Colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) are promising materials for photovoltaic (PV) applications owing to their size-tunable bandgap and solution processing. However, reports on CQD PV stability have been limited so far to storage in the dark; or operation illuminated, but under an inert atmosphere. CQD PV devices that are stable under continuous operation in air have yet to be demonstrated-a limitation that is shown here to arise due to rapid oxidation of both CQDs and surface passivation. Here, a stable CQD PV device under continuous operation in air is demonstrated by introducing additional potassium iodide (KI) on the CQD surface that acts as a shielding layer and thus stands in the way of oxidation of the CQD surface. The devices (unencapsulated) retain >80% of their initial efficiency following 300 h of continuous operation in air, whereas CQD PV devices without KI lose the amount of performance within just 21 h. KI shielding also provides improved surface passivation and, as a result, a higher power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 12.6% compared with 11.4% for control devices.