In partnership with Tech21. Here in San Diego, we’re at the beach year-round, which means our smartphones are, too. My iPhone is constantly dangling over sand and surf while I snap photos of La Jolla’s famous sea lions, my daughter’s surf camp, and even our dog during his reluctant post-surgery therapy walks in knee-deep ocean water.

Even with steady hands, using an iPhone to the beach can be a risky business. With this in mind, I’ve partnered with Tech21 (a tablet and phone case company that specializes in impact protection) to share how to keep your iPhone safe and easy to use while enjoying a glorious beach day.

1. Have a Good Case

Protect your investment with a case that helps resist drops, sand and water. I own a GoPro action camera so don’t take my iPhone into water (and am paranoid to submerge it in water under any circumstances), but found some peace of mind using the Tech21 Evo Aqua case during recent beach outings. The case completely covers the phone without too much bulk, leaving the touch screen easy to use.

I like that it covered my headphone jack and plug to prevent sand from getting inside. Let’s face it, your phone doesn’t need to be dropped in the sand to get pesky grains inside of it. All it takes is co-mingling with a sandy towel inside of a beach bag to cause an issue.

Then there are the often-slippery rocks and puddles surrounding my favorite flippered photo subjects. It’s very, very easy to drop a phone over here.

This is definitely a spot for a drop and water-resistant iPhone case.

The iPhone camera still takes pretty good photos despite its lens being covered by the protective case. In fact, every photo in this post was taken with the Evo Aqua case on an iPhone 7, with the exception of the top photo of the phone in the actual case.

Tip: If you choose not to use a waterproof or water-resistant case, it may be worth investing in some dust plugs to keep sand from getting into these tricky spots.

And, speaking of cases, I should also mention that I have a Tech21 wallet case for my iPhone 6s Plus that props the phone up for optimal video viewing and has a cool little pocket for business cards.

2. Keep Your iPhone Out of Direct Sunlight and Heat

Apple says that safe use of iOS devices occurs when ambient temperature is between 32 – 95° F. I can tell you that even temperate San Diego exceeds this range in direct sunlight. Be sure to keep the phone in the shade.

Apple also says that iPhones can be stored at temperatures between –4 – 113° F. Locked-up cars during sunny days often also easily exceed this high temperature threshold. So, leaving it in the car instead of on the beach in some shade may not be the best option.

3. In Extreme Heat, Turn the iPhone Off

iPhones do not have an internal fan or cooling system. Their defense mechanism against heat is to lower performance until its eventually rendered useless. iPhones will generate a temperature warning when it senses the device is getting it too hot. The bad news is that while this seems like a handy notification, if your phone reaches this state, its unusable. Though they say it “might” be able to make emergency calls.

Keeping your iPhone turned off in extreme will help it stay cooler because the phone generates heat when on and in use.

4. Don’t Charge Your Phone at the Beach

The temperature of your phone rises when it charges so make sure you have a full charge before hitting the sand.

How to keep your iPhone safe at the beach
La Jolla Cove shot with an iPhone 7/Tech21 Evo Aqua case.

5. Use an Anti-Glare Screen Protector

It’s way easier to see your phone’s screen in direct sunlight with an anti-glare screen protector. Tech21’s Impact Shield not only protects the screen from drops (it features BulletShield™ which is used in bulletproof glass to absorb impact) but it has an anti-glare aspect, too. The latter is important in sunny climates like Southern California because lighting conditions can and do change so drastically. So far, it’s worked great for me and I’ve had it on my iPhone for almost a year.

6. Avoid Disposable Bags

Here’s the thing. We have greedy seagulls here in Southern California. They know how we roll. They like sandwiches, homemade cookies and other food we bring to the beach and suspect that most of us carry these tasty items in disposable bags.

Put a smartphone in paper or plastic bag at your peril because our seagulls will swoop down and steal it, thinking there is food inside. Trust me, this has happened to me (the bird dropped it though) and many other people. The threat is real.

How to keep your iPhone safe and easy to use at the beach.
These seagulls keep an eye out for disposable bags… seriously.

What other tips do you have for making an iPhone beach ready?

Shop Tech21 here (free shipping worldwide and free returns).

Learn how to keep your iPhone safe from sand, water and sunlight at the beach, written in partnership with Tech21.

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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