This is why your phone keeps getting so damn hot (and how to prevent it)

It’s the beginning of summer, and that means trips to the beach and backyard barbecues, which can lead to another summer phenomenon: overheating phones. Now that the temperatures are warmer, it’s not at all unusual to grab the phone and then pull your hand back because it’s very hot to the touch. You look at your phone and see an alert:

“Your device is overheating and needs to cool down.”

For the most part, overheating isn’t always a problem. You can move your phone out of direct sunlight or put it in a cooler place and wait for it to cool down. And then you’re good to go. But that’s not always the case.

You don’t want your phone to get hot, because it can slow down or even stop working completely. It can even cause permanent damage in some cases. And then you may need to replace the battery or buy a brand new phone, and that requires spending money, even with insurance.

That’s why you want to take steps to prevent yours iphone, Android or other phone from overheating. Here’s what you need to know.

For more, check out the best iPhone you can get in 2023, as well as our top picks if you’re considering an Android phone.

Why is your phone heating up in the first place?

Your phone may be overheating for many reasons, but these are some of the most common culprits:

  • Leave the phone in direct sunlight.
  • Keep the phone in a warm environment.
  • Excessive use of the phone when it is charging.
  • A defective battery or charger.
  • Bugs in the software.
  • Rogue app or malware.

Your phone may get hot due to other causes like a malfunctioning app or even a stuffy phone case, but the above reasons are the most likely causes for your phone to get hot.

A Galaxy S23 Ultra being charged

You don’t want to abuse your phone while it’s charging.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

What does overheating do to your phone?

If the internal temperature of the phone is higher than normal and the device gets hot, you can expect some problems:

  • You can’t use the phone.
  • Your phone slows down.
  • Charging slows down or stops completely.
  • Your signal is weakened.
  • Your camera’s flash is temporarily disabled.

There are also possible permanent harmful effects – overheating can cause permanent damage to the battery, SIM card and other crucial parts inside your phone.

So how can you keep your phone from overheating?

The most important thing is to do it keep your phone out of direct sunlight whenever possible, especially when it’s hot. Your phone might be fine in the grass on an overcast day, but the hotter the temperature, the less your phone can withstand the sun. At the beach, your phone can get hot within minutes in the sun. The same if you put it in a sunny place in the car.

Instead, keep your phone away from direct light, whether it’s in your pocket, inside a backpack, or under a towel/blanket or dashboard. Any place that will keep it out of sunlight will work.

It’s easy enough to protect your phone from the sun, but high temperatures can also cause your phone to overheat. After just an hour, the inside of a car can reach 143 degrees when it’s 100 degrees outside, for example, so a phone left in a cup holder could quickly overheat and become damaged. The short answer: Not keep your phone in a warm environment for a long time, even if it is not exposed to direct sunlight. This includes your car, a sauna, the kitchen, the middle of the desert, or anywhere near a fire.

The optimal internal temperature of the phone should be between 0 and 35 °C (32 and 95 F). To avoid overheating, Apple recommends keeping your device in a place where the temperature is between -4 and 113 F (-20 and 45 C).

You should also follow these tips to prevent your phone from overheating

  • Do not use graphics or processor intensive apps when your phone is charging. This includes massive mobile video games like PUBG Mobile or streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu.
  • Update your phone system software and apps to the latest software available. A bug in the software can cause overheating issues, so always stay up to date with your software.
  • Avoid third-party chargers. Most of the time you’ll be fine, but a cheaply designed charger could cause your phone to overheat.

While you’re here, check out how to make your Android feel new again with these five tips and our MacBook Air M2 review.

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