Whether you’re a fan of the warmer months or not, your tech probably isn’t.
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be looking at some of the problems that can arise from gadgets overheating, what situations which may make them overheat, and steps you can take to prevent it.
Tech giants like Google, Microsoft and Amazon operate data centres and server farms with enormous, expensive climate control systems – this is because cool and dry environments are better for technology in general.
Humidity can cause failures to happen faster, as can exposure to dust and debris, but the real killer of tech components is heat. Billions have been spent on research and development into better ways to disperse and regulate heat inside our devices and make them more resilient, but they are still susceptible to damage from heat.
This isn’t just the case for high-end server technology either, all kinds of tech from laptops and desktops to mobile phones and printers will perform better and have a longer lifespan if they’re kept in a cool, clean and dry environment.
Considering how delicate their internal components are, many phones and tablets now are surprisingly resistant to heat-related damage, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be treated with care.
Batteries in particular can swell or even explode if overheated.
Many devices are damaged or destroyed every year by heat, and usually because they’ve been left in hot vehicles or on windowsills in bright sunlight. You may not think too much of forgetting your phone on your car’s dashboard while you pop into a shop, but if it’s a hot day and left in direct sunlight, you could damage your device.
If you need to store your device in a warm environment during the summer months, (such as in the boot of a car,) make sure that the device is switched off beforehand. This will prevent it from generating any heat itself and potentially making the problem worse.
Don’t use cool blocks, refrigerators, or similar things to cool your tech down unless it’s specifically designed for cooling tech; doing so could create condensation or introduce moisture to the device which can also cause irreparable damage.
Avoid leaving your tech in direct sunlight for prolonged periods. Most devices aren’t made to regulate their external temperature; any heat management will be designed to deal with the heat that the device itself creates when in operation.
Most devices will turn off if they’re too hot (or too cold, but that’s something you’re unlikely to see in the UK at present). This is set to a level that will prevent damage to the device – the device will slow itself down or turn itself off before any damage is done to it internally. Turning off means that the device is no longer generating heat itself from operating, and gives it chance to cool down.
If your phone or tablet switches off due to temperature, it’s a good idea to leave it in a cool place for a while before turning it back on. Most current phones and tablets will tell you if they previously switched off due to heat. If this is a recurring problem, you may want to take your device in for inspection or repair, or replace it.
Don’t plug in (charge) a device that’s overheating. Charging generates heat in the battery. While most devices will have circuitry that prevents the battery from charging over a certain temperature, it’s really not worth taking the risk.
Next week we’ll continue on with our tips for helping your tech survive the summer!