Phones naturally warm up when in use as part of their normal function. If your phone is hot to the touch however, particularly if you haven’t been using it, this can indicate a bigger issue. Here, we’ll try to help you find out why your phone is hot, how to fix it and stop it from getting too hot again.
What causes my phone to overheat?
Phone handsets can become hot and overheat for several reasons, some of which won’t be applicable to all models and handsets. These can include:
• Too many apps running
• Direct sunlight or stored in a warm place
• Streaming content eg. Youtube, Twitch
• Gaming for long periods
• Backgrounds and settings e.g., 3D and video wallpapers
• Unsuitable phone case with no ventilation for heat
Phones can also become hot whilst charging. This is usually due to a faulty charging cable or a damaged battery. Check with a second cable to test if the issue lies with the connector; if the phone is still hot, this may be because of the battery and could require maintenance by an engineer.
Tips to cool down your overheating phone
There are several easy tips you can employ to cool down your phone and prevent it from overheating:
Avoid direct sunlight and store in cool place
The environment surrounding your phone can make all the difference to its heat output. Direct sunlight will naturally heat up your phone, so try to keep it in shade if outside and place away from window ledges where sunlight can stream through.
It is very common for people to also store their phones in tight compartments such as pockets or bags. This is ok for short periods, but over time the heat from your phone will struggle to go anywhere and begin to warm up the air around the phone. It is advisable to store a phone without a case to free up ventilation over longer periods.
Check your apps
Phones naturally warm up as the battery begins to work harder, increasing exponentially as more apps run in the background. Most phones enable the user to see what apps are running and close any they don’t need; on Androids, this is often done by pressing the Menu button on the bottom left or right of the screen. iPhone apps can be managed by pressing the Home button twice or swiping up from the bottom of your screen, depending on which model you own.
Battery saver apps can also be installed, which monitor your phone’s battery usage and temperature contribution by each app running. This can be an effective long-term method of monitoring which apps are the biggest culprits to your phone’s temperature.
Your phone’s everyday settings can also take a toll on the temperature. Check your screen brightness as it may need dialling down if too bright (many phones have auto-adjust brightness). Airplane Mode can be a useful setting between uses, or if you only want to use your device’s basic functions and keep it cool.
It is also advisable to purchase a case designed specifically for your phone model, as it will be made to avoid covering air vents on that particular phone.
Carrying multiple devices together in a bag or case is not a great idea. Each device is producing heat, increasing the ambient temperature of the container and passing its heat onto the other devices.
Try to minimise how many devices you are carrying in one place to reduce the risk of them stacking and sharing heat. Turning them off while contained can also help to mitigate the risk of rising phone temperature.
Watch your gaming and streaming time
Running games or streaming can very quickly raise phone temperatures. Not only do they push CPU workloads, but GPUs and batteries too, resulting in rising temperatures. This will differ from game to game or streaming service.
When playing a game or streaming, consider taking the case off if you use one, to reduce temperature build-up. Minimising playing time or reducing the graphic settings in-game can also help lower your CPU and GPU workloads. Watching videos at 1440p or 4K can warm up devices quickly; try dropping videos to 1080p/HD if your phone is hot.
Overheating can be a common issue, particularly on older handsets, but through careful consideration of your environment and apps on your phone, you can help keep it cool and reduce the risk of overheating. For more damage-preventative reading, find out what to do if your phone gets wet.