How to Stay Warm While Operating Your iPhone in the Cold

New technologies give rise to other new technologies and complementary goods. I love my iPhone and, living in a warm climate, I always have fingers warm enough to operate the heat-sensitive letters on its screen. But in a cold climate, I would have the same problem others have – I would have to choose between being able to operate the iPhone and having warm fingers. The two are no longer mutually exclusive: Companies are marketing mittens and gloves with fold-over buttonable fingers, so you can briefly expose your warm, functioning fingers to punch in letters and numbers on the iPhone, and keep your fingers warm when not using the device. Human ingenuity, even in a minor area like this, is truly remarkable. (HT: KBB)


Use your nose, plus Swype. It gets easier with practice. Surely your dignity is not too high a price for all-weather iPhone...

Ian Kemmish

I remember being impressed to see a friend wearing those in December 1988, a good twenty years before the introduction of the iPhone. So I suspect the cause and effect which you cite is not the true explanation. On the other hand, they're so apparently useful that for them to remain almost unknown for so long suggests they must have a serious design flaw somewhere....

I would not be at all surprised to learn that these had been invented in the trenches, or even the Crimea, where normal fingerless gloves (i.e. without the foldover bit) would not have been much use.


I'm almost 100% certain it has nothing to do with heat-sensitivity. Apple's touchscreens make use of the fact that as current flows past your finger through the screen it has a slight capacitive effect, slowing the flow of the current as it attempts to flow into your finger. The gloves are a sufficient insulator to negate this from happening.

Of course the screen doesn't work below a certain temperature, but that's a whole different problem.


Like Greg said, I'm pretty sure that it's the electrical impulses that make the iphone go. That means that the fingerless gloves--which have been around for a long long time--are not the innovative new product they appear to be.

However, winter gloves for an iphone that allow conductivity--which a quick search on google or amazon will reveal--are exactly that type of product

Cash McDollar

In the Season of Frost and Cold, many drivers are most grateful for their vehicle's Electrically Heated Seats.

I have a million dollar idea that expands the Concept: ELECTRICALLY HEATED PANTS. It would have a plug in adapter or even a battery pack. It would be some fashionable jeans or dress slacks. Unisex?

Call it " Hot Pants" or 'ElectroSlacks' or 'PowerJeans.'
Just don't spill the coffee or Juice.


The Koreans have been using hot dogs to get around this problem. There are all kinds of benefits with this solution: (1) you don't need new gloves, (2) hot dogs are cheap, and (3) you always have lunch around if needed. See


The problem as Greg pointed out is not heat but the current running through your fingers. The actually make gloves that conduct this current without you having to remove them at all, or you can make them yourself with a lot less effort than you'd think.


As Ian mentions, these are not a new invention.

They have been around for as long as I can remember in Canada.

The design flaw is that they let snow in because they're not a single piece - they have a massive break in their middle. Additionally, they're not as warm as gloves without the break.


^ Beaten to it. Thanks, Sam. I loved the "Meat Stylus" reports from last winter.

Recalling they suggested someone was researching a less perishable alternative, I found this option rather quickly. $10 seems like a reasonable asking price, even compared to frozen hotdogs.

Harrison B

Try these:

Michael Radosevich

I solved this problem a long time ago. I buyna $5 pair of wool gloves from Zara, burn a cigarette-sized hole in the index finger, and voila - iPhone access.


These are commonly called smokers gloves. Hard to strike up a lighter with big woolen gloves on, as well as smoke one down to within a half inch of the filter without burning the gloves.

Craig Kocur

I just bought a pair of Agloves ( and they work like a charm. They won't stand up to the coldest days here in Michigan but neither does an exposed iPhone.

Breno Neri

Dear Daniel,

The sentence "I always have fingers warm enough to operate the heat-sensitive letters on its screen" doesn't make much sense.

The iPhone screens (or the vast majority of touch screens we use nowadays, for that matter) are not heat-sensitive at all. These are actually capacitive screens: the touch pressure deforms the screen, altering its capacitance in that region.

So, it would be correct to say they are pressure-sensitive screens, but it's certainly wrong to say they are heat-sensitive screens.

This is actually easy to test: you'll see that you can type using the corner of an ice cube instead of warm fingers.



As others have noted, gloves and mittens like those you mention have been around for generations. It's not just IPhone users who have needed to go from fingered to fingerless quickly! Any number of tasks generations earlier required gloveless dexterity.


I find that the iPhone can be operated while wearing unlined leather gloves, apparently the current transfers through the leather.

Vinny B

Welcome to the 21st century...these have been around for forever now


I just had the same problem. Day one with my new touchscreen phone. When my gloved figure didn't work, I tried my tongue (no dignity). When that failed I tried my nose. When that failed I took off my glove. I thought I had the idea that would make me my quick and easy millions. But Aglove beat me to it. Hopefully I have a pair under the tree.


Just get some conductive thread ( and sew it into your gloves.

David L

Yeah this is a) not new and b) not the best solution. They have touchscreen-conductive gloves now that you can buy for as little as $17.