Protect Your Tech Gear from the Winter Elements

For many of us, the polar vortex is back. Not a fan of the frigid temps? You’re not alone – chances are your tech gear feels the same way.

Drastic changes in temperature – as you switch between indoors and outdoors – can do some damage to screens and other parts of your gadgets. Be proactive and keep your gear safe and happy this winter with these tips from Geek Squad: 

Do:

  1. Use a protective case for your gear: Most of us keep our cell phones in our pockets or purses, which lowers the chance of harm, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. By using a protective, waterproof case you can protect them from possible slush and water damage.
  1. Take powerful precautions: To protect your gear during power outages caused by winter weather, make sure your gadgets’ power sources are connected to surge protectors rather than a wall outlet. Also, if you want the security of using your devices even when electricity is down, consider upgrading your power strip to an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). This can give you 10 to 30 minutes of power, which can be a lifesaver.
  1. Use gadgets that make your life easier: If you plan on being outside often, it might be helpful to use an inexpensive smartwatch like the Pebble. You can see notifications like texts, calls and emails without having to pull out your phone. A Bluetooth headset or wired earbuds with a microphone and control button are also good options, so you can control your phone without removing it from your warm pockets.

Don’t:

  1. Leave your electronics in the cold: It’s easy to leave your cell phone in the car (we all do it!) but this leaves them vulnerable to condensation, which could lead to permanent damage. If you must leave your device in the car, make sure that it’s insulated by a protective case and that you have a spare battery with you, if possible. Also, let your device warm up to room temperature before you turn it on again.
  1. Panic if snowflakes fall on your cell phone: Drop your phone in the snow? Don’t panic. Once you’re inside, take out your battery and SIM card (if your phone has one). This card can contain all of your contact info, so if you aren’t able to resurrect your phone, you could at least save your contact information, if you hadn’t already backed it up to the cloud. Then, dry the device with a clean microfiber cloth or paper towel and place it in an air tight container with packets of silica gel to absorb the moisture. You can find these at outdoor stores or packed in with a new pair of shoes.
  1. Get lost in the snow: Before severe weather strikes, invest in a GPS device or install a GPS phone app that can alert you to bad weather conditions and help you find alternate routes and steer clear of snow, sleet and slush. And remember, your GPS is only as good as its maps – so make sure to download the latest and greatest versions.