iPhone solutions for cold hands in winter

January 10, 2010

Featured, Technology

As many iPhone owners who have experienced cold winters know, you often have to make a very difficult choice: keep your hands warm or take off your gloves to use the iPhone to text your best friend about how cold you are. Unfortunately, the iPhone’s touch screen does not recognize gloved fingers. I discovered this the day after I bought my iPhone back in January of 2008 (that’s right, I still have the 1st gen iPhone – it’s not old, it’s vintage). Since then, I have tried several types of gloves, trying to get the best of both worlds: warm hands AND iPhone use. Here is a summary of what I’ve tried and the pros/cons of each type of glove.

The Fingerless Glove

Fingerless gloves Fingerless gloves with iPhone

This is the most popular glove style for iPhone users because it’s cheap and easy to get. It’s an obvious choice because the fingertips are exposed for easy access to the iPhone and it keeps your hands very flexible so you can reach into your pocket or purse to pull out your phone without having to take the gloves off.

However, these gloves really shouldn’t be called “gloves” at all. They’re more like hand accessories that make you look punk. It’s like wearing boots in snow with the toe part cut out. In other words, not warm at all.

The Fingerless-Glove/Mitten Hybrid

Fingerless-glove/mitten hybrid Fingerless-glove/mitten hybrid with iPhone

These hybrid gloves/mittens are typically more expensive (and maybe a little harder to find), but you can’t beat them for warmth. The mitten part is held in back by a little bit of velcro or a button. Depending on the glove/mitten, this could create quite a bit of bulk, which makes it hard to reach into pockets or a purse. It also creates a little bit of work to put on and take off the mitten part each time, but you are able to only do it for the hand you need to use the phone, so your other hand can stay nice and warm.

This is the current solution I am using, but I saved my favorite one for last.

The Knit Glove

Knitted glove Knitted gloves with iPhone

I discovered this method by accident and it quickly became my favorite way of using the iPhone in winter. It turns out, the stitching for some knit gloves at the fingertips creates small holes – just big enough for the iPhone to recognize your finger as a finger. You don’t need to do anything at all to use the phone. You get all the advantages of gloves (over mittens) plus the ability to use your phone easily.

There are two disadvantages, though. First, knit gloves are not as warm as, say, fleece or leather gloves. And second, after a while, that small hole at the fingertip may grow as the edges fray. That’s not a huge deal, though, because you can easily patch it up. Or if you don’t mind looking like a hobo, you may want to keep that frayed fingertip for even easier access to your iPhone.

Knit glove finger hole Knit glove frayed fingertip

The best thing about all these methods (but particularly the last two) is that they are easy to acquire at any retailer. There are specialty iPhone gloves you can buy if you really need the best solution possible, but these ones are probably good enough for most uses. If you have any other tips, please share them in the comments!

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About Natasha Lloyd

Natasha is a professional train rider, an amateur photographer, an avid kayak paddler, a long-time cartoon watcher, and an Interaction Designer at SAP BusinessObjects. She currently lives in Massachusetts, on the outer outskirts of Boston.

View all posts by Natasha Lloyd

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