That sudden and rapid decrease in your phone's battery life is not your imagination, and it doesn't necessarily mean that you need to replace the battery or phone. The culprit might just be this incredibly cold weather we're experiencing here in our area right now.

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I noticed that some folks on Twitter were complaining about having recently charged their phones before venturing out in frigid winter weather to run a few errands. The phone that was at 100% battery charge when they left the house quickly lost the majority of its juice the longer they were outside with it. So, what's the deal?

Over at the LiveScience.com website, they break it down pretty simply:

The short answer is that batteries rely on chemical reactions to work, and freezing temperatures slow or stop those reactions.

LiveScience goes on to point out that while that is true, chemists are not entirely sure how cold weather really slows down the reactions inside lithium-ion batteries (the batteries that power pretty much all of our portable devices), but they know it most certainly does. As a matter of fact, frigid cold "slows the reactions in batteries of all types to a crawl."

Reader's Digest, in an article entitled "This Is the Reason Cold Weather Makes Your Phone Die," says that even though you may look at your phone's battery level display and see it at less than 10%, you should warm the phone up and look again. In many cases, simply bringing the phone back to room temperature will restore the battery life that you saw had disappeared.

The one thing that I've noticed in everything I've read on this topic is that experts in this sort of thing say you should not try charging a device that is very cold. Your phone's battery won't process the charge correctly, and doing so may leave you with both a damaged battery and a damaged phone.

Here's a great explanation, if you're up for a little science:

 

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