iPhones in cold weather

Shewie

Chief Slackpacker
Staff member
Work treated us to new phones last year, iPhone SE’s, yeah I know :rolleyes: But compared to the old Nokia Windows phones they’re a big improvement, I can actually install apps and stuff.

But the battery is total pants in cooler weather, and I’m not talking about sub zero either. I can take my phone out with say 80% battery, try and take a picture or fire up a nav app and it shuts down, when it comes back on the battery is less than 10%

Is this a thing with iPhones?

Complete mobile luddite here so go easy on me :)
 

WilliamC

Thru Hiker
My experience with android phones is that they're fine to something like minus ten. Below that, the phone itself can get a bit erratic/slow to respond but I haven't had it shut down on me.
I've had the Sony RX100 turn off when it was about minus ten and the camera battery was lowish.
I normally keep the phone in a pocket when it gets seriously cold.
 

dovidola

Thru Hiker
Used and pretty much relied on iPhone hiking for the last 10 years. iPhone 4, then 6, now 11. Not had any difficulty yet. Lowest temperature probably around minus 5C.

in my experience (also a mobile Luddite), any problem I encounter is most likely to be due to 'pilot error'. The malfunctioning you describe is certainly not to be expected of any mobile phone, so it's worth finding a child to play with it, and if they can't show you where you're going wrong it might be time to return it to your company for exchange.
 

Odd Man

Thru Hiker
I know this is not directly about the cold weather, but a fresh install IOS & apps tend to have a lot of features that suck up the energy. Here's some IOS tips to improve battery life I posted in another thread a few months ago. Maybe this'll help a bit.

1. Settings - Battery, will show you which apps use the most of battery. Use that to your advantage
2. Settings - General - Background App Refresh, most apps don't really need background refresh, so switch them off except for the ones that you think you need, like navigation app etc
3. Settings - Privacy - Location Services, set location off for most apps "never" or at least "while using" to minimise the GPS usage
4. Settings - Mobile Data - Mobile Data Options - Voice & Data, set to 3G, unless you need hi-speed data. 4G is faster thus using more energy as well for transfer and pinging the cell towers more often, as the range is shorter than 3G cells. Using 3G keeps the phone linked to a cell longer before switching to the nest. This is if you need to use data.
5. Settings - Mobile Data - Mobile Data Options - Voice & Data, switch to Low Data Mode, this will minimise the data usage
6. Settings - Battery, switch to low power mode. This also minimises the background app refresh among other activities
7. Settings - Airplane Mode, this turns off voice & data and Wifi. Nowadays it doesn't switch off Bluetooth
8. Settings - Bluetooth, turn off Bluetooth unless using (Airplane mode doesn't turn off BT in newer iPhones)
9. Use Dark Mode in the phone & apps.
10. Use minimal brightness. Disable auto brightness and set the brightness to minimal usable level.
11. Disable notifications on lock screen. These light up the lock screen and use energy.
12. Disable iCloud photo/video automatic upload unless you use it for backup. As soon as a photo is taken, IOS tries to back it up in the cloud and in remote areas the weak signal eats a lot of battery while constantly trying to upload large media files.
 
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Shewie

Chief Slackpacker
Staff member
Interesting, I presume my woes are weather/temp related as the battery is fine day to day with normal use, it’s just when I’m out in the sticks it plays up.

I’ll try and make more of an effort to keep it somewhere warm whilst it’s not being used, and see if that improves things.

I’ve read about Li-ion cells being crap is serious cold can’t quite work out what’s going on with mine.

An example, up in Scotland a few weeks ago, mild conditions around 10*c and dry, set off with 100% charge, did a coupe of hours, took the phone out of my pack for a few piccies, battery showed 86%, hit the shutter button and instant shutdown. Powered back up and now showing less than 10%

I’ve asked work if they have any spares but I didn’t fancy a pink one
 

Odd Man

Thru Hiker
Interesting, I presume my woes are weather/temp related as the battery is fine day to day with normal use, it’s just when I’m out in the sticks it plays up.

I’ll try and make more of an effort to keep it somewhere warm whilst it’s not being used, and see if that improves things.

This is why the Nitro has a chest pocket... :D

I may need to ad a new item on the battery saver list... iCloud Photo upload. IOS uploads photos to iCloud as a backup if not disabled. This of course uses data uploading big files to the cloud in a remote area where the signal is weak(er) and thus slow(er).
 

dovidola

Thru Hiker
Interesting, I presume my woes are weather/temp related as the battery is fine day to day with normal use, it’s just when I’m out in the sticks it plays up.

That will be the issue then! If you use your iPhone in normal mode (including, and especially, when it's just 'resting' in standby mode) while "out in the sticks" you are probably without a phone or data signal. What your phone is programmed to do in those conditions is search ever harder for a (non-existent) signal, which, unbeknownst to its hapless user, rapidly drains the battery.

Sounds to me @Shewie that you're draining your battery this way, and possibly also trying to use Apps which need internet access when you haven't any.

Solution: When "out in the sticks" use Airplane Mode!
 

Shewie

Chief Slackpacker
Staff member
Yeah airplane mode is on when I’m out

I played around with all that stuff when I first got it
 

Arne L.

Section Hiker
I had more or less the same issue with my iPhone 6, became worse & worse over time. Upgraded to a 8 late 2018, not had any issues so far.

You might have a defective unit; if it's still under warranty I'd head to a Apple Store.
 

Robin

Moderator
Staff member
I have an iPhone 6. The battery life has never been great but as it gets more out of date, despite having the battery replaced, the battery life has been getting worse and worse. I think it’s probably down to the processor being worked harder and harder with iOS and app upgrades. The battery low power mode is good at saving juice. If you put it in airplane mode, it lasts a lot longer. At times losing battery power seems to be a bit random. It will stay in the 90s for a long time and then suddenly lurch down. I will probably bow to the inevitable in the next year and upgrade.
 

Diddi

Thru Hiker
Really sounds faulty to me, I would call the Iphone shop and explain.
They will book it in for a look at and if its the phone thats faulty will replace there and then usually, or they used to..

I'd be angry if i found one :D Oh I did find one today whilst out river walking and asked a runner if he had lost one!, he hadn't then a guy I passed in the carpark earlier came running along.
He got half way home before he realised he'd lost it and had to run the walk he did earlier again to find phone :eeker:.
The runner told him I had found one so good deed done for today, phone returned to rightful owner :thumbsup: :)
 
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Foxster

Section Hiker
No.1 son's Samsung phone was dire too on our last winter outing a few weeks ago. Too smart for its own good.

First it detected some damp and wouldn't let him charge it. Then when exposed to the cold for a couple of minutes whilst checking the map, the charge went from 60% to 2% and then shut down. Was fine back in the car the next day.

Some models and individual phones just seem really bad in the cold. About the only thing you can do is keep it warm and dry in a close-to-body-heat inside pocket.
 

Diddi

Thru Hiker
First it detected some damp and wouldn't let him charge it. Then when exposed to the cold for a couple of minutes whilst checking the map, the charge went from 60% to 2% and then shut down. Was fine back in the car the next day.
.
Usually means water is in the charger port.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/383252064709
These can help but look around and you can multi buy for around same price as they are easy to lose.
 

Lang pack

Summit Camper
I have a iPhone se and suffer the same problem. Turns it’s self off when left in the sun on holiday too. My pal who lives in the Swiss alps has no problem with his Samsung in lower temperatures than we would normally experience in this country. Phone stuck up your armpit for a few minutes usually wakes it up again briefly.
 

benp1

Trail Blazer
iphone user for absolutely years here. Have used them in all sorts of weather and it's been fine. Has been to arctic winter (lapland) and was fine there too. Usually kept in a pocket though. Rarely gets left in a bag because I like to use the camera. It goes in a bag if it's raining but then it's not cold!
 

Michael_x

Section Hiker
To my surprise I had the water in charging port android phone message one night not too long ago. Temp around -2c so I put it down to condensation. (Could also be damp in battery pack since it did get dropped in the stream that runs down Piers Gill recently). I'm planning to try keeping it in sealed bag overnight in future to see if if that helps. If not then the rubber stoppers @Diddi look like plan B.

Not had other battery issues but I tend to keep it in inner chest pocket during the day so body heat keeps it warm.

Edited to add for clarity that it was an external battery pack charger that took the swim and not the phone.
 
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Shewie

Chief Slackpacker
Staff member
iphone user for absolutely years here. Have used them in all sorts of weather and it's been fine. Has been to arctic winter (lapland) and was fine there too. Usually kept in a pocket though. Rarely gets left in a bag because I like to use the camera. It goes in a bag if it's raining but then it's not cold!

What do you do with it when you’re on your bike, I had the same issue recently pedalling around Ennerdale, phone in a ziplock inside a fuel pod on the top tube.
 

Munro277

Thru Hiker
I’ve had a few iPhones now and not noticed a problem myself but do try and keep phone in a pocket/sleeve of old pile material ,try and keep it pants leg pocket so prob some heat helping it ? While there
 

oreocereus

Thru Hiker
I've had the same problem for a few years with my iphone 6s. Really, anything lower than 10c(!) and I can watch the battery percentages ticking down like a microwave timer.. Humidity seems to do it too. If I take my phone out and take some pictures at the beach on a brisker-than-usual day I encounter the same problems.

I basically just don't use my phone for backpacking purposes at all as a result. It is frustrating on occasions when I "need it" or if I want to listen to a podcast at night.
 

Dave V

Moderator
Staff member
I moved to a P20 Pro last year and find that worse in than my old iPhone 7 tbh. Cracking battery life normally but in the cold, shocking
 

Nigelp

Section Hiker
Work treated us to new phones last year, iPhone SE’s, yeah I know :rolleyes: But compared to the old Nokia Windows phones they’re a big improvement, I can actually install apps and stuff.

But the battery is total pants in cooler weather, and I’m not talking about sub zero either. I can take my phone out with say 80% battery, try and take a picture or fire up a nav app and it shuts down, when it comes back on the battery is less than 10%

Is this a thing with iPhones?

Complete mobile luddite here so go easy on me :)
Without reading the whole thread. It’s that model of phone! I have an iPhone XR and the battery life is fantastic. I can stick it on battery save mode and track all day with ViewRanger and only use 40% of battery.

Not had the problems in the cold I used to have with previous phone versions.
 
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benp1

Trail Blazer
What do you do with it when you’re on your bike, I had the same issue recently pedalling around Ennerdale, phone in a ziplock inside a fuel pod on the top tube.

one of a few options, depending on bike luggage, weather and length of trip. In descending order
- waist pack
- jacket pocket
- top tube pack
- rucksack
- shorts pocket (if there’s a zip)
- jersey pocket
- accessory pocket on front harness
 
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