Why does a Phone Battery Drain Faster in the Winter?

Cell phone batteries at low temperatures

Temperatures around the US vary, but there are many areas where it is still cold and snowing.  You may have noticed that when you use your mobile device outdoors on a cold day, the battery power may have dropped quickly; in some cases, the phone may have even turned off.

In this article, we will address whether the lithium battery in mobile devices consumes more power in lower temperatures, and we will explore low-temperature battery options.

An Experiment: A battery indoors

In order to come to an answer, let us explore an experiment where there are three mobile devices from different brands.  These phones would be charged to 100% then unplugged and left with their screens on for two hours straight.  All three phones would run the same programs to ensure similar power consumption, and the indoor temperature would remain at 21°C/69.8°F.  After 20 minutes, we will most likely find the batteries of all the phones still at 100%.

Phone batteries at indoor temperature

An Experiment: A battery  outdoors

Now, in a separate experiment, we would have three phones from different brands, and, similar to the previous experiment, these devices would be charged to 100% then unplugged and left on for two hours while running the same apps.  However, this time, the phones would be taken outdoors near the snow where the temperature would be 3°C/37.4°F.  After 20 minutes, we will likely see a different number representing the batteries’ status.

Just performing these two experiments would tell you that the batteries of mobile devices consume power at different speeds depending on the surrounding temperatures.  After 20 minutes, the second experiment will show the batteries at around 97 or 95%.

Ordinary batteries at low temperatures

Phone batteries at Outdoor temperature

Most mobile devices for the general public use a Lithium-ion Polymer battery (LiPo battery).  When the temperatures drop low in the winter, the chemical reactions of the electrolytes slow down and result in less current and a decrease in battery power.

In more extreme situations, the phone will automatically shut down.  The decrease in power or auto shut down are both protective measures.  The shut down itself differs by manufacturer: some phones will shut down at 0% while others will automatically shut down the temperatures drop too low.

Tips to use your phone in cold temperatures

When we are outdoors, there are some simple actions that you can take to prolong the use of a battery without having to charge it.

First, try not to expose your phone to low temperatures.  Keep it in your pocket or in your bag where it can be enclosed away from the cold.

If a phone call comes in, use your earphones to answer it instead of bringing your phone out.

If your phone is turned off outside, wait until you warm up before restarting it when you’re back indoors.  You want the battery to acclimatize to the temperatures indoors.

More simply, place a protective shell around the phone.

You can also choose to use a professional low-temperature battery that can be used normally even in low temperatures.

Grepow can actually help you with that.  We have low-temperature LiPo batteries that can operate in a temperature range of -50°C/-58°F to 50°C/122°F.   They can discharge at over 60% efficiency with 0.2C and -30°C/-22°F.  When charged at 20°C/68°F to 30°C/86°F by 0.2C, the capacity can be maintained above 85% after 300 cycles. These batteries can be ready for mass production, and they have been widely used in cold climates and military products.

Grepow low temperature battery discharge curve

Grepow low temperature battery discharge at different low temperatureGrepow low temperature battery charging at low temperature

These low-temperature batteries are specially developed by Grepow in order to overcome the defects inherent in batteries when they are exposed to lower temperatures.  Our low-temperature batteries are manufactured with an innovative concept design, advanced formulas, and rigorous manufacturing process and method.

Keep an eye out for Grepow’s official blog, where we regularly update industry-related articles to keep you up-to-date on the battery industry.

Grepow website: https://www.grepow.com/

Grepow Blog: https://blog.grepow.com/

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