Your iPhone is just like you: It really hates the cold.
When the temperature drops below freezing, iPhones can start malfunctioning: Your smartphone might not sense your touch, the battery dies faster and, if it's cold enough, the thing just shuts off.
On its website, Apple suggests that you only use your (4th generation or later) iPhone in environments between 32º and 95º F, since "low- or high-temperature conditions might temporarily shorten battery life or cause the device to alter its behavior to regulate its temperature."
If the temperature drops below 32º, your best bet is keeping your phone turned off and stored somewhere warmer, Apple suggests. It'll probably still work though -- so you can take your chances. But when the temperature gets crazy low, falling below -4º, Apple says to put it away. (You should also store it when the mercury tops 113º F.)
Toronto's Global News recently ran an experiment to see how iPhones reacted to the cold. They took two iPhones of the same model and left one outside in the cold (where temps barely edged above zero Fahrenheit ) and took the other one inside. Thirty minutes later, the iPhone that was inside had gone from 100 percent battery life to 99 percent, while the one left in the cold had dropped to 86 percent from 100. When they tried to use the cold iPhone it shut off.
If your iPhone has been been acting differently during the polar vortex these past few days, you're not alone:
It would seem that my iPhone does not like the Polar Vertex. Is anyone else's battery getting drained way quicker?
— Sheila Dharmarajan (@SheilaD_TV) January 8, 2014
Also, I learned firsthand today that your iPhone will shutdown when it's too cold. Thaaaat's comforting. #polarvaltrex
— Bradley Traynor (@bradleytraynor) January 8, 2014
It's one of those days when my fingers get so cold the iPhone doesn't sense me. I don't really exist.
— Caitlin Kittredge (@caitkitt) January 3, 2014
To keep your iPhone warm, you can keep it close to your body and use a case. Also, stop checking your iPhone so much when you're walking outside!!
It's not just the iPhone that struggles in the cold. Finland's MikroPC tested 15 cell phones to see how they would fare in increasingly cold temperatures, and all of them eventually failed once they got cold enough. The first to stop working was the iPhone 4S, which died at 14 degrees. The Samsung Galaxy II lasted the longest, not shutting down until the temperature reached -31 degrees.