Why iPhone battery life is a problem in the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap

Brits get very excited when it snows, but the current ‘Beast from the East’ blizzard is more than the polite dusting of wintery weather we’re fans of, with iPhone and Android users both reporting battery life problems due to the cold. Here’s why your smartphone is struggling with the freeze, and what you can try to fix it.

The problem isn’t just affecting iPhones, but it is largely Apple users taking to Twitter to bemoan their iPhone’s battery life problems. Newer iPhones like the iPhone X don’t seem to be being complained about, but rather older ones – lest we need to remind you, the iPhone 7 had pretty awful battery life at the best of times. But reports of weather-related Android battery life issues are also doing the rounds.

This doesn’t come as a surprise, actually, because of the way that Lithium-ion batteries (the types found in most modern smartphones) work. The cells are filled with a liquid so the cold weather essentially freezes some of the ‘juice’ in the battery –  the same way any other liquid solidifies when its cold.

Temperatures are below freezing in many parts of the UK with more snow expected heading into the weekend, and people aren’t happy that their handsets are losing huge chunks of battery life seemingly at random, and in some instances shutting down altogether.

Here’s a small sampling.

Related: Galaxy S9


The current cold snap is expected to lift in another day or two, but in the meantime, Apple’s support pages have a genius solution: warm up your phone! No, not in the microwave, but by bringing back up to normal room temperature as soon as you can.

“Low- or high-temperature conditions might cause the device to change its behaviour to regulate its temperature. Using an iOS device in very cold conditions outside of its operating range might temporarily shorten battery life…battery life will return to normal when you bring the device back to higher ambient temperatures,” the company writes.

Related: MWC 2018

Cheers for that, Apple. We really needed another excuse to go to the pub on Friday…

Is your phone’s battery life behaving badly in the cold? Tweet us @TrustedReviews.