When I think of summer, the song “Summertime, and the Livin’ is Easy” pops right into my head. Summer is a time to enjoy the outdoors and the weather, maybe go to the beach or travel abroad, and nowadays, our technology can travel with us almost everywhere we go. There are considerations when traveling with your devices in the summer; here are some tips to keep them safe.
Protection from the heat
Last summer I left my iPhone in the car for thirty minutes. Even though it was a shady parking place, when I came back, I noticed a temperature gauge and message on my screen telling me that my “iPhone needs to cool down.” Only emergency calls would have been possible. Heat is a killer for electronics, and luckily Apple built in a warning system and some protection to minimize damage. Extreme heat can even cause a battery to explode, so try to keep your devices as cool as possible. For laptops, you can use a cooling fan that sits underneath the device. Most of these fans employ a USB port for power, so they can be used anywhere. In the event that a device does become overheated, don’t put it in the freezer! The condensation will cause more damage.
Protection from liquids
Liquid is another killer for electronics. Every year, we get lots of clients bringing in laptops that were inadvertently “baptised” with a Coke, wine, or water. A sugary coffee latte is even worse. If you spill a drink on your laptop keyboard, you should first unplug the power cord and shut down the device. Then, lay the device upside down so the liquid can — hopefully — run out. The keyboard should be removed and all traces of liquid be carefully absorbed. Just letting it dry by itself might lead to corrosion and the system will then malfunction. Depending on the amount and type of liquid, your device may need a professional cleaning. The good news is that even if the laptop is ruined, often the data can be retrieved by taking the hard drive out and connecting it via adapters to another computer.
Protection from sand
Isn’t it great to sit under an umbrella at the beach and play a game on your phone, tablet, or laptop? But please avoid getting sand in your devices — especially the laptop keyboard. It will not shortcut your system but might cause keys to malfunction or clog power and headset plugs. To protect your cell phone, you might consider a heavy-duty waterproof case that not only hinders breakage from dropping, but prevents damage from liquids and sand.
Don’t run out of power
Nowadays, the charge in a phone does not seem to last throughout a day. When out and about in the city, on the beach, or on a hike, it helps if you have an extra fully-charged battery pack with you; these are very affordable now. This summer I am trying out a solar charger I can mount on my back-pack. There are also beach chairs with a built-in solar panel charger available.
Don’t forget your devices at home
To protect your devices that are left at home, turn them off and unplug the power and ethernet cables. In the summer, thunderstorms are likely and a power surge or lightning strike can cause severe damage to electronics and can even lead to a fire.
Backup before you go
Whether you leave your devices at home or take your technology on vacation with you, it’s best to first make a backup. That way if you break or lose a device, you’re covered. The device is replaceable, but not your data. Wishing you a most enjoyable summer break, with or without technology.