Why your phone is overheating & 5 easy fixes

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Why does my phone get so hot? If your phone is feeling unusually warm to the touch, or you’re seeing a temperature warning on the screen, don’t panic. Our smartphones work constantly, so they get overheated sometimes — but there are ways to fix this. Here are 5 ways to cool down your device so you can start using it again.


#1 Protect your phone from the heat

Have you ever gone to the beach or a BBQ, and picked up your phone only to find out it’s been locked for a few minutes? Exposure to high temperatures and sunlight is a key reason why phones get hot, so the first step is to get it out of that heat. Move your phone to a dry, cool place, like under your towel or inside an item of clothing that’s in the shade. Please don’t put your phone in the freezer — this will cause damage.


#2 Separate your phone from other devices

Is your smartphone in a bag with multiple devices, like tablets or laptops? All modern devices release hot air to some extent, especially if there are apps running in the background and their batteries are working overtime. Try to store your smartphone in a different location, like your pocket, to help cool it down. Once you’re done dealing with an overheated phone, you could consider investing in dividers for your briefcase or tote bag to prevent this issue.


#3 Take off your phone’s case, if it has one

Phone cases protect your phone from chips, scratches and breaks, which is handy if you tend to drop your phone a lot or store it in bags with keys and other ridged objects. At the same time, cases can trap heat — the last thing you need if your phone is running hot. Remove the case until your phone cools down or the temperature warning disappears, and then it’ll be safe to put back on.

#4 Fan your phone

Just like a fan gets air circulating through a room, it can be an easy way to cool down a smartphone. Hold your smartphone near a fan, or if you don’t have one, try fanning your phone with a piece of paper or book to mimic the effect. 


#5 Exit apps and turn off the phone

If you can still use your phone but it’s starting to feel warm, completely exit any apps you’re not using. In particular, focus on apps that drain the battery quickly, like YouTube, video games and social media. While you’re assessing your apps, it’s worth deleting any apps you never use from your phone. 

You could also try switching off your phone, and keeping it off until your phone returns to its normal temperature.


What causes phones to overheat?

Now that your phone is back in business, let’s look at why devices overheat in the first place. Modern phone batteries emit heat regularly, so that’s normal. But phones usually overheat when the batteries are overworked, or there’s prolonged use of the phone in less-than-ideal conditions.

These are the most common reasons to help you answer the question: why is my phone so hot?

  • Exposure to heat. Like computers and other devices, smartphones have internal fans to keep them cool. However, these aren’t always sufficient, especially if the phone is sitting in high temperatures or direct sunlight for a long period of time. Ideally, you should keep your phone in an environment between 0 and 35 degrees Celsius. Any hotter, and you run the risk of overheating. In a nutshell? Don’t leave your phone on a sizzling hot car dashboard or deck chair in the middle of summer. 

  • Sudden shifts in temperature. On the flip side, steer clear of storing your phone in extremely cold or freezing locations as well. These kinds of changes in temperature introduce moisture to your phone, which can cause overheating as the internal components of your device move around. 

  • Poor charging environments. Does your Android or iPhone feel hot when charging? Connecting your phone to a power source, like a charger, can cause it to heat up more than usual. Try to charge your phone on a cool, hard and flat surface, and avoid placing it in an already-warm environment, like in between couch cushions under the covers of your bed.
  • Broken chargers. If there are wires sticking out of your charger’s cords, it’s time for an upgrade. We recommend purchasing a charger from the manufacturer who made your phone, like Apple or Samsung. Otherwise, choose a well-known brand that properly tests its chargers.

  • Too many apps running at once. Chances are, you toggle between email, text messages, social media, maps and a variety of other apps. Our smartphones have sophisticated central processing units (CPUs) that help to filter all this work, but they can get overworked sometimes. Plus, many apps run in the background, even if you’re not using them. If your iPhone is heating up, close your apps, starting with video streaming, gaming and other intense apps to see if that helps.

  • Outdated software or apps. Manufacturers constantly roll out patches to fix flaws, address complaints and speed up their programs for a better user experience. It’s important to accept all software updates as soon as they pop up, and to regularly update your apps to protect your smartphone from overheating as well as more serious problems, like hackers.

  • Malware. iPhones are less likely to fall victim to malware, and that’s simply because Apple doesn’t allow users to download non-iOS apps. Android has more flexibility, which means these devices are more prone to malware and viruses that can cause your phone to overheat. Antivirus software can protect your phone from harmful apps and notify you of any red flags.


Safeguard your smartphone with ESET Mobile Security

Specifically designed for Androids, ESET Mobile Security offers a multilayered defence against a range of cyber threats, including ransomware and ransomware. The best mobile antivirus, it prevents unauthorised users from gaining access to your networks and systems and blocks offensive and unsolicited content so you can safely use your favourite apps. You can install it on multiple Android devices under one shared license for ultimate peace of mind.