MacBook Too Cold? (To Touch, Cold Temp Damage Symptoms)

When users hear that extreme temperatures affect their MacBook, heat comes first to mind. They do everything to prevent the internal components from getting too hot and overpowering the cooling system. However, other users question the effects of extreme cold on the MacBook.

So, what happens if a MacBook gets too cold? When a MacBook gets too cold, the internal components like the battery, hard disk, charging block and internal electronics can become damaged. Frost can form inside the components, which later melt to leave water or expand to break the affected parts.

The recommended temperatures are 32-50 degrees Fahrenheit and reducing or increasing the levels can risk your device. If you want to prepare for harsh winters or are traveling to an icy region, you must be concerned about what this means for your MacBook. Does cold affect it the same way that heat does?

Low temperatures are equally disastrous to your MacBook as exposure to extreme heat since the frost can cause permanent damage. Exposing your laptop to severe cold risks freezing the battery, causing expansion when the heat levels start rising, which cracks it.

The same can happen to the hard drive, charging block, and other essential parts. Apple recommends that you maintain the temperatures around the Mac at 50 degrees Fahrenheit and never power it below 32 degrees Fahrenheit to keep the internal components safe.

It is advisable to avoid using or charging your computer when it is freezing due to the risks involved. The MacBook has a Li-ion battery that is susceptible to temperature changes and is affected by heat and cold.

The lowest it should go, according to Apple, is 50°F, and you should check that the levels don’t drop below that. Otherwise, the cold may be responsible if you have any issues with your Mac failing to turn on.

The effects manifest by interfering with the laptop’s performance; the first way to tell is when turning it on doesn’t work. There are logical explanations for this. First, the battery may have cracked, given that the chill exerts excessive pressure on it.

The water first contracts, then abruptly expands, exerting a force on the chip and breaking it, rendering it dormant, leaving very slim chances for the MacBook to turn on again.

Secondly, your Mac’s battery may have died because the cold can quickly drain the battery while trying to maintain the internal temperatures. Thankfully, this doesn’t adversely affect the performance; you only need to charge it to resume normal operations.

Alternatively, other internals like the hard drive and charging block or cable may receive the impact of the temperature drop and acquire complications.

If the cold is not severe, you can revive your MacBook by warming it up first before usage. You can store it in a backpack or a protective sleeve, which keeps it safe from external temperatures, allowing it to regulate its heat levels.

Alternatively, you can wrap it in blankets, sheets, or pillowcases. You can even use fans to distribute ambient room temperature air through it, removing the cold.

Also, remember to take it to a warm room and avoid directly heating it when the surrounding temperature is too cold because you risk forming air pockets. Additionally, it is not advisable to use heaters or place the Mac near a fire to try warming it. Such drastic heat can permanently damage the device. The best way is to keep it as warm as possible without exposing it to direct heat.

How Cold is Too Cold for a MacBook?

MacBook tops the list if you need a laptop with impeccable features and performance. However, like most electronics, extreme elements are detrimental to the device, risking irredeemable damages. If you always want to keep your Mac safe, you may want to know how well it can handle extreme temperatures.

Temperatures significantly below 32°F are too cold for a MacBook. The device’s batteries and other components can freeze at such levels and develop complications. Apple doesn’t recommend leaving your Mac out when the temperatures are not favorable since you may be subjecting the machine to irreparable damage, particularly its batteries.

The manufacturer advises that the most ambient temperatures for the Mac should not go below 32°F or above 50°F.

It can get freezing during winters; hence you should be cautious to ensure that your MacBook is safe from the elements. Given that lower temperatures harm your computer, you should be vigilant to ensure that the levels don’t exceed the recommended parameters.

If the readings run below 32°F, you need to raise it back to ambient levels since prolonged use of the Mac at a temperature below the optimal can be disastrous.

It is best to always adhere to Apple’s guidelines. The cold impacts your MacBook in that it can cause the device’s battery to freeze, and if you try charging it, the chances are high that it can swell and break.

Sometimes, it bulges and fails to fit in its slot, interfering with the circuitry system. Additionally, frost can collect on the components, and when the machine gets slightly heated, the layer melts to form water that will, in turn, flow into the computer and damage the cell and other components.

Furthermore, lower temperatures can affect the laptop’s booting system because the battery may die, meaning there is no power to turn on the device. Besides the failure to start, the freezing temperature can cause data loss since the components within the computer are compromised. However, there are effective hacks you can try to keep your MacBook safe from freezing during winter.

For starters, avoid leaving your laptop in the car or in an open space where temperatures can dip below the ambient levels. Keep it in a warm room at around 50°F to keep off the frost. Alternatively, besides leaving the computer naked on the table, you can cover it with sheets or blankets or insert it into a sleeve and place it in a backpack.

While trying to keep the laptop warm to achieve the optimum temperatures, it is best to be very careful since some actions can cost you your machine. Avoid leaving the computer next to a fireplace, space heaters, or pocket warmers because the drastic temperature rise can also affect your device.

Why Are MacBooks Cold To Touch?

Extreme elements are detrimental to your laptop and leaving your iDevice under favorable temperatures is imperative. However, you may notice that your Mac computer is getting cold even in ambient conditions, which may cause you to worry that something is amiss.

The MacBook can be cold to touch due to the metallic chassis build that tends to catch heat faster and dissipate it almost immediately. Most MacBooks have aluminum bodies, so they can feel cold whenever they are not in use. Similarly, your body perception may also cause a chilly feeling even when the surrounding temperatures are favorable.

The Mac’s metallic chassis responds differently to heat than materials like plastic, and when you touch it, heat from your body transfers to the metal faster, making you feel the cold.

When your MacBook feels chilly, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is freezing since you can perceive the same even at suitable temperatures. Therefore, the temperatures you sense during touch should not be enough to judge the surrounding elements. Furthermore, the cold you feel on the surface may be superficial, yet the internal components are in good shape.

If temperatures are around 50°F, you don’t need to worry because you can usually charge and use the computer. If the cold feeling leaves you concerned every time, you can try some remedies.

First, avoid leaving the machine in the open throughout the night. You can find a sleeve to tuck it in when not in use or pad the Mac’s metallic body using non-conductors. On the downside, the glossy aluminum casing is what enhances the computer’s attractive look.

Anyone glancing at it can tell it is an impressive construction, making the price worth it. Therefore, if you still want to maintain the aesthetics and lustrous look, you may want to avoid interfering with the computer and use hand gloves if you don’t want to handle it when it’s cold. You can use them to hold the laptop when touching it feels too uncomfortable.

Also, you can fold the MacBook into a microfiber cloth whenever it is not operating. This way, the casing won’t lose heat into the environment, and you can comfortably touch it without worrying about it being too cold. However, if the feeling doesn’t bother you, you can leave the iDevice intact as long as the room is at the right temperature and the internal components are OK.

Remember that the chill you feel when you handle your Mac after not using it for a long time is synonymous with metallic devices, and the only way to manage it is by using the above remedies.

What you feel when holding the MacBook surface is usually the temperature transfer between your body and the metal. You can go for a solution that works best for you and doesn’t compromise the normal functioning of your laptop.

How To Keep Your MacBook Safe When It Is Too Cold

Inevitably, you will expose your MacBook to extreme temperatures at some point. Therefore, you should know the temperature guidelines and storage recommendations to help you maintain normal heat levels within the internal components.

If you want to keep your MacBook safe when it is too cold, it is best to follow Apple’s guidelines and practice proper storage. The company recommends that the ambient temperatures for the Mac and other iDevices to charge and run is around 50°F; going significantly below or above this level can be risky. For storage, you can tuck the laptop inside a sleeve or bag, which keeps it away from direct exposure to freezing temperatures.

All Apple products, from iPads, and iPhones to MacBooks, thrive only under ambient temperatures. Taking them away from this range can devastate the battery and other vital components.

Only a few lucky users manage to use their gadgets outside the parameters and maintain regular performance. The danger with extreme cold is that frost forms on the affected parts and turns liquid when the heat level rises, causing damage.

You mustn’t charge your Mac under freezing temperatures due to the Li-ion batteries inside; otherwise, they can sustain permanent damage. Not many new owners know this, but if you live in a place experiencing harsh winters or generally cold climates, your new MacBook should warm up before you power or use it. It may have spent a long time outside the delivery van or your doorstep, dropping the internal temperature levels.

Being patient when you have a hunch that something is off can go a long way to keep your MacBook safe. If you feel that the computer is too cold and are impatient, drastic ways to warm it up may damage the internal parts. It is best to avoid pocket warmers and other direct heating methods because heat can concentrate on one spot and reverse the extreme chill to heat, which also ruins it.

The components can melt when the device is not running since there is no fan to cool it down. It is even riskier for your MacBook if you live in a cold, humid environment. When the freezing device goes to a damp place, the parts will immediately condense.

In turn, your laptop battery gets water damage that is challenging to salvage unless the element is removable. You can try detaching it and putting it in a rice bowl or placing it with silica packets that help absorb excess moisture before reattaching it and using the MacBook.

Wrap Up

The MacBook is a delicate build such that extreme elements can affect it. If you want to keep your expensive gadget safe, it is best to protect it from heat and cold; otherwise, you will risk the internal components. If frost forms on some parts and then later melts, the water seeps through, causing damage, while expansion can lead to breakages.

The safest temperatures are around 50 degrees and dropping extremely low to less than 32 degrees can damage the device. It is best to tuck it inside a sleeve or cover it with blankets to keep it warm. Also, it is not advisable to heat the MacBook near a fireplace or with a heater; otherwise, the components may melt and ruin.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is a professional content writer based in the UK, writing articles for a number of different websites for the past ten years.

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