Why You Should Never Keep Your Phone in the Glove Compartment

It may seem like a good idea, but it also has damaging consequences.

Male hand opens the glove compartment in the car, retro toningÑ?.TanaCh/Shutterstock

The glove compartment is basically the pantry of your car. It’s a convenient—albeit, sometimes messy—place to store all of your driving essentials: insurance information, the vehicle’s owner’s manual, snacks, napkins, hand sanitizer, the list goes on. But that list should never include your cell phone.

Admittedly, there are a number of valid reasons to stash your phone away in the glove compartment while you drive. For one, it won’t slide all over the seat or bang around in your cupholder. More importantly, with your phone out of sight, you may be less tempted to check it on the road and avoid a potential accident. Ford U.K. and the road-safety organization Brake launched a campaign in 2017 to start calling glove compartments “phone boxes” for this very reason. Other organizations, like the “Glove It” movement, have also advocated for this habit.

The problem is, leaving your phone in your glove compartment can do serious damage to the device. You’re more likely to forget to take your phone with you when you get out of the car if it’s stored in a place you can’t see it, leaving it vulnerable to extreme temperatures. Exposing your phone to excess heat (around 95˚F or higher) can lead to data loss, corruption, and even permanent battery damage, TIME reports, and a parked car left in 95˚ heat can warm up to 116˚F in just an hour. That means even if your car is left in hot temperatures that don’t reach 95˚F, the interior of your car could still reach that harmful threshold. Storing your phone in the glove compartment doesn’t save it from that heat. In fact, that could make it worse. If you do leave your phone in your glove compartment, here’s how to cool your phone down.

Extremely cold temperatures can do equal damage. According to TIME, phones exposed to cold weather (around 32˚F or below) can experience a shorter battery life, have display problems, or shut off unexpectedly. It could even cause the glass to shatter. Don’t miss these other things that are killing your smartphone battery.

Safe driving solutions

So how can you drive around with your phone and keep yourself and your device safe at the same time? If you have an iPhone, use the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature, which prevents notifications from popping up while you drive and can send an automatic response to texts explaining that you’re driving. (One study found that this feature is actually effective for drivers.) Apps like LifeSaver can also block texts and calls and even reward you for driving safely. The simplest option is to turn it off altogether.

However, apps don’t solve the problem of where to store your device while you drive. That’s where smartphone car mounts come in. Mounts are both a secure place to store your phone while your text-blocking apps are turned on and a safe way to use your phone as a GPS when necessary. Wirecutter ranked the iOttie Easy One Touch 4 as the best smartphone mount for most drivers. It can hold any size phone, and you can choose from a dash/windshield mount, a CD-slot mount, and an air-vent mount.

With these tips, you can not only avoid damage for your phone, but you’ll keep yourself and other drivers safe every time you get behind the wheel. Next, read up on these other places you should never keep your phone.

Claire Nowak
Claire is a writer, editor and digital strategist with more than 10 years of experience reporting on facts, trivia and quotes. Her natural curiosity lends itself to stories on history, trivia and "Did you know?" curiosities, and her work has appeared in Taste of Home, The Family Handyman, The Healthy and iHeart Media. A former editor at Reader's Digest and proud Marquette University grad, she lives in Milwaukee with her fiancé and their corgi and enjoys binge-listening to true-crime podcasts.