By Michele Debczak │Mental Floss│3 min
Even when we go somewhere to unplug, our smartphones are rarely out of reach. That includes our favorite beach destinations. Unlike many summer accessories, our phones aren’t built to handle excessive sun, sand, and saltwater. Luckily, there are steps you can take to protect your device from the elements on your next beach day.
How to Prevent Your Phone From Overheating
Your skin isn’t the only thing that needs protection from the sun when you’re at the beach. If your phone sits in direct sunlight for too long, it can overheat. This can drain your device’s battery, trigger a forced shutdown, and potentially damage its hardware.
The easiest way to avoid this is to keep your phone out of the sun. Make sure it’s in a shady place when you’re not using it, like under a beach umbrella or in a bag. Wrapping your phone in a small towel or tucking it into a drink koozie can also protect it from direct sunlight and keep it from overheating. If your phone does overheat, try blowing on it or cooling it with a fan—like the kind you might bring to the beach to cool down your face.
How to Protect Your Phone From Sand
Sand has the tendency to get wherever you don’t want it to be. In most cases this is annoying, but when it comes to electronic devices, it can be disastrous. Placing your phone in a resealable sandwich bag before stepping onto the beach should keep it clean and sand-free.
If sealing your phone away for hours isn’t an option, you can avoid the worst-case scenario by investing in some dust plugs. These accessories will block off your phone’s ports where sand can do the most damage. For an even cheaper option, look for any old cords you have lying around. Cutting off the plug part and sticking it into your phone will provide just as much protection as a dust plug.
How to Protect Your Phone From Water
Even smartphones that are advertised as water resistant can still suffer from water damage. The good news is that the same plastic bag that protects your phone from sand can also protect it from any moisture you bring back from your swim.
It’s safer to skip the selfies when you’re standing in the water, but if you do drop your phone in the ocean, you need to take quick action. Samsung actually recommends quickly rinsing your phone with fresh water after it takes a saltwater dip, as the salt may clog the device’s openings. Remove excess moisture by wiping it with a dry cloth and gently tapping your phone with the charging port facing down. Setting it near a fan can also help it dry more quickly.