Sunlight Will Kill Your Phone


Photo taken from

One version of the smartphone’s “Heat Screen of Death”.

Kayla Vittore, Reporter

      Everyone knows how bad it is to drop your phone in water, but did you know that sunlight can be just as harmful, if not more so?  During the summer, don’t leave your phone out in the sun too long.  It will most definitely burn, not tan.

      Electronics don’t fare well in the summer’s heat at all.  Once the temperature hits about 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the sunlight will start taking its toll.  First, your battery life will drain faster.  As the phone gets hotter, the hard drive will start to expand.  If the hard drive becomes damaged, it will cause the phone to process and open things slower and possibly lose saved data.  If the day is humid, the temperature rise can cause condensation to start forming on the inside of the phone.  The condensation can ruin the inner components of the phone.

      If you leave your phone face-up in the sun, that’s even worse.  In many touch-screen phones, there is a thin liquid layer beneath the screen necessary for it to recognize where you’re pressing.  If left in the heat long enough, this liquid could start evaporating and thus leave your screen somewhat or completely unresponsive.

      The final stages of phone overheating will occur around 115 degrees Fahrenheit.  You may think that in Illinois it’s extremely rare to get to temperatures that high, but a car parked in sunlight will easily reach 100 degrees or higher.  Once the phone hits this temperature range, it will be too hot to touch and a red heat warning will pop up on the screen.  Afterwards, the phone will automatically shut down and refuse to reboot.  It can take an hour or longer for the phone to cool down enough for you to turn it back on again.  If you’re lucky the phone won’t have sustained fatal damages.  This occurrence is called the “Heat Screen of Death”, and you don’t want to see it.

      Let’s be reasonable though.  Obviously, setting your phone down for a second in the sun won’t cause it to explode.  Just be wary of where you store it during the summer, especially on hot and humid days.  Fun in the sun is for people to enjoy, not cell phones!