If you’ve ever been in a sauna, then you know firsthand how hot it can be, and it’s only natural that many of us would wonder if we could bring our phones into the sauna with us. So, can you bring your phone into the sauna – and what about damage?
You should not bring a smartphone into a sauna or steam room because they often exceed the recommended maximum operating temperature of 113°F or 45°C and could experience permanent damage under those conditions. Steam rooms also have incredibly high humidity, potentially leading to water damage or even electrical shock on most phones even if they are rated to be water-resistant.
Curious about why? Read on to learn!
Can you take a phone into the sauna?
For hundreds of years, sauna culture has been a tradition passed down through generations and played an integral part in Finland’s social life. This communal form of cleanliness brought people together. However, in recent years, the popularity has plummeted as more and more people use their phones while passing the time in one of these dry heated rooms.
This all points back to what makes these spaces special: their ability to get people engaged with themselves and each other, not electronics. The act of staying off your phone or another device inside the sauna should be seen as something we should be sticking to, not letting go for convenience’s sake.
Some saunas enforce rules against using a phone in a sauna. “Except in the event of an emergency, members/guests may only use their mobile/smartphones outside of the wet spa/locker rooms and dry sauna rooms.”, says King Spa, a famous spa in Dallas.
There are several reasons, including but not limited to:
- It’s not relaxing
- It’s distracting and rude
- It detaches the user from the environment, themselves, and other people. A sauna is a place where one should fully immerse themselves at the moment.
- It’s an invasion of privacy – in an environment where clothing is often scarce or nonexistent, even the most open people would prefer photographic devices be kept hidden away.
- Some people have concerns about how cell phones affect our health – and for reasons not unfounded – the National Cancer Institute lists cell phones as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
- Your body sweats and releases oils in the sauna, which doesn’t make for a delightful cell phone experience once it gets all over your phone
Can you bring a phone into an infrared sauna?
It’s challenging to know the answer to that question without first understanding why someone would want their phone inside the infrared sauna. If they are using it as a timer, it is possible but not ideal. It will often cause the screen to go black given the high temperatures.
There may be interference with devices plugged into electrical outlets or cables in the area where people have phones set down, making them uncomfortable or dangerous.
Most importantly, though, heat is still the biggest culprit for not bringing your phone into the sauna. In an already warm sauna, infrared waves work by heating the surfaces around them rather than the air. This means that your phone, a surface area in the sauna, will overheat even faster than it would at the same temperature in a different sauna.
Furthermore, modern infrared saunas have metal walls; these walls act as mirrors in the presence of infrared waves, increasing their intensity by reflecting the rays back onto the individual (and, in turn, your phone!).
Can you bring your phone into a steam room?
It may not be the best idea in the world to bring into a steam room. Water doesn’t play well with electronics – especially liquid water droplets like what’s typically found inside a sauna – leading to irreversible damage such as corrosion or wetting out circuit boards. Nobody wants to end their day of relaxation with their phone in a bag of rice!
If you are in love with the age-old practice of having both a physical sweat and socializing at the same time, then make sure to leave it out of sight outside and instead interact and enjoy your time with the other humans in the sauna.
Can the sauna damage your phone?
It all comes down to how much heat your phone can withstand. Phones are generally rated for temperatures between -4°F (-20°C) and 113°F (45°C). If they go outside those degrees too long or spend time in an environment hotter than 113°F, they could become permanently damaged. Not to mention, temperature restrictions are even more narrow when the phone is in use.
The average sauna temperature is around 150°F(65°C) and 175°F (79°C), which is far outside of the average phone’s limitations. Some models (like my Samsung Galaxy) will even shut off and be unusable if the temperature gets too high.
Moisture can severely damage your phone. Overexposure to heat and humidity can cause permanent or irreversible impacts on the device’s performance. Try to keep any exposure to moisture as minimal as possible.
Can you bring a waterproof phone in the steam room or sauna?
Those who state that it will cause problems are likely referencing phones’ sensitive components to heat, in addition to the humidity or sweat. A waterproof cell phone does not make it heatproof.
Even if the damage is not immediately detectable, it’s still there. Heat and electronics just don’t mix and will have long-term effects on the device’s battery and other electronic components.
Is it safe to bring an iPhone into the sauna?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions in this vein. The short answer is no, iPhones aren’t any different from other phones regarding heat damage. In fact, Apple recommends the optimal temperature range for use to be 62° to 72° F (16° to 22° C) and warns that exposing your iPhone to temperatures above 95° F (35° C) can permanently damage the battery capacity.
And don’t even think about charging it in there! Plugging your phone in while it’s hot is even worse than using it. Even just storing it in a hot environment is enough to cause permanent damage.
How to keep your phone from overheating in the sauna
If you must insist on bringing your phone into the sauna with you, do so with caution. Here are some ways you can minimize the risk of your phone overheating in the sauna:
- Stay near the entrance, where it’s slightly cooler and more ventilated. This will not only prevent the phone from heating up as much, but it will also wick away more moisture.
- Keep it brief. The less time your phone spends in the sauna, the less heat it will absorb.
- Upon exiting the sauna after a brief session, allow the phone to cool before entering again.
- Use a protective case with extra waterproofing capabilities.
- Wrap it in a towel to insulate it and protect it from heat and humidity, and use the towel to wipe any moisture gathered on its surface periodically.
Remember, it is of utmost importance to have respect and consideration for others in the sauna. Therefore, put the phone down if others join you, and if that is impossible to do, then at least turn it on silent to avoid causing other people to be distracted or uncomfortable. Outside of this, feel free to relax and enjoy yourself!