OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As Oklahomans prepare their homes and families for freezing temperatures, experts say there are also some things you can do to protect your electronic devices.

Experts say devices should be protected from extreme weather to ensure that safety features like navigation, storm tracking, and emergency notifications.

Lithium-ion batteries, used in smartphones and other connected devices, are liquid and cold temperatures cause the molecules to shrink.

As a result, this can cause devices to slow down and could lead to LCD screens dimming, loss of button functionality, and shorter battery life.

“When temperatures drop below freezing, it’s time to consider how we are using and storing devices,” said Adam Dohmen, area sales manager for UScellular in Oklahoma City. “It’s important to add additional layers around our phones to protect them against the shock of cold temps.”

UScellular offers its annual tips to help keep devices safe this winter:

  • Power up devices: If the forecast includes freezing temperatures, be sure to keep your phones fully charged since battery life drains at a faster rate in cold temps.
  • Layers are best: Using a case at all times is the best way to protect devices from damage, but during cold weather it adds another layer of protection. An insulated case provides an additional barrier to the elements and delays loss of functionality. 
  • Use body heat: Keeping devices close to your body will be a natural source of warmth. Since the body’s natural temperature is around 98 degrees, placing a phone closer to your body – such as in a pocket – will help regulate its temperature and protect it from extreme cold.
  • Wait before using again: If the phone gets too cold, it may shut off to protect itself. When that happens, be sure to let the phone warm up before trying to use it again. Do not use blow dryers, ovens, space heaters or other heating devices to warm devices as this could cause permanent damage.
  • Take extra precautions: Minimize the amount of time that a device is exposed to the cold, so try to not leave it in your empty car for a long period of time, and if you must use it while outside, ensure that it’s shielded from the wind and tucked close to the body when viewing.