It all happened to us: you accidentally left your smartphone in the car. Sometimes you might rush back to get it and other times you might think, "Hey, I don't need it right now, I'll take it when I go back."
Normally, a smartphone in a vehicle sits for a few hours is not too big of a deal, but when the temperature outside is under freezing it can lead to some unexpected problems for the phone's battery. The biggest problem is a quick drainage – depending on how cold it is, a smartphone battery can go from fully charged to completely dead in minutes.
What's worse, it is immediately after it is quickly drained, it becomes impossible to charge the device.
But don't worry! Your battery is OK and your smartphone will be fine. Read on for tips on what to do if you meet these problems and continue reading to learn more about why this happens. Keep in mind the same principles apply to almost all units with lithium-ion batteries including laptops, tablets, portable gaming systems and the list goes on.
What to do if your cold phone does not charge
If you have a cold phone that is dead and refuses to charge, all you have to do is wait and wait to return to a normal temperature. It can be so easy to take the phone inside and just let it sit for a few hours while of course returning to a normal state.
If you can't wait that long, you can heat the unit carefully. Place it near a warm surface. This can put it in your pocket, put it close (but not on) a radiator or leave it on your car's dash while the heater presses hot air.
Be careful though: you should never put your phone in an oven or microwave and you should Never place it on or near anything that is incredibly hot, such as an electric hob or stove. You want the device to get a little warm, not cooked.
Upload your phone during this heating process. . Let it warm up itself without the charging cable connected.
When the phone is heated, turn it on. The battery may be at the same level as it would have been before it became so cold.
Why does the cold pull out of the battery?
Interestingly, researchers do not understand why this happens. The science is clear that incredibly cold temperatures drain lithium ion batteries very quickly, but the causes are still quite mysterious.
What we know is that the lithium ion batteries are dependent on chemical reactions to charge, keep it charged and then release the charge and the cold lowers these reactions.
Each smartphone battery has two sections: the anode and the cathode. When the battery is fully charged, lithium ions are embedded in porous graphite in the anode, and when drained, the ions are at the opposite end of the cathode. Electricity is produced when individual lithium ions flow from the anode to the cathode.
For one reason or another, when lithium ion batteries are placed in cold temperatures, the chemical reaction produced by the movement of the lithium ions slows down to a creep – or ends altogether. Smartphone feels that the battery no longer produces a charge and releases the charge meter to one percent or even zero percent. If enough time passes, the phone shuts down.
If you try to charge the phone while it is in this mode, the reactions will not happen because the battery is still too cold. In fact, this new introduction of electric power can cause problems for the battery.
Only when the battery has warmed up, the lithium ions will move as usual and everything will work as expected. That is why a cold battery can go from empty to full again just by heating: the lithium ions (ie the amount of battery charge) did not go completely from one end of the battery to the other, they just stopped moving.  Keep that in mind the next time you are in a cold place! Try to keep your smartphone warm.
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