Why does my phone get hot? 13 tips for cooling down your phone

A Black woman comfortably texts on her phone fearlessly, meaning she has no worries and no need to ask herself "Why does my phone get hot?"

May 4, 2022

Cell phones heat up when the battery is working too hard. So if you find yourself constantly asking yourself, “why does my phone get so hot?” you might actually be doing long-term damage to your smartphone

If you’ve been using your cell phone for a long time, a little heat coming from the device is normal, but it shouldn’t  be too hot for too long. Learning why phones overheat and how to protect it can help you avoid sustained  damage to your cell phone.   

We’ve put together a guide to what makes phones overheat and how you can be on the lookout. 

Why does your phone get hot?

Seven illustrations help answer the common question of “why does my phone get 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 But prolonged or extreme heat can signal something more serious, like outdated software or apps that cybercriminals can exploit.  

Phones can get hot for a variety of reasons—most of which stem from overuse or prolonged use. A few common  reasons for phones overheating include:         

  • Streaming video content for prolonged periods of time
  • Gaming         
  • High screen brightness 
  • Outdated apps or software
  • Exposure to hot conditions or direct sunlight

Android vs. iPhone overheating

Android devices have an additional factor to consider: overheating due to viruses or malware. iPhones are rarely  susceptible to malware or viruses, because Apple doesn’t allow any non-Apple software on their devices. An  Android, however, may become infected with a virus that causes the phone to overheat.  

To help keep your Android from overheating, consider installing a reliable antivirus software on your device. 

How to keep your phone from overheating

Six illustrations help depict useful tips for those searching for answers as to “why does my phone get hot” and “how to stop my phone from overheating?”

Keeping your phone from overheating means you're protecting your it from damage. The following tips can help  you keep your phone cool, safe, and secure. 

Keep your apps up to date

Bugs or older software may result in apps taking more energy to run and, therefore, making your phone overheat.  Frequently updating your apps helps fix any of those bugs and keeps them from using extensive energy. 

Avoid direct sunlight exposure

Leaving your phone in hot conditions or direct sunlight for a significant amount of time can heat up the inside of the phone to extreme levels. If you’re outdoors with your cell phone, leave it in a dark, cooler place like a bag or loose pocket.  

Charge your phone on a cool, flat surface 

If you charge your phone on a bed, blanket, pillow, or other cushioned surface, it may be trapping heat. Heat needs to be able to escape the phone while it’s charging. So, when you plug your phone in to charge, be sure you place it  on a cool, flat, hard surface. You may also want to replace the charging cable. 

Close apps you aren’t using 

Background apps can still take up energy while not in use. If you don’t close an app, it will remain open in the  background and continue to consume your phone’s energy—making it work harder than necessary. When you’re not using an app, don’t just exit the app—ensure it’s fully closed.  

If you want to go the extra mile, you can even delete apps that you don’t use

Leave your screen brightness on low 

Though it might not seem significant, your phone’s brightness can have an impact on your energy usage. And the  more energy you use, the hotter your phone gets. Turn your screen brightness down a notch to conserve energy,  while also reducing the strain on your eyes that comes with staring at the bright light. 

Install antivirus software

For Androids, viruses can cause issues with your phone’s software that can result in overheating. Antivirus software can block malware from infecting your phone while securing your Android device

Turn on airplane mode

If you only need limited functionality like checking the time or setting an alarm, turn your phone on its airplane  mode setting. This can keep your phone from continuing to work hard when you aren’t using it. 

How to cool down your phone

Four illustrations accompany ways to cool down a phone that’s overheating as part of an answer to the question “why does my phone get hot?”

An occasionally overheated phone is inevitable. If your phone ever feels too hot to the touch or you get an error message that it’s too hot to use, you should know the steps to cool it down. 

Get the phone out of sunlight or heat 

If your phone has overheated from exposure to sunlight, remove it from the heat and store it in a dry, cooler place. Do not put your phone in the refrigerator or the freezer, as this can harm it. Put it in a loose pocket, bag, under a beach towel, or in another shady area. 

Fan or blow on your phone

Placing your phone near moving air can help it cool down quicker. If you can’t place it near an actual fan, you can  mimic its effects by using your hands or blowing on your phone. 

Separate your phone from other devices

All devices may get hot or release hot air. So if you have multiple devices like phones, tablets, or computers in
the same bag, they are more likely to overheat. Keep your devices as separate as possible. 

Take the phone out of its case

Phone cases can trap heat in your already-overheated phone. If you notice your phone is hot when you touch it—especially through the case—or if you’ve received a temperature warning message, remove the case until your phone returns to a normal temperature. 

Turn the phone off

Turning your phone completely off can help stop the software from running while the phone cools down. Leave it  off until your phone stops feeling hot to the touch. 

Close your apps

As overuse often heats up your phone, closing running apps can help bring the temperature back down to normal.  Don’t just exit out of your apps—make sure they’re closed.         

  • To close apps on an iPhone, depending on your iPhone model, push the home screen button twice or swipe up  from the bottom of your home screen, then swipe up on each app you want to close. 
  • To close apps on an Android, swipe up from the bottom of your screen, hold your finger down, then let go.  Then, swipe up on each app you want to close.  

Like any other mobile device security or functionality issue, an overheated phone can be overwhelming. But with  the proper care, it should be an uncommon occurrence with an easy solution. iPhone and Android users can keep  their phones from overheating by regularly updating the phone, closing unused apps, deleting apps you don’t use,  and making sure to charge and store it properly. 

Phone overheating FAQs

If you're wondering "why does my phone get hot," you may have more questions surrounding overheating phones. We have answers.

Is it bad if your phone gets hot? 

Yes, a phone that is hot to the touch could become a problem down the line. Phones will naturally emit heat—so  if your phone feels mildly hot, there’s no need to sound the alarm. But if the heat is intense or prolonged, it could  signify a deeper problem with your phone that needs to be addressed.  

What happens when a phone overheats? 

Excessive temperatures can have a long-term impact on your phone. A few ways heat impacts your cell phone include:        

  • Battery degradation 
  • Slower software
  • Internal melting
  • Decreased lifespan of the device  

How hot is too hot for a phone? 

You shouldn’t use your phone if it's over 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It is recommended that your phone temperature  stays between 32 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit—or 0 and 35 degrees Celsius. You also should take care not to store it anywhere that is hotter than 113 degrees Fahrenheit. 

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