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How to stop your gadgets from overheating

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The heatwave is officially here. As temperatures in the UK hit the mid-twenties and above, a nation so far starved of sun has finally received a proper dose of summer vibes.

As much as we love sunbathing, relaxing in beer gardens and generally having fun in the sun, there are also those moments when we’re frantically trying to find a fan to cool ourselves down.

And what about our beloved gadgets?

Our daily devices can struggle when it gets really hot. It’s important to keep smartphones, laptops, tablets, routers cool so they work as well as possible.

We’re all really dependent on our gadgets, whether we need them for work or leisure. The last thing we need is a sunny day ruined by heat-related device damage. So how can we keep our gadgets cool when the weather is so warm?

Before you go dunking your phone in an ice bath (don’t do this), check out our top tips for keeping your gadgets cool and you might be able to avoid overheating.

Keep your gadgets out of the sun

If the sun’s out in full force, it’s a good idea to keep your gadgets out of its rays. You might really want to spend the day working in the garden, but that can take a toll on your laptop, so try to keep your electronics in the shade.

Same goes for your smartphone. If you’re out chilling in the park, try to keep your phone in a bag or tucked underneath something. Otherwise, you might get an overheating message popup.

Leaving one of your gadgets in a car is another surefire way to get it seriously overheated. So make sure you take them with you when you’ve parked up.

How to work outside without overheating your gadgets

With most of us splitting our work weeks between the office and home, the summer is a welcome time to WFG - 'work from garden'. But electrical devices like laptops don’t do well in direct sunlight. Not only is it hard to read anything on your screen, but it can very quickly overheat and stop working.

The first golden rule to working outside is shade. It might make it harder to sunbathe while you type, but it’s by far the best way to get work done from the comfort of your garden. Your laptop will remain cool, and your screen won’t be obstructed by direct sunlight.

The second rule is signal strength. You’ll also need to make sure that your Wi-Fi router signal can reach your device if you choose to work outside.

If your router signal is strong enough, or it’s particularly well-placed, you should be able to connect to the internet without any issues. But if you can’t seem to get a good signal, you might need a Wi-Fi extender if you want to stay connected from your garden.

By setting one up in a room near your garden, it should boost your router’s signal far enough to give you a decent internet connection on your work device.

Learn more about Wi-Fi extenders with our dedicated guide.

Take off the case

If your laptop, smartphone or tablet is in a case, you might want to remove it. That case is effectively like wearing a jacket. This means that if your device is warming up, the heat will stay trapped in the case.

Sure, it’s important to keep your devices protected from bumps and scrapes. But if you're just sitting in the park or unwinding at home, giving your tech a bit of no-case time could be a wise move.

Take your phone out of your pocket

Keep your phone out of your pocket, if possible. If you keep it in your trouser pocket, it will be quite close to your skin so it will absorb a lot of body heat, this will also get pretty uncomfortable for you on a hot day.

We suggest keeping your phone in a bag if you’re out, or on your desk if you’re at home or work.

Adjust the settings

Playing with the settings on your laptop, smartphone or tablet can also be an effective way of preventing them from overheating. It’s usually the batteries in these devices that get hot, so tinkering to get the battery usage down is always helpful.

The higher the brightness, the more the battery gets used, so this is the first setting to get down as low as you can. It might be a bit harder to see, but it will definitely help keep your device cool. Also, a lot of smartphones have adaptive screens. In which case, the brightness will automatically go up if you're out in the sun, so turn this setting off.

Turning your data off can also limit your battery use. So if you’re not really using your phone for a bit, perhaps put it in airplane mode.

Cool it down

No, we don’t mean putting your gadgets in the fridge, but rather popping them somewhere there’s a lot of air flow. This is useful for items like your phone, laptop, and even your Wi-Fi router.

An open window that isn’t directly getting sun is a good spot, but obviously make sure it’s not at risk of being snatched.

If you have a fan at home, putting that on in the room and giving your devices (and yourself) a bit of cool air is another way to gently cool down your device if it’s getting too hot.

Switch it off

The best way to cool down an overheating device is to switch it off. If your smartphone is getting uncomfortably hot, your laptop’s starting to slow down, or your router is playing up, just give it a bit of a break and switch it off, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You could always take the time to enjoy a bit of sunshine.

How to stop your Wi-Fi router from overheating

While your broadband router isn’t the first device you’d be concerned about overheating, it’s important to make sure it stays cool. After all, if your router goes down, none of your devices will be able to get online.

Routers have in-built fans that help them to cool down, which means they need enough space around them to let out the hot air caused by all the processing they need to do. If your router is surrounded by lots of other objects, it can’t properly let out that hot air and it might overheat.

Similarly, the more devices that are connected to your router, the harder it has to work to keep them all online, which makes it more likely to overheat.

So if you’re worried about your router overheating during a heatwave, giving it some space and disconnecting devices you’re not using can help keep your router cool and working efficiently.

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