Woman lying on the boarder of a pool looking at her mobile.

5 ways to keep your phone safe this summer

Don’t let a damaged or stolen phone slow you down this summer. Learn how to protect your smartphone with insurance and more handy tips.

7 min read

Summer is the perfect time for adventure. From trips to foreign countries, hiking up mountains, swimming in lakes, or hitting the beach, it’s a great season for exploring. But these days, anywhere we go, our phones go too—and they’re notoriously accident-prone. 

Swimming, sun exposure, and spontaneous getaways might sound like summer fun, but for your phone, these things can spell disaster. Everybody knows the dangers of water damage, overheating, and theft, but there are things you can do to protect yourself and your smartphone. These five tips will help keep your phone safe this summer, so you’ll always have it ready for the next adventure.

1. How to stop your phone from overheating

All phones are built to tolerate heat—within reason. However, your phone’s screen can absorb a great deal of heat which can slowly melt it on the inside, damaging the hardware within. This wreaks havoc on your battery and can result in your phone being permanently damaged or completely unusable.

To avoid your phone melting in the summer sun, here are some tips to consider.

Keep your phone in the shade and keep activity to a minimum

The best way to avoid heat damage? Keep your phone out of the sun. When outside, make sure your phone is never in direct light. This could mean keeping it safe in your bag or nestled in your car’s glove compartment rather than on the dashboard.

It’s also smart to make sure no unnecessary functions are running on your phone when it’s not in use. This means turning off your Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and decreasing your screen’s brightness. Running these functions means more stress on your phone’s battery, which increases its overall temperature—especially when it’s in the summer sun.

Carry multiple devices separately

If you’re carrying multiple devices (i.e. phone, tablet, game console, battery pack), make sure that they’re not touching each other. If your devices come into contact, the heat from one is more easily conducted to the other, increasing their overall temperature. Ideally, air should be able to flow around each device, keeping them as cool as possible.  

Don’t cool your phone down too quickly

If you’ve accidentally left your phone in the sun and it displays the dreaded overheating warning, take a deep breath and resist the urge to immediately throw it into the fridge. Though tempting, your phone needs to cool down gradually to avoid any condensation forming inside, which can lead to water damage.

Instead, put it in the shade—ideally somewhere indoors—and let it cool down at its own pace.

2. How to protect your phone from water damage

The best way to cool off during soaring temperatures is to escape to a large body of water. Whether that’s a lake, the ocean, or a swimming pool, there are plenty of options out there—which means plenty of opportunities for your phone to go for an accidental swim!

The golden rule when it comes to keeping your phone protected near the water? Check, double-check, then triple-check that it’s not in your pockets before you dive into the cool water. Otherwise, a cannonball could end up costing you a few hundred euros. 

Here are some more suggestions on how to best protect your phone when you’re by the water.

Invest in a waterproof case

The smartest way to keep your phone protected around water? Invest in a waterproof case. While these can be a little pricey, you’ll thank yourself when your phone survives a dip in the pool.

Alternatively, a great makeshift option is to place your phone in a sealed sandwich bag. While this won’t protect it from a plunge into a large body of water, it’ll stop it from getting damaged from a little splash.

What to do if your phone gets wet

If your phone comes into contact with water, the first thing you should do is to turn it off (if it hasn’t automatically turned off already). Whatever you do, don’t try to turn it back on. Instead, if you’re able to, remove the battery completely. If you have an iPhone where it’s difficult to remove the battery, just turn it off and don’t press any other buttons.

Once you’ve turned your phone off and removed its battery (if possible), wrap it up in a paper towel and place it in a bag of uncooked rice. If you can, do the same with your phone’s battery. Then, leave it for 24 hours and let the rice draw the water out of your phone.

3. How to stop sand from damaging your phone

Sand has a bad habit of managing to get absolutely everywhere during a beach trip—and unfortunately, not even your phone is safe. It’s all too easy for those pesky little grains to lodge themselves in your phone’s jack, power outlet, speakers, or even into the casing itself, which can cause lasting damage. But don’t worry. There are some solutions for that, too.

Pack your phone in an airtight bag

Not only can a sandwich bag protect your phone from water, but it could save it from sand, too. Cheap and effective, investing in a few sandwich bags could be the smartest economic decision you make all season—other than learning how to budget

Alternatively, you can also put plastic wrap over the phone’s openings to stop any grains of sand from finding their way in. While slightly more tricky than simply placing your phone in a sealed bag, this is also an effective way to avoid sand damage.

Use compressed air to remove any grains of sand

If sand does manage to get stuck in your device, the best way to remove it is to use a canister of compressed air to literally blow the grains out of your phone. If that doesn’t work, you can also try removing the sand with sticky tape, or in more extreme cases, use a hand-held vacuum cleaner to try to suction it out.

4. Tricks to safeguard your phone from theft

Getting your phone stolen is never a good time. But, there are several things you can do to try and prevent it from happening.

Set up a PIN and SIM lock

One of the simplest things you can do to protect your phone is to set up a PIN code that must be entered every time you use your phone. If your phone gets stolen, this makes it difficult to get access to its contents—which often contain a great deal of sensitive data. Just be wary to avoid obvious codes such as ‘1234,’ since these are easy to guess.

While a PIN code will help to protect your phone, it doesn’t safeguard against your SIM card from being removed and used in another device. To prevent this, you can also set up a SIM lock code that needs to be entered every time the phone is turned on and tries to connect to a network.

Encrypt your data

Going one step further in terms of security, consider encrypting your data. A thief with a bit of technical know-how can still gain access to your data even if your phone is PIN- and SIM-protected.

To encrypt your data, install some encryption software on your phone that ensures that a code must be entered before any file is either viewed or copied. It’s often the case that we have more sensitive data on our devices than we think, so it’s a smart idea to move any private information away from the phone and store it in the cloud instead. This means that if your phone gets stolen, there’s no physical data on the phone for a thief to steal.

5. Get phone insurance

While it may not stop your phone from getting stolen, phone insurance will keep you from paying to replace your phone if it does get stolen or damaged. That way you can get back to exploring with total peace of mind.

If you’re looking to protect your phone or other electronic devices against theft, malfunctions, water or accidental damage, N26 offers on-demand insurance for your electronic devices for as little as €4.76/month.

Your money at N26

N26 gives you the tools you need to take charge of your finances. From on-demand insurance to bank accounts with benefits, we have everything you need to succeed. Sign up for an N26 premium plan to enjoy up to 10 N26 Spaces sub-accounts that sit alongside your main account. Simply create a new space, assign it a name and a savings goal, and start setting aside money right away. Set a Rule to save money automatically, or turn on Round-Ups to round every card purchase to the nearest euro and stash the difference away in your chosen space. You’ll be saving like a pro in no time. Find the plan that’s right for you today.

By N26

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