5 Ways to Keep Your Smartphone Cool During a Heatwave

It's a stifling 101 degrees here in New York right now, and it's not just the LAPTOP staff that's melting. The mobile gadgets in our pockets are suffering in this heat as well. An overheated smartphone is not only a nuisance; it's also potentially dangerous. Balmy weather adds to the problem of hot-running cell phone batteries, which have been known to cause second-degree burns in extreme situations.

Because dealing with the scorching temperatures outside is enough, we have five tips for keeping your gadgets from adding to the blaze.

1. Store Your Device in the Appropriate Temperature

According to Apple's support article on acceptable operating temperatures (for its iPad, iPhone, and iPod—though these are good guidelines for all mobile devices), you shouldn't keep your tech in environments that get colder than 32 degrees or exceed 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

In addition to upping your risk for battery burn, storing your device in extreme temperatures can shorten battery life and even impair a gadget's functionality. Helpfully, Apple devices will display a temperature warning screen when things are getting too toasty.

2. Keep Resource-Intensive Apps to a Minimum

Games and apps that stream music may be the most fun, but they're also the most taxing on your smartphone's battery. Keep these to a minimum, and further protect the battery by limiting the number of open applications. The less strain on the battery, the less heat your gadget will generate.

3. Turn Off Unnecessary Connections

Your phone's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS antennae all add to the CPU's workload—especially when your phone only has a few bars and is searching for a stronger signal. When you don't need these connections, disable them via your phone's Settings menu.

4. Disable Background Data from Running

Push notifications are great, but like everything else, they add stress to your phone's CPU and battery. Disable your handset from automatically checking for new e-mails, IMs, and other updates in the Settings menu.

5. Protect Your Skin with a Silicone Case

There's only so much you can do to limit the amount of heat your handset emits, but a thin, soft-touch silicone case adds a buffer between your handset and your skin.

For the iPhone 4, we like the Tech Candy iPhone 4 Bordeaux Case Set ($32.99), which includes both a silicone inner wrap and a stylish outer shell. Android and BlackBerry users will have to search for cases that fit their specific  handset model, but there are plenty of attractive and cheap options.

Bonus: Keep Your Laptop Cool

Though you're hopefully using your notebook somewhere air-conditioned and out of the sweltering sun, that larger battery generates more heat than your smartphone and it carries the larger risk of overheating to match. To let your laptop's fan expel heat properly, avoid leaving the machine on the sofa or bed, and if you do head outdoors, stay in the shade.

If you want to take a more proactive approach, invest in a laptop fan stand, such as the Belkin F5L001 Laptop Cooling Pad or the Logitech Cooling Pad N100.

LAPTOP Staff Writer