It’s summer! Here’s how to protect your tech from the heat

Aug 14, 2023, 4:05 AM

girls gather around holding technology during heat wave...

(Photo By Tomas Moya/Europa Press via Getty Images)

(Photo By Tomas Moya/Europa Press via Getty Images)

Tech is expensive, and there are endless ways to ruin yours. Scan this list of five ways you might be destroying your phone, laptop, tablet and TV.

While we’re talking money, I put together a list of tech freebies you can grab right now.

Now, some bad news: Your smartphone hates the heat. Smartphones work best between 35 and 95 degrees. Colder or hotter, you risk hardware damage and shorter battery life.

So, what can you do when there’s record-breaking heat?

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Steps to protect your phone

You can keep your phone happy, no matter the weather, with a few simple steps.

Stick to the shade. Be careful not to set your phone in the sun. Aim for the shade if you’re outside — or even in the car. Don’t set it on the sunny passenger’s seat. That’s a one-way drive to overheating.

Take off your phone case. They trap heat, which can be more or less problematic depending on the material it’s made from. Just be extra careful not to drop it and crack your screen. I keep one of these screen protectors on for this very reason.

Stuck outside or in a warm room? You want to make your phone as lightweight as you can, process-wise. Turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and demanding apps. Games with lots of graphics, video streaming and other resource-intensive tasks can strain your phone’s hardware and cause it to overheat.

No more blurry selfies: How to take better phone pics

Your computer is at risk, too

This can happen any time of year, but the hotter it is, the more likely your laptop or even desktop can overheat. And like your phone, too hot temperatures can do some real damage to the internal components. Try these steps.

Bust the dust: You’ll need a small screwdriver set, a can of compressed air (or an electric duster that never runs out) and some cotton swabs.

  • Shut down your computer, unplug it and open the case.
  • Gently use the compressed air or duster to clean out the fan, vents and ducts.
  • Wipe any buildup away gently using cotton swabs. Just be sure you don’t leave behind little strings of cotton.
  • Put the case back on and plug everything back in.

Improve your laptop’s airflow. Your computer can overheat if it can’t circulate enough air to stay cool. Make sure it’s sitting on a hard surface like a desk. If you lay your laptop on a bed or blanket, the uneven surface blocks the vents and can cause overheating. Put it on a book, a tray or a cooling pad to keep air flowing.

Close everything you can. Yep, too many processes can create too much heat in your PC or laptop, too. Dozens of tabs could be heating things up more than you think. Restart your computer while you’re at it to close down processes running in the background.

Real talk: A power outage during a heatwave could be deadly. I wrote about the steps to take now to keep yourself safe.

Keep your tech-know going

My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Search for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, hit the link below for a recent episode.

PODCAST PICK: Nintendo Switch finds girl, $200K iPhone & unusual Airbnb leftovers

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.

Sound like a tech pro, even if you’re not! Award-winning popular host Kim Komando is your secret weapon. Listen on 425+ radio stations or get the podcast. And join over 400,000 people who get her free 5-minute daily email newsletter.

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It’s summer! Here’s how to protect your tech from the heat