A woman wearing a winter coat and gloves, talking on her phone while walking down a snowy street.

It’s cold out, you’re wearing gloves, and you need to interact with your smartphone or smartwatch. Now what? Use your nose.

You Can Use Your Nose to Control Your Phone?

If you’ve never tried it, you might be a little surprised to realize you can use your nose to control your phone. In fact, you can use any part of your body to interact with your phone.

That’s because your smartphone screen (as well as the screen of your smartwatch) is a capacitive screen that responds to the changes in the electrical current created by your finger or any other electrically conductive portion of your body brought into close proximity to the screen.

You can tap on the screen with your fingers, toes, elbows, nose, and so on, and your phone will respond. You could even use your tongue, but outside of a very unique emergency situation, that hardly seems like a hygienic practice.

And while we’re talking about cold weather, smartphones, and how their screens work, if you’re curious why it seems like your phone screen isn’t as responsive in the winter, here’s the inside scoop on how wintertime conditions can affect screen responsiveness.

But Why Your Nose?

Of course, of all the things we just listed above, your nose is the most practical thing to use besides your fingers.

Whenever it is cold out, and I’m not wearing smartphone-compatible gloves, rather than take my gloves off, I’ll just tap my phone against my nose, using my nose as a stylus in place of my fingertip.

You certainly can’t type out a message that way—well, I can’t though perhaps you’ve yet to discover you’re a talented nose typist—but you can answer the phone, stop a timer, or do anything else a simple thumb tap could accomplish.

Even when you’re not in the cold, using your nose is such a practical little hack. I’ll often be working on something around the house and have paint, grease, or grime on my hands, and the phone will ring.

If I need to take the call, I’ll just tap the pickup icon with my nose and conduct the phone call right from my Apple Watch without wiping my hands clean to pull my phone out of my pocket.

Of course, if the idea of smooshing your nose against your phone as a mock finger is a bit too much for your sensibilities, you can always pick up a pair of two of smartphone-compatible gloves to make cold-weather smartphone use more pleasant.

Profile Photo for Jason Fitzpatrick Jason Fitzpatrick
Jason Fitzpatrick is the Senior Smart Home Editor at How-To Geek. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at How-To Geek, Review Geek, LifeSavvy, and Lifehacker. Jason served as Lifehacker's Weekend Editor before he joined How-To Geek.
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