Smartphones slow down in hot weather because the processors that power them have been designed to do so. These processors are heat-sensitive, so will reduce power usage when it’s warm to stop themselves from overheating. Essentially, the slowing down of processes means the phone runs slower, but that’s to prevent them overheating – which could cause irrevocable damage.
Batteries drain more quickly too
Slower processors have a further knock-on effect, impacting the life of your battery. The slowing of processes means electricity is drawn out of the battery for much longer periods, running it down quicker than usual. On top of this, using the phone’s screen or GPS chip will generate additional heat, making it warmer still – slowing down processes yet again and impacting battery life further.
Heat doesn’t just run batteries down faster but also makes charging them a much longer process. Smartphone batteries are equipped with thermal control systems to stop them overheating and causing a meltdown. With warmer conditions bringing the standard temperature closer to this thermal ceiling (and the process of charging causing additional heat anyway), it will take longer than usual to reach full power.
Again, this is part of the design and, whilst a minor inconvenience for users wanting speed, it will keep the phone in better condition in the longer term. As temperatures of more than 30C can cause serious damage to the chemical components within batteries, users should be thankful there are measures in place to prevent this from happening.
Warm homes, gardens and workplaces are not the only worry, this summer as screens can also crack when left in hot cars. As tech journalist at theguardian.com Samuel Gibbs explains:
“The fine liquid layers of a screen can swell under high heat, which means pixels can blow and glass can crack. Leaving a phone within a hot glovebox on a sunny day is asking for trouble.”
To avoid the effects of the summer heat on your handset, we recommend that phones are kept out of the sun as much as possible to avoid any problems.