Is it safe to put electronics in the freezer?

You’ve probably heard people suggest putting electronics like phones or laptops in the freezer to help fix an issue. This idea likely stems from the belief that exposure to cold temperatures may shock a device and resolve software glitches. While understandable, wrapping gadgets in tin foil and tossing them in the freezer is not recommended. But does freezing electronics like smartphones, tablets and laptops actually damage them? Let’s dive into the effects of extreme cold on common devices to find out.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasoning behind the “freezer trick” and whether cold temperatures can harm or help electronics like cell phones, laptops, and tablets. Our goal is to provide a clear answer on the safety and risks of putting devices in the freezer so you can make an informed decision.

Brief History

The practice of freezing electronics started becoming more common in the early 1920s with the invention of modern refrigerators and freezers for home use. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the first home refrigerator was invented in 1913 by Fred W. Wolf, introducing the technology into people’s homes for the first time ( By the 1940s, home freezers were becoming a more standard appliance in many households according to Wikipedia (

With more widespread access to refrigeration at home, freezing electronics likely started as experiments and tricks, possibly passing by word of mouth. One notable example is in the 1980s film Back to the Future, when Doc freezes his dog Einstein as a demonstration of his time machine’s freezing capabilities.

Why People Try It

There are some common misconceptions about why freezing electronics seems like a good idea:

Some people think that freezing an electronic device will help “reset” it if it is malfunctioning, based on the assumption that the cold temperature will interrupt the electrical currents and potentially fix software issues like a reset button ( However, this is generally not effective in actually repairing hardware or software problems.

Others believe that freezing electronics will extend battery life and performance. There is some truth to lithium-ion batteries performing better in cool environments, but freezing temperatures are too extreme and can actually damage batteries (

Some assume that freezing helps overclock computer chips and improve performance. But extreme sub-zero temperatures can cause condensation and electrical shorts, which likely negate any overclocking benefits.

In general, these assumptions misunderstand how integrated circuits and other electronics components work. Freezing can disrupt normal electrical flows and cause physical damage not visible until the device thaws.

Effects of Freezing on Electronics

Freezing temperatures can actually damage electronics in several ways. When electronic devices are exposed to extreme cold, moisture and condensation can form inside the device which leads to corrosion over time ( The moisture is caused by the cold air not being able to hold as much water vapor, so it condenses on circuit boards and other internal components.

Most consumer electronics are built to operate in normal room temperatures, generally between 50-95°F. When an electronic device is subjected to freezing temperatures below 32°F, it can experience component failure, screen cracking, battery issues, and total shutdown ( Extreme cold temperatures make the metal connections between components brittle, causing connections to fail. The LCD and touch screens on devices can also crack or suffer damage in freezing conditions.

While some people think freezing an overheating phone could help, exposing electronics to such extreme low temperatures rarely has a positive effect. At best, it may provide temporary relief in overheating situations. But the long-term risks of moisture, condensation and component damage far outweigh any potential short-term benefits.

Examples of Damage

There are many anecdotes of electronics being damaged after being exposed to freezing temperatures. According to one user on Quora, their iPhone stopped working properly after being left overnight in a freezing car ( The battery drained excessively and the touchscreen became unresponsive. Another person reported that their digital camera failed to turn on again after being left in a freezer for 30 minutes as part of an experiment (

Statistics show that cold temperatures can lead to an increase in electronics repairs. One repair shop owner estimated that they see up to a 20% rise in fix-it jobs during the winter months for problems like cracked screens and battery issues ( Experts advise letting devices warm gradually to room temperature before turning them on again after cold exposure. Drastic temperature changes can lead to condensation inside the device, which causes short circuits and corrosion over time.

Safe Alternatives

There are several safe alternatives to freezing electronics that will help temporarily revive them or deal with overheating

One method is to turn the device off and allow it to rest in a well-ventilated, cool area. This allows the internal components to cool down to safe operating temperatures. You can also aim a fan directly at the device to accelerate cooling. Just be sure to keep all vents and openings clear of obstruction (Source).

If the device feels abnormally hot, you can place it on a passive cooling pad or stand. These accessories lift electronics off the surface to promote airflow underneath (Source). Active cooling pads with built-in fans provide an even greater cooling effect.

For prolonged use during intense gaming or work sessions, external cooling fans can direct a stream of cool air directly onto hot spots like the CPU or GPU. Just be cautious not to obstruct any vents in the process.

Best practices for dealing with overheating electronics include keeping them away from soft surfaces that may block airflow, using laptop stands, avoiding direct sunlight, managing cables to minimize clutter, cleaning out vents, and upgrading cooling accessories if needed (Source). Proper ventilation, regular cleaning, and usage of cooling accessories can aid in maintaining an optimum temperature.

Expert Opinions

Many electronics repair experts advise against putting electronics in the freezer due to the risks. As one repair technician states, “Freezing or refrigerating an electronic device can definitely damage it. The condensation that results when you take it back out into room temperature can fry circuits and connections” (Source). Another expert cautions that “condensation can form inside the device when it’s taken out of the cold temperature into a warmer environment, which can then damage internal components and cause shorts” (Source). Most experts recommend against the practice due to the potential for condensation issues as well as the stresses from extreme temperature fluctuations.

Risks vs. Reward

There is only a very small chance that freezing an electronic device could fix an issue, while there is a much higher risk of condensation or other damage occurring. As this Quora post explains, the extreme cold temperatures inside a freezer can potentially damage electronic components.

Additionally, according to Secure Data Recovery Services, the hard drive freeze technique carries too much risk for the small potential reward. If the device is already broken, it likely needs to be repaired or replaced regardless.

The slight chance of reviving the device by freezing it is simply not worth the much higher risk of condensation forming and causing further damage. Electronics that won’t power on likely have an underlying hardware issue that freezing cannot fix.

The Verdict

After reviewing the evidence, research clearly shows that freezing electronics can cause severe, often irreversible damage. Both battery experts and electronics specialists strongly advise against putting any gadgets in the freezer (Pacetechnical, NBC News).

While freezing may provide temporary relief in some overheating situations, the risks far outweigh any potential rewards. Permanent data loss, cracked screens, warped casings, and destroyed internal components are common results of freezing electronics.

Instead, experts recommend powering down overheated devices and allowing them to cool gradually at room temperature. Using external cooling fans, removing protective cases, and cleaning out dust buildup can also help lower temperatures safely.

In conclusion, never put electronics in the freezer to cool them down. The extreme cold can easily damage fragile components beyond repair.


In summary, it is not recommended to put electronics in the freezer. Extreme cold temperatures can damage electronic components and lead to condensation issues when the device warms up. Instead of freezing, allow electronics to gradually return to room temperature after being in the cold. Only use electronics when completely dry and at ambient temperatures.

Rather than freezing, some safer alternatives include:

  • Letting electronics slowly warm up to room temperature before turning on
  • Using desiccant packs to absorb moisture
  • Storing electronics in an air tight bag until fully acclimated
  • Using a dehumidifier or fan to circulate air