It’s 20 degrees out and your smartphone rings. If you want to answer it but don’t want to take off your toasty warm gloves, we have a few hacks to help.
The reason your gloves prevent you from using your touchscreen is that they block the electric charge transmitted via the moisture in your fingertips, explains Jacob Wobbrock, a professor at the University of Washington’s Information School. The capacitive touchscreen — the lingo for this charge-sensitive feature — needs that moisture so it can detect exactly where your finger is on the screen.
But when you have gloves on, Wobbrock told The Huffington Post, you can trick your phone into thinking it’s being touched by fingertips. All you need is a bit of moisture and some contact.
Here’s what to do:
1. Use your nose.
With this method, your nose acts just as your finger would. Wobbrock, who’s also the co-founder and CEO of Seattle tech company AnswerDash, calls this trick a “good everyday way” to answer your smartphone without removing your gloves.
Downsides: It can be a little tricky and requires a somewhat dexterous nose, as well as the ability to go cross-eyed. You might get a few weird looks, too. Plus, there’s a high chance for smearing snot on your phone. Ew.
Watch HuffPost Sports Editor Maxwell Strachan effortlessly demonstrate this technique here:
Yes, we are aware that he’s not wearing gloves. He’s testing a high-tech prototype for invisible mittens. Look for them at CES 2016. 😉
2. Breathe on your phone or lick your gloves.
This technique uses your saliva or the condensation from your breath to provide the moisture that would normally come from your fingertips but gets blocked when you wear gloves. The user simply licks a gloved fingertip before swiping, or breathes on the phone and swipes the screen as soon as possible. Wobbrock said a knit glove is ideal for the latter because “water molecules from [your] breath on the screen kind of find their way into those little gaps and crevices and create a bridge from your finger to the screen.”
Downsides: The breathing technique, as attempted by HuffPost, was inconsistent, especially in very cold or windy conditions. Licking the glove is more reliable, but it will leave the aftertaste of glove in your mouth and, well, it’s kinda gross.
Here’s the author successfully using this technique:
3. Use a meat stick.
We’ll admit that we were pretty skeptical when we first stumbled across this technique, which apparently became popular in South Korea. But it it works like a charm. The grease in the meat stick provides the conductivity needed for the screen to recognize it, even in sub-zero temperatures.
Downsides: In order for this to work reliably, you have to have a meat stick with you at all times. Then…