool it down, but how much truth is there to these stories?
Does it really help a cell phone to sit in the freezer for a while? These questions and much more about this subject will be covered in this feature.
This is actually a general question, and there are a lot of misinformed stories floating around. We will get to the bottom of whether or not this is a good idea or a bad idea and perhaps learn something along the way.
Can You Put Your Phone In the Freezer?
Yes, you can put your phone in the freezer, but it is more of a question of whether you should put your phone in the freezer.
So long as you are a full-grown adult, you can do almost anything you want; it is your choice; however, just because you can do something does not always mean that you should do it.
While you can put your phone in the freezer, you should not. Doing so can bring many problems for the device, and also think about this question.
You are asking if an electrically powered device can be put into a freezing cold, damp environment, and to answer plainly, no, you should absolutely not put your phone into the freezer.
No matter what outcome you are hoping for, it is a terrible idea to put your phone in the freezer; most phones are made to be pretty resilient these days so that they can withstand what people are likely to expose them to, such as hot summer days and chilly winter nights and everything in between.
The average freezer will sit at a temperature of 0° F (-18°C), and considering that your iPhone or Android should not see any temperatures below 32 degrees, you should never put your phone in a freezer.
Putting your phone into a freezer can only bring potential damage, battery loss, and or irreparable water damage.
What Happens If You Put Your Phone in the Freezer
When you put your phone into a freezer, it is quickly exposed to freezing temperatures; hence, the name “freezer,” a freezer does what the title says, it will freeze almost anything that is put into it.
It does this by vapor condensing, but that is another story for another time. Your phone is no different in this regard; when you put your phone into a freezer (even if it is in a sealed bag), you are exposing your phone to very small water vapors that take the form of tiny droplets.
These droplets can get inside your phone and dampen components. That is not all, though; below, you will find some of the ways that putting your phone into a freezer can damage it.
Ice is likely the biggest threat to your device when you put it into a freezer, and whether you can see it or not, it is everywhere within the freezer.
To put it into a digestible form, a freezer uses a sealed-in system with refrigerant that takes the heat from inside the freezer and pumps it to the compressor.
Where the compressor pumps the refrigerant through a set of coils that typically surround the freezer unit, the compressor pumps the refrigerant in a gas form throughout the collection of condenser coils.
This is where the condenser coils condense the refrigerant gas into a hot liquid form. The coils dissipate the heat as the liquid travels through them.
Once the refrigerant has passed through the condensing coils and the capillary tube, it travels to the evaporator coils cooling compartment; then it has flowed to the compressor where it turned back into a liquid, then the process repeats the cycle.
The keyword in that process is “condense” since this is what happens to water vapor within the freezer; the same thing will occur inside your phone.
Even if you believe that your phone is bone dry, it is not, especially when it is in the freezer; there is water vapor all around it (even if it is in a sealed bag), and this vapor can get inside your phone, forming around circuits and the battery.
To make matters worse, the condensed water vapor then expands, creating pressure inside your cellphone and against its fragile circuits along with vulnerable components.
Even if your phone is waterproof, this will occur when you leave your phone in the freezer. This can bring severe damage or even irreparable damage.
2. Honey, I Think I Shrank My Phone
When things freeze, they also slowly shrink; it is for the same reason that when you put a full water bottle in a freezer and when it freezes, it could pop open and spill water everywhere.
This is due to the compression that the freezing environment creates, which can affect your phone.
This reaction (aka thermal contraction) can severely affect the metals that are inside your phone.
Now, if your phone is hot or particularly warm, the freezer will not cool it down very quickly; however, if you leave your phone in the freezer for long enough, it will reach a frozen state.
When your phone gets cold enough, such as when it reaches the freezing point, the metal materials within your phone will contract; this can result in separation, shorts, and or loosened connections.
Even if your phone is waterproof, the shrinkage brought on by the cold can cause damage to any waterproof lining that may be on your phone.
3. Battery Degradation
Phone batteries do not do well in extreme temperatures, and this applies to both hot and cold.
Cold temperatures, unfortunately, shorten the lifespan of your phone’s battery since any battery that spends time in a cold environment will lose charge much more quickly. It will lose more of its lifespan the longer it is in the cold climate.
Basically, if your phone were a living person, the cold would be a vampire to it, leaching life from the battery little by little.
This also applies when you remove your phone from the freezer, your phone will lose its battery charge at a faster rate than before you put it into the freezer.
4. Cold Temperatures
A lot of people consider putting their phone into a freezer to help cool it down; however, this process does not work how you likely think it does.
If your phone is overheating and you decide to put it in the freezer, the first thing that is likely to happen is what is referred to as a temperature exchange, and this occurs when you put anything room temperature, warm, or hot into a much colder environment such as a freezer.
Essentially, if you were to set your phone on a wire rack in the freezer, it would not cool very quickly since it has minimal contact in order to exchange the heat coming from the phone.
If you were to lean your phone against a bag of frozen peas, the bag of frozen peas would take on the majority of the heat coming off of your phone, and this is an example of heat exchange.
With that said, you should not lean your hot phone on a bag of frozen peas since the heat exchange will cause condensation, and also unfreezing water droplets could drop into your phone. Keep in mind that it is not safe for your phone to overheat.
If your phone often overheats, this can become dangerous since the phone can indeed explode, and there are reports of this occurring.
You will want to contact the manufacturer to see if your warranty will cover such a problem, and you may need to look into getting a replacement.
What to Do If You Left Your Phone In the Freezer
As previously depicted, freezing temperatures are no good for your phone, so you are going to want to warm it back up but not too much and not too fast, either. Smartphones are best to be kept at a typical room temperature in order to function correctly.
Be careful how you go about warming up your device, you should never put your smartphone in the oven or microwave, and you should not put it on something that is hot such as a stove or a hot plate.
You want to warm up your device, you certainly do not want to cook it, and as previously mentioned, you do not want it to warm up too quickly.
Remember, extreme temperature changes can stress your phone’s screen to the point of cracking; this includes the inner workings of your phone, such as the battery, circuits, and connections.
1. Dry Your Device
The first thing you will want to do when you have left your phone in the freezer is to take it out of the freezer and lay it on a soft microfiber towel.
Allow your phone to sit for at least a minute; after letting it sit for a bit, you will want to take the microfiber cloth and thoroughly dry the outside of the phone.
Once the outside is dry, you will want to carefully remove the back of your phone, be sure that your phone is turned off before you do this; you can do this by gently but firmly pulling between the back cover of the phone and the front.
It should separate relatively easily. Once the inside of the backside of your phone is exposed, you will want to gently pat the exposed back with the microfiber cloth, then carefully remove the battery from its holding compartment.
Next, you will want to dry the battery (even if it seems dry), which you can do carefully with the microfiber cloth and a paper towel if necessary.
If you possibly have some Q-tips, you will want to grab a couple and gently dry the connection points in the battery holding compartment; these are the small, metal-looking plates typically towards the top of the case and possibly the bottom.
You can also carefully dry the SIM card and the SIM card tray with a microfiber cloth. For the sake of being thorough, you can also gently remove the SIM card from its holding spot and carefully dry it with the microfiber cloth.
With the battery out, the SIM card out, and the back phone cover off, spread out all three pieces on a soft microfiber cloth (preferably on a counter). At this point, you can put the pieces into a container or ziplock bag with silica gel packets.
Silica gel packets are the packets you typically find in a packaged box such as a box of new shoes, these silica gel packets are excellent at absorbing moisture, and they are also a much better alternative to putting your phone in rice.
Putting your phone in rice is not as good as you may have heard; this could do more harm than good since small grains of rice, dust, and starch can get into small crevices within your device.
2. Warm Your Device
While you have all of the parts spread out on the microfiber cloth drying, you can set them (while on the microfiber cloth) nearby a radiator or heater but not too close; you want your phone to warm up steadily, not immediately.
Once you are confident that all of the pieces are completely dry, you can carefully slide the SIM card back into the SIM card tray, then place the battery back into its holding compartment, being sure that the connective points line up and meet comfortably.
Once those parts are back in place, you can carefully pop the back cover back onto your phone and press around the edges to be sure it clasps on; you should hear a few satisfying clicks while doing so, which is exactly what you want.
Once your phone is assembled, you will need it to be beside something warm, and this could be in your pocket, beside a heater, or even on top of the dashboard in your car while the heater pushes warm air out.
Then you can pat your phone and apologize for leaving it in the freezer.
How to Prevent Your Phone From Overheating in the First Place
As you probably are aware, letting your phone overheat is terrible for the device and especially the battery.
Much like when the battery is too cold, when the battery on your phone gets too hot, it will severely affect the performance of the battery, such as draining energy much quicker.
Overheating will also deplete the lifespan of your battery; these effects can also last, meaning that the battery will not function the same after being overheated.
You will want to avoid letting your phone overheat, and there are methods to prevent it from occurring in the first place.
To prevent your phone from overheating, you will want to avoid leaving your phone in direct sunlight, as the heat and UV rays will quickly heat up the phone to a concerning level.
Another suitable method to prevent your phone from overheating is to keep the brightness level low; if you are not aware, you can manually adjust your phone’s screen brightness level on the quick settings menu.
You can access it by either swiping down from the very top of your smartphone’s screen or double tapping at the top of the screen.
You do not need to have your phone’s screen brightness at a high level at all times; if you are inside, you can adjust the brightness level to where it is enough to be visible, not bright.
To help prevent your phone from overheating, it is good to keep your apps updated, as these updates come with essential bug fixes which will only help the efficiency of your phone.
1. Don’t Play Music at Full Volume While Your Phone is Charging
One suitable method to prevent your phone from overheating is not to play music from your phone at total volume while it is charging.
Blasting music on your phone with the volume all the way up is not a good idea in the first place since this could damage or blow out the tiny speaker on your smartphone.
Also, it is not always wise to use your phone while it is charging since when you charge or discharge your phone’s battery, they are both known as a “cycle,” this is a way of measuring the battery life.
For example, if a phone battery claims to have 2000 cycles, this essentially means that it can be charged and discharged up to 2000 times and function correctly.
With this in mind, when you are using your phone while it is charging, you are pretty much racking up the number of cycles which is not suitable for the lifespan of your phone’s battery.
2. Don’t Use A High Watt Charger
Using a high-watt charger for your phone is an excellent way to charge your phone quickly; your smartphone has a chip in it that will regulate how much power is received, so the high-watt charger will not push your phone’s battery.
So, while a high-watt charger will not have any adverse effects, you will not want to use your phone while it is charging since that is where the battery can suffer.
3. Don’t Use A Fast Charger
When you charge your phone battery or any power holder/conductor, it does generate heat even when slow charging; the heat generated may be less, but it is present.
When you are using a faster charger (also known as a rapid charger), the rate at which the energy is transferred is increased; therefore, the heat generated will be more significant.
It is for this reason that it can potentially decrease your phone’s battery lifespan, and previously we learned that high heat is especially bad for your battery.
Also, try not to use your phone while using a fast charger, as any time that you use your phone while it is charging, you are increasing the cycles that your battery goes through.
4. Don’t Charge Your Phone Overnight While It’s Under Your Pillow
Now, while it is not necessarily harmful to leave your phone charging overnight since once it has charged to completion (100%), your phone’s battery will automatically stop drawing energy from the power source.
However, if you are to be charging your phone while you are in bed and you feel the sleep coming on, you slide your hand under your pillow with the phone still in your hand, this is not good for the phone and its battery.
While it is not recommended, it is okay to have your hand on the phone while charging since your circulatory system will take in the heat transferred and expel it.
With that said, you do not want your phone to be covered by your pillow while charging since the pillow is likely to hold the heat being produced by the charging process, which can lead to the device overheating.
Also, you want sufficient airflow for your phone while it is charging. This both helps keep it cooler and lets your phone “breathe.”
By allowing sufficient air flow to your charging phone, it not only helps the battery stay cool but also the whole phone itself as well, being circuits and the SIM card.
5. Don’t Use Your Phone For Too Long on Hot Days
On long, hot summer days, you will want to avoid using your phone continuously since this can very quickly lead to your phone overheating. If you are in an air-conditioned building, you will not need to worry too much about your phone overheating.
However, if you must be outside for the majority of a hot day, you will want to keep your phone use to a minimum and try to avoid carrying the phone in your pocket.
You could potentially keep it in a bag such as a backpack and keep the bag in shaded areas to keep it as cool as possible.
If you are using a hydration pack, you could keep your phone in one of the pockets (if there is any) this way, and the nearby contained water will help keep it cool but be careful not to get your phone wet.
6. Don’t Leave Your Phone In Your Pocket While You’re Working Out on a Hot Day
If you work outside and typically all day long, you will want to avoid carrying your phone in your pocket on hot days.
This author speaks from experience; when working as a day laborer, the days can get very toasty, and when you are performing physical labor, your blood flow increases along with your heart beat rate; this causes your core to heat up more than usual.
So, if you are carrying your phone in your pocket, not only is it exposed to the heat of the sun on your pants pocket, but it is also getting the heat that radiates off of you while working in the heat.
If you have a nearby vehicle, you can keep your phone in there and try to place it in a cooler area if your car is also warm; such as in the glove department, under one of the seats, or on the floorboard where it will not receive any sunlight.
If you, by chance, have a cooler bag that helps keep your lunch cool, you could put your phone nearby the bag or lean it on the bag but be careful that no condensation gets on your phone.
Another possible spot is in your toolbox, so long as you keep the toolbox in a shaded cool area and be careful not to damage your phone with any of your tools or ones you may retrieve throughout the day.
We are not sure where precisely this myth of putting your phone into a freezer to cool it started, but anyone familiar with technology will shake their head at this suggestion, as it is absolutely absurd.
You may be aware of the trick of putting a DVD into a freezer so that the DVD player will read the disc, and this trick does typically work.
Still, a DVD or CD has no active electrical components that can be damaged by ice, water, or cold temperatures. It would be fantastic if it did work this way for smartphones, but it does not, and you are better off seeking out more effective, less damaging alternatives.
Overheating is a very real problem for smartphones, but so long as you take the proper precautions, you can avoid it from occurring, such as using the helpful tips provided in this feature.
Remember to keep your apps updated, as even this can contribute to your phone overheating, but that is all the more reason to keep up on it, and yet, another thing that updates can help your device with.
We hope you found some answers in this helpful article, and if you did, you could consider sharing it with a friend or family member that may not know just how damaging it can be to put your phone in a freezer.