Why Your Phone May Be Overheating—and How to Cool It Down (2023)

Should you be worried when your cellphone starts to burn up? Here’s what it means and what you can do to cool it down.

Why Your Phone May Be Overheating—and How to Cool It Down (1)rd.com, Courtesy Apple

If your phone has been sitting in direct sunlight or was left in a hot car, it’s not surprising that it might be overheating. However, excessive heat can occur for other reasons—due to circumstances either outside the device or from the inside—and it’s one of the ways you’re shortening the life of your phone.

Smartphones hold a lot of our important information, so it’s a good idea to educate yourself about these and other reasons your phone might be heating up. Sometimes it’s the result of regular use, but it’s also possible your phone is overheating because someone hacked into your device. It’s a good idea to learn how to tell if your phone has been hacked and to follow best practices regarding smartphone security.

One of the main reasons our phones overheat, however, is that we’re taxing the batteries in some way, so saving battery life on your iPhone is a great way to protect your device. Once you understand why it might be heating up, you can learn how to cool down your phone and protect your investment.

Why is your phone overheating?

Chelsea Ashbrook, digital experience manager at Genentech, says one of the primary reasons for a phone to overheat is having too many background applications open. “It is not uncommon for an iPhone app to crash,” Ashbrook says, “causing a constant feedback loop that ultimately leads your iPhone’s CPU usage to spike, leading to overheating.”

Damien Mason, a technical writer for ProPrivacy, says that having multiple apps open “causes the processor and RAM to work overtime, which inevitably strains the battery.”

Phones may also overheat if you haven’t cleared your web browser cache. “Excess files, cookiesand cache force the iPhone to work harder to retrieve data, which can result in overheating,” Ashbrook says.

It’s also possible that apps may be running in the background without your knowledge. Familiarize yourself with phone apps that could be spying on you, and learn how to delete iPhone apps.

Using outdated hardware or software can also lead to your phone overheating, as can some user habits, like leaving it plugged in most of the time.

How to cool down your phone

Take your phone out of the heat

You might like sunbathing, but your phone does not. “Most modern smartphones have internal temperature sensors,” says Tom Paton, founder of Green Smartphones. “When they begin to get too hot, your phone might give you a push notification, warning that it’s overheating. If the temperature rises further, the phone will likely switch itself off to prevent damage to the processor and other components.

“Even brand-new phones with really good thermal management can’t withstand more than 10 minutes of use in direct sunlight on a 100-plus degree day,” Paton says.

If your cellphone overheats due to high temperatures, Paton says the best way to cool down your phone is to “take it inside, ideally somewhere with air conditioning, and stop using it until it cools down. This should take about 5 to 15 minutes.”

“Whatever you do, never put your phone in the fridge or freezer,” Paton warns. “Sudden temperature changes and condensation can very easily damage your phone.”

Close your apps

“Simple physics explains this reason,” says Ben Hartwig, web operations executive at InfoTracer. “If the user is on the phone all day long and if multiple apps are running simultaneously, high use of the processor and the electrical chips within the phone generate heat.”

Keeping apps open forces your battery to work harder, which may result in the phone overheating and the need to cool it down. It’s even worse if your apps aren’t updated.

Stay updated

Not only do you need to keep your operating system updated, but you also need to make sure you’re running the latest version of your apps. “If mobile apps aren’t updated, they require higher use of RAM and processors,” Hartwig says.

“New software and updates are produced regularly, and each update increases the minimum hardware requirements for the phone to run smoothly,” says Ajinkya Mishra, consumer tech expert at DevsJournal. “Old hardware can struggle to meet the requirements of new software, and even simple tasks such as sending emails can start overheating your phone.”

Stop charging your phone

“Overcharging is another usual cause of overheating, so once your phone reaches 100% charge, be sure to unplug it,” says Eloise Tobler, smartphone expert at Wisetek Store. “Otherwise, your phone will just begin to build unnecessary charge, which generates excess heat.”

Your device isn’t getting the rejuvenation it needs if you use it while it’s plugged in. “Using your phone while simultaneously charging it is called ‘pass-through charging,’ which heats up phones dramatically,” explains technology expert Nick Wolny.

Instead of charging your phone longer, learn how to charge your phone faster.

Remove your phone from its case

Just like you take off layers when you get hot, removing the case from your device will help cool down your phone. “Many cell phone cases don’t have good airflow and can cause your phone to overheat quickly,” says Josh Wright, CEO of CellPhoneDeal.

“Beware of ‘life-proof’ cases that are heavily rubberized, as they can block vents and make it harder for our phones to cool down when in use,” Wolny says. Since our phones tend to heat up when they expend a lot of processing power, the devices must have clear channels to release this heat and regulate their temperature. Wolny recommends “stripping your phone” when it is outside in the heat or powering multiple applications. Just be extra careful not to drop it!

Keep your phone away from other electronic devices

Molly White from UBreakIFix says it’s best to keep phones separate from your other tech. “Stacking your running phone, tablet and computer together in a bag makes them more susceptible to overheating,” White says. “Keep them separate to help keep them cool.”

Turn on airplane mode

White also suggests using airplane mode if you need to cool down your phone. “If your phone has low or no signal, it may be working overtime searching for a connection, which can lead to your phone warming up,” White says. “Turn on airplane mode until you’re back in an area with coverage.”

Turn off your phone

If all else fails, one of the best hacks to cool down your phone is simply to turn it off. According to Will Manuel, president and CEO of mobile app and website development agency Core Mobile Apps, leaving your phone powered down for 30 to 60 seconds can help “the heat to dissipate within the phone and reset some of the memory-intensive processes that may have been causing the phone to overheat.”

“A simple restart will often cool off the phone in no time at all,” says Bill Mann, privacy expert at Restore Privacy. “It’s like giving the phone a little break and letting it breathe for a minute or two before using it again.”

How to prevent your phone from overheating

Get sunblock for your phone

Probably the No. 1 thing you can do is keep your phone away from heat sources. “If you do insist on taking your phone to the pool, investing in a heat-resistant pouch or case could be worth the money to try and keep the phone cooler,” suggests Sarah McConomy, COO of SellCell. “Remember, phones are designed to shut down after they reach a certain temperature as a preventive measure to avoid too much damage.”

Use the right charger

Another way to avoid overheating is to use a charger from a reputable manufacturer that is compatible with your device. “If you shelled out over $1,000 for the newest Apple iPhone, I hope you also shelled out for the $20 Apple Lightning USB cable,” says tech expert Jessica Naziri, founder of TechSesh.

Naziri recommends using only official name-brand chargers that come with the electronic device. “Cheaply made chargers are usually not manufactured correctly and will have all types of issues, including exposing your phone to increased temperatures,” Naziri says. “There are chips close to the plastic cover of a charger for a reason, and that reason is to help the heat escape easier. Often the fake ones are poorly made, with cheaper chips.”

Turn off Bluetooth

Turning off Bluetooth—especially if there’s nothing to connect to—will prevent your phone from overheating too. “If Bluetooth is on but the phone isn’t connected to a device, it will constantly scan for something to connect to,” says White. “This can cause the phone to warm up.”

Adjust your brightness

White also suggests turning down the screen brightness on your phone. “Turning your screen brightness up will force your battery to work harder and create more heat,” she says. “Lower your screen brightness and consider shortening the screen timeout duration to keep your screen from being on for unnecessarily long periods of time. Also look into an anti-glare screen protector—it can help you see your phone’s screen in the sun so you won’t have to turn up the brightness.”

Additional reporting by Carley Lerner.

Sources:

grinvalds/Getty ImagesiPhone Hacks You Never Knew About
RD.com, Getty Images, via apple.comiPhone Disabled? Here's What to Do
takasuu/Getty ImagesCan iPhones Get Viruses?

FAQs

How do you cool your phone down when it overheats? ›

How to Cool Down Your Phone Fast
  1. Turn it off. Many smartphones will automatically shut themselves down when they get overheated. ...
  2. Close down your apps. ...
  3. Unplug your phone. ...
  4. Move it into the shade. ...
  5. Take it out of the case. ...
  6. Put it next to a fan. ...
  7. Limit phone use when possible. ...
  8. Avoid high-power apps and games.
Aug 9, 2022

What causes a phone to overheat? ›

Phones often get hot from overuse or from having too many active apps. Your phone may also overheat due to malware, misbehaving software, or exposure to direct sunlight. It's normal for phones to get a bit warm, but sustained heat can signal a deeper problem.

What does it mean when your phone needs to cool down? ›

When your iPhone is too hot for its own good, it goes into cool-down mode. This happens after you've kept your phone directly in the hot sun, forgot it in a parked car, or overused it continuously while it was in a hot environment.

How can I cool down naturally? ›

Tips to reduce body temperature
  1. Drink cool liquids. ...
  2. Go somewhere with cooler air. ...
  3. Get in cool water. ...
  4. Apply cold to key points on the body. ...
  5. Move less. ...
  6. Wear lighter, more breathable clothing. ...
  7. Take heat regulating supplements. ...
  8. Talk to a doctor about thyroid health.

Can I put my phone in the freezer to cool it down? ›

Put Your Phone Into a Cool Place

Getting your phone out of these hot environments can cool it down immediately — try putting it into a dark room or even cool it down with a fan. Never put it into the freezer or refrigerator, though. Cold temperatures can damage your phone, too.

What are signs of a phone overheating? ›

When a smart phone gets hot, you may notice your phone isn't charging as fast, or that charging doesn't work at all. Or the display could dim, or go black. Extreme heat can also hurt your cell signal as the radios switch into low-power mode.

Is it good to switch off phone while charging? ›

Yes, you can use your smartphone while charging. There is no danger in using your phone while it's charging.

Why is my iPhone overheating so quickly? ›

Leaving your device in a car on a hot day. Leaving your device in direct sunlight for an extended period of time. Using certain features in hot conditions or direct sunlight for an extended period of time, such as GPS tracking or navigation in a car, playing a graphics-intensive game, or using augmented-reality apps.

Why does my Samsung keep saying overheating? ›

The most common reasons for a device becoming hot are: Your device is charging. Your device is running a power-intensive app. Your device is being used in a case or cover.

Why does my iPhone overheat while charging? ›

Most often, this is because the charger you are using is either damaged or not correctly plugged into the wall. However, there are other causes like: You may charge your iPhone too often, pushing the limits of the device. The area you are in is too hot to ramp up the temperature of your device.

How can I cool down without doing anything? ›

No AC, no problem. There are plenty of ways to stay cool with just a bit of ice, a fan, and these tricks
  1. Eat spicy foods. ...
  2. Sleep under a damp towel or sheet. ...
  3. Set your ceiling fan to run counter-clockwise. ...
  4. Eat less salty food and protein. ...
  5. Wet your curtains. ...
  6. Buy or build an ice-pack hat. ...
  7. Put a bowl of ice in front of your fan.
Jul 3, 2020

What is the fastest way to cool something down? ›

An ice water bath is simply a pan, or sink, of ice and water that you can sit the container in. Stir the food so that it cools even quicker. Food should be cooled and ready to go into the refrigerator or freezer within two hours from the time that you took it off of the stove or out of the oven.

Can your phone break from overheating? ›

It's natural for mobile devices to warm up during use, especially if they're on for long periods of time. But when smartphones overheat, they could potentially become damaged. Overheating affects your phone's performance, and can eventually lead to owning an expensive paperweight.

How long does it take for a phone to cool down? ›

If your cellphone overheats due to high temperatures, Paton says the best way to cool down your phone is to “take it inside, ideally somewhere with air conditioning, and stop using it until it cools down. This should take about 5 to 15 minutes.”

Why is my phone hot and losing battery? ›

Malware from some Apps

Some apps, especially on Android, are prone to getting viruses. Malware eats more of your phone's RAM than it should. It occurs by them taking over some of the phone's tasks. Thus, it causes much heat and battery drain.

Why is my battery draining so fast? ›

Your battery drains much faster when it's hot, even when not in use. This kind of drain can damage your battery. You don't need to teach your phone the battery's capacity by going from full charge to zero, or zero to full. We recommend you occasionally drain your battery to under 10% and then charge it fully overnight.

Should I charge my phone overnight? ›

Batteries decay from the moment you start using your new phone. This means they gradually lose their ability to hold a charge. By charging your phone overnight, you're increasing the amount of time it spends with the charger. As a result, it degrades the capacity much sooner.

Is it okay to turn off phone every night? ›

Should you shut down your phone at night? There's nothing wrong with shutting down your phone and mobile devices, but it's not necessary. It's generally safe to leave them on overnight. Your mobile devices aren't constantly plugged in, so there are fewer failure types you can encounter.

Does charging overnight damage battery? ›

Charging overnight is not a danger to your battery in and of itself. However, temperature is a real concern. One of the most damaging things your battery can experience is extreme heat or extreme cold.

How do I make my iPhone less hot? ›

Your iPhone produces less heat when the battery discharges more slowly. Step 1: Go to Settings > Battery and toggle on Low power mode. Step 2: You can also access the setting from Control Center. Set that up from Settings > Control center, then select Low power mode to add it to Control Center.

How hot is too hot for iPhone? ›

Use iOS and iPadOS devices where the ambient temperature is between 0º and 35ºC (32º to 95ºF). Low- or high-temperature conditions may cause your device to change its behaviour to regulate its temperature.

How do I check the temperature of my phone? ›

On some Android devices, you can get information about your battery by typing the following code: *#*#4636#*#*. If your handset has this feature, it will open a menu, from which you can select Battery Information. One of the options within this menu is Battery Temperature.

How do I fix my overheated Samsung phone? ›

Do the following when the device heats up: Disconnect the charger from the device and close any running apps. Wait for the device to cool down and then begin charging the device again. It is recommended to use Samsung-approved battery, charger, and cable specifically designed for your device.

How do I stop my Samsung galaxy from overheating? ›

Here are some solutions for what to do if your Galaxy devices generate heat.
  1. Turn off the Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth functions when not in use. In addition, reduce the screen brightness of your device.
  2. Optimized the phone using Device care feature.
  3. Close unused background running apps.
Aug 9, 2022

Can I use iPhone while charging? ›

This is absolutely not true and, in fact, it's totally safe to use your phone while it charges from either a wall outlet or a power bank. However, using your phone while charging will cause it to charge much more slowly.

Why is my iPhone extremely hot? ›

Some reasons why your iPhone gets hot include: Faulty battery – if the battery is faulty or damaged, it might be overworking itself unnecessarily. Too many apps running – your iPhone needs to work harder to run many processes at the same time, which can cause excess heat.

Why is my iPhone so hot? ›

Why is my iPhone getting hot? Your iPhone gets hot because the battery and other hardware inside generate heat whenever your phone is working, even if it's just charging. Your iPhone is designed to dissipate heat, but an old battery, too many apps running, and even direct sunlight can make your phone overheat.

Can your phone freeze if it overheats? ›

If your Android phone is constantly overheating and feels warm this could be problematic and might be a sign your phone could freeze or shut down while using it. Plus, the components of your device could become damaged if it's constantly overheating. There are a number of ways you can cool down your device.

Is it OK for iPhone to be hot? ›

If your device gets too warm

iOS and iPadOS devices have built-in protections to prevent overheating. If the interior temperature of your device exceeds the normal operating range, your device will protect its internal components by attempting to regulate its temperature.

How to clear cache on iPhone? ›

How to clear the cache on an iPhone or iPad
  1. Open Settings, scroll down until you find Safari, then select it to open the next menu.
  2. Scroll down and tap 'Clear History and Website Data'.
  3. In the popup, tap 'Clear History and Data' to confirm.
Jul 8, 2022

Is it bad if your phone gets hot? ›

Phones usually get hot because of an overworked battery. A little heat coming from the back of your phone is normal because modern phone batteries emit heat while in use. But prolonged or extreme heat can signal something more serious, like outdated software or apps that cybercriminals can exploit.

How much is an iPhone battery? ›

Apple said on its website that starting on March 1 all older iPhones that came out before 2022 will see their battery replacement fees increase by $20. Under the old prices, an iPhone 13 owner getting a new battery from Apple would pay $69. In March, the tech giant will charge $89.

Why is my phone hot when charging? ›

If the bottom of your phone gets hot, and your phone is overheating while charging, it could be due to a faulty charging port or cable. Make sure you're using a reliable charging cable, and if that doesn't fix the issue, you may need to repair your charging port.

How long does it take for a phone to stop overheating? ›

If your cellphone overheats due to high temperatures, Paton says the best way to cool down your phone is to “take it inside, ideally somewhere with air conditioning, and stop using it until it cools down. This should take about 5 to 15 minutes.”

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