Popular Mechanics investigated whether cold weather can do serious damage to your phone. The site concludes that while sub-zero temperatures can cause your phone to malfunction, the damage is not permanent. All but one of the the phones they tested were brought back to life by returning to room temperature, the only one that wouldn't work properly anymore was the one that was dipped repeatedly into a bucket of liquid nitrogen.
Exactly how cold can a phone get before it stops working? We decided to find out. For help, we called up our friends at Environ Laboratories, an environmental testing facility in Minneapolis used by the defense, aerospace and technology industries to simulate extreme conditions. We gave Environ a sample of six phones from various manufacturers. These models were the type of commodity phones that service providers often give away for free with new contracts—none was billed as “ruggedized” or designed to withstand extreme temperatures. Environ’s job was to freeze the gadgets in a temperature-controlled chamber (lowest possible setting: minus 100 F) until all six phones stopped working—no matter how much cold that required.