Next time you’re slathering yourself with sunscreen or fighting for that shred of shade in the parking lot, remember what else needs protection against the heat: your tech. Just as your bod can overheat, burn or get permanent sun damage, so can your delicate devices. Luckily, it’s easy to protect your tech with a few tips.
Don’t let your devices sunbathe. You wouldn’t lie out in the direct sun (I hope), and neither should your devices; they can quickly start to cook. And no one wants to see that scary “Temperature: iPhone needs to cool down before you can use it” message pop up and interrupt a call. So if your phone is sitting on your car’s console—say, when you’re using it for navigation or for hands-free calling—keep in mind that the windshield can amplify the sun (think of those poor ants under a microscope and you’ll get the idea). If your phone does overheat, resist the urge to pop it into the fridge or freezer (that could cause internal condensation, which is no good for the components and has “voided warranty” all over it). Instead, take it to an air-conditioned place and let it cool gradually.
Save your summer snapshots. Quick quiz: when you’ve filled up a memory card, what’s the safest place to put it? Don’t say ‘in my pocket’… don’t say ‘in my pocket’… Though it might sound like an urban legend, pocketing those cards can actually cause static buildup, and wipe saved images right off them. Instead, stash them safely in their plastic case, ideally inside your camera bag.
Cool it. If you can’t keep your laptop out of the heat, use a cooling pad. Propping it on a pillow or beach blanket instead will cause heat buildup, so beware. Also be sure to keep your laptop fan running efficiently by giving it an occasional cleansing blast with canned air (not a vacuum, which can cause static buildup).
Let it flow. Got a PC tower? Make sure at least six inches of space surround it. That way, when heat escapes the vents, it doesn’t get trapped and create an oven effect. Yep, that also means clearing your towering to-do pile from the top surface (sorry).
Be safe from these beach bummers. Sand, surf and sunscreen are no fun when they tangle with your tech. If you take your devices to the beach, bag ’em in Ziplocs, and Scotch tape over the ports when you’re using them. Otherwise, sand and sea can cause corrosion—or at least be a pain to clean out. And if you’re really going to do lots of time at the beach or by the water this summer, waterproof cases from Otterbox or LifeProof are a great investment.
So suit up, grab your boogie board, your tablet and these tips. Then, when you’re Googling the best beach shack or using an app to check the waves, you’ll know you can have fun in the sun while your devices have it made in the shade.
Got more summer tech-saving tips? Share them in the comments!