GPS and the Overheated iPhone

This past Friday was one of those summer days here in western Michigan that you’d just as soon forget. Bright, sunny, pretty humid, and 93° in the shade. I had to drive somewhere that I had never been before that afternoon, and Waze had me mostly heading into the sun (the destination was southwest of my home, so any GPS would have done the same thing), and even with the air conditioning on maximum, my iPhone overheated.

First of all, running GPS on a smartphone will tend to run it on the warm side – at least that has been my experience with every iPhone that I’ve owned to date. But if I hadn’t been driving into the sun, it might not have been so bad.

I prefer to have my iPhone mounted to the windshield close to the rear view mirror so that it doesn’t obstruct my view while driving, but that also means that it gets full exposure to the sun. I have a nice navy blue Otterbox case, and the mounting device is black and sticks to the windshield with a suction cup. So the mount gets hot from sunshine, and so does the case – and the phone inside it.

My two iPhone cases.

Navy blue Otterbox and light colored Spigen iPhone case.

I was prepared for this eventuality. I have a nice light-colored teal case ($2 on close-out!) for my iPhone 6S, but I didn’t think it would need to swap cases for a 10 minute drive. That was a mistake. By the time I got off the expressway, the iPhone was shutting down because of the excessive heat. Switching to that light-colored teal case might have made the difference.

Mounting bracket painted silver.

Black mounting bracket painted with a silver Sharpie.

Also, that black plastic mounting bracket (how does Aldi sell them so cheaply?) got very hot in the sun, so I took to it with a silver Sharpie™ to make it more reflective. In the future, the bracket should not get as hot and thus pass along less heat to my iPhone. (Fingers crossed.)

Higher placement of iPhone.

The iPhone is mounted higher, partially protected by the blue tint strip and black pattern strip.

The third part of my solution was to  rearrange how I have the bracket mounted to the windshield. I have arranged things so that the iPhone will be even closer to the rear view mirror, higher up, and hopefully protected from as much direct sunlight as possible by the blue shade band and the pixelated black pattern strip.

Between the lighter colored case, painting the part of the bracket that holds the phone with a silver Sharpie, and locating the phone where it should receive additional sunlight protection from the blue shade band and the black pattern strip, my iPhone should run cooler on hot sunny days in the future.

Not that I want another day over 90° this summer (or any other). But forewarned is forearmed. Just some things to consider if you use your phone near your vehicle’s windshield and don’t want it to overheat on hot, sunny days.

keywords: #gps

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