This article contains
- Warm Is Normal
- How Warm Is Too Warm?
- Reason #1: Warm Environment or Direct Sunlight
- Reason #2: Intense Use of Screen or Processing Power
- Reason #3: Malware
- What To Do if Your Phone Overheats
- Prevent Overheating in the First Place
Phones can get warm for a large number of reasons.
And it’s important to note:
- A “warm” phone is perfectly normal.
However, if your phone gets too hot (painful to touch) too often (more than after normal use), there may be reason for concern. Many things can cause your phone to overheat, and some of them can damage your device or shorten its lifespan.
In this guide, we’ll touch on the three main reasons phones overheat, what you can do to solve the problem, and how to prevent it from happening again.
Warm Is Normal
If your cell phone is simply a little bit warm after you’ve made a phone call or used an app, that’s nothing to be alarmed about.
All electronic devices produce heat when they’re working. And all of them have some sort of thermal regulation that prevents heat-related problems and malfunction.
Take computers for instance. Just like phones, computer processors, cameras, screens, batteries, and other components create excess heat. So to prevent overheating, computers have fans that cool them down.
But phones are too small to have fans. Instead, they use a special coating on the circuits inside to better diffuse heat — and this solution works most of the time.
So when your phone is working properly, it won’t give off too much heat and you’ll be able to hold it normally.
However, when your phone becomes hot to the touch, displays a heat warning, or stops working due to overheating, there’s something wrong that needs to be addressed.
How Warm Is Too Warm?
A warm phone is no big deal, but how can you tell when your device is getting too warm?
First of all, your phone’s temperature depends on usage and air temperature. When a phone is idle or when you’re using it for light activities like browsing, its temperature should be in the 30°C (86°F) range. But when you’re using your phone for high-intensity tasks like playing games, streaming videos, or taking lots of photos, the temperature can reach the low-to-mid 40°C (104°F) range — or even a bit higher if the air temperature is very high.
But since it’s not easy determining a phone’s temperature just by touching it, it’s important to keep an eye out for common signs of overheating.
- Getting a temperature warning message.
- Not being able to use your phone until it cools down.
- Charging slows down or stops completely.
- Display keeps dimming or goes black.
- Camera flash stops working.
- Apps don’t work properly or start crashing.
Some of these things don’t necessarily have to be the result of overheating. But if your phone gets hot several times a day and if it starts behaving abnormally when it’s hot, your device’s temperature is probably higher than normal.
Here are the most common reasons why phones overheat.
Reason #1: Warm Environment or Direct Sunlight
If you’ve ever left your phone on a towel at the beach, or sitting on a table in the bright sun, you know just how quickly those UV rays can overheat it.
One possible reason your phone feels hot is that it’s been exposed to direct sunlight or some other heat source for too long.
You may have left it in the car on a hot summer day, for example.
This kind of overheating can be a serious problem.
Direct heat like this can seriously damage your phone’s internal components, impact battery life and charge time, slow down performance, and even break your phone’s screen. Be careful where you leave your phone for long periods of time, particularly in hot weather.
When your phone gets too hot from the sun, find a cool, dark place to leave it while its temperature comes down.
Reason #2: Intense Use of Screen or Processing Power
If your phone hasn’t been in a hot environment or direct sun, but it’s badly overheating, there’s a good chance your phone has been asked to use too much processing power or emit too much light from its screen.
Here are a couple of the main culprits that could be causing your phone to get too hot:
- You have too many apps running.
- You’ve been gaming for too long.
- You’ve been watching Netflix, YouTube, or other streaming content.
- You’ve been browsing with the screen brightness cranked up too high.
- You’ve been connected to a Bluetooth device or Wi-Fi for too long.
- You’ve been taking too many pictures or long videos with the camera.
In these cases, there’s probably nothing seriously wrong — your phone just needs a bit of a break to cool down. It’ll be ready to use again before you know it.
Reason #3: Malware
If your phone seems to be getting too hot for no apparent reason, there might be something more serious wrong with it.
If your phone overheats while sitting idly in your pocket on a cool day, for example, it could mean that the processor is being pushed to its limit by malware.
Desktop computers and laptops can become infected with viruses that purposefully max out their processors until they’re forced to shut down.
The same thing can happen on your phone.
Similarly, a form of mobile malware could be continuously running apps, widgets, or harmful processes in the background that strain your phone’s processor and cause it to give off too much heat.
You can avoid getting malware on your phone by only downloading attachments, apps, and other data from trusted sources and official app stores. I’d also recommend installing a quality mobile antivirus like Norton or TotalAV. There’s a great range of quality antivirus providers with plans to suit all needs and budgets — and most come with a ton of useful extra tools that will improve your mobile’s performance as well as your online safety. Check out our recommendations for the best antivirus software for Android and the best antivirus programs for iOS in 2023.
What To Do if Your Phone Overheats
If your phone overheats, there are a few things you can try to get it working properly again.
First, give it a break.
Stop using your phone immediately (if it’s truly overheating, you may have no choice as most phones will lock up when they reach a certain temperature).
Find a cool, dark place to leave your phone for a while. Chances are, it just needs a break from use and/or direct sunlight and it will start working again in a few minutes.
While some websites advise people to place overheated phones in the fridge or freezer, never do this. Putting a hot phone in a very cold place like your fridge can cause irreparable damage.
Take the case off, if you have one.
Phone cases are fantastic for protecting our phones from physical damage, but most of them are terribly ventilated.
Cases can trap heat against the phone’s shell and prevent it from cooling down.
If your phone is having trouble cooling down, take the case off and give it a chance to breathe.
Turn on airplane mode.
If your phone still won’t cool down, turn on airplane/offline mode to shut down any Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections that could be straining its processor. Or at the very least, turn off all the settings you don’t currently need — such as GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.
If you’re in an area with poor signal, this could also be the issue as your phone will be working extra hard trying to find a signal. Turning on airplane mode will put it out of its misery for a while, and hopefully it will cool down.
On most phones, the airplane mode function is easy to find under the general settings menu.
Close all apps.
There could be too many apps and processes running in the background, causing your phone’s processor to burn out.
You’ll often be surprised how many apps and browser windows you have open, as most phones don’t automatically close them when you return to the home screen.
Close down everything non-essential, even the camera app, and give your phone a much-needed break.
You can also use an antivirus app with device optimization tools to make sure unnecessary apps aren’t running in the background. For instance, TotalAV identifies apps that are draining your phone’s resources and saves you both CPU and battery life.
Update your OS and all your apps.
Bugs and vulnerabilities in your phone’s operating system (OS) or installed apps can cause it to overheat by putting too much pressure on your device’s processor.
Every time an app or OS releases an update it will be a better, more streamlined version that will most likely use fewer resources on your device. This means your phone should perform better and overheat less often.
Your phone will have a setting to allow automatic updates, but some mobile antivirus products, such as Norton, also include useful tools that alert you to apps that need updating or are using more battery than normal.
Reduce screen brightness.
Higher screen brightness forces your phone to work harder, which creates more heat.
Try reducing your screen brightness, or turn on your phone’s auto-brightness setting (both Android and iPhone have this) which automatically adjusts your phone’s brightness to your surroundings — this will reduce the likelihood of your phone working too hard and overheating.
Turn on battery saver mode.
Reduce the stress on your battery immediately by turning on the in-built battery saver setting.
Check your charging cable.
Non-manufacturer-approved charging cables can sometimes cause more harm than good. If your phone is excessively overheating while charging, try using another charging cable to see if the problem persists. If it does — and if the overheating only occurs when charging — your charging port or battery may be the issue, so you should take your phone to a professional to get it checked out.
Also make sure you’re charging your phone on a hard, flat surface. Soft, insulating surfaces like a bed or couch make it harder for a phone to stay cool during the already heat-inducing process of charging.
Run a malware scan.
If none of the above helps your phone cool down, there could be a malware issue burning out your processor.
The best way to check if there’s any malware on your device is to install a quality antivirus program. Most antiviruses are designed with PCs in mind first, but there are a lot of great mobile antivirus apps out there too. Norton is my favorite, but Bitdefender, TotalAV, and Avira are all good options too.
Install the antivirus of your choice, and find out if there’s any malicious software eating away at your processing power. All of the top antivirus providers offer money-back guarantees so you can try them out risk free. And some, like Avira, offer great free plans too.
Remove junk files.
To put less strain on your phone’s processor and battery, you should also get rid of any junk files.
You can delete photos and files you don’t need and remove apps that you don’t use.
Some mobile antivirus apps like TotalAV include device cleaning tools that make it easy to delete junk and duplicate files.
Take it to a professional.
If you’ve determined that your phone isn’t overheating from malware, overuse, or a hot environment, there may be something mechanically wrong with it.
When phone usage or external factors are not the reasons for overheating, it’s possible that the battery or charging unit have malfunctioned.
Like all other phone parts, batteries can go bad too, and they can simply stop working properly when they reach the end of their functional life. If your phone’s battery is faulty, you just need to replace it with a new one and your phone won’t overheat anymore.
And if your charging unit is causing the problem, you either need to get a new charger or charging cable.
Either way, you’ll want to take your phone to a professional service technician to diagnose and fix.
Prevent Overheating in the First Place
Severe overheating can irreversibly damage your phone. So, if your phone is getting hot, it’s important to first identify and fix the problem and then take steps to prevent overheating in the future.
Most of the tips above are general best-practices that you should follow even when your phone works perfectly fine. By taking good care of your phone, you’ll avoid overheating and a wide range of other problems.
So, always monitor your processor usage and close unneeded apps, avoid leaving your phone in the sun, and be extra-diligent about keeping your phone malware-free.
The best antivirus apps for mobile, such as Norton, TotalAV, and Bitdefender, can make it much easier for you to maintain your phone’s health by preventing any malware from infecting your device as well as helping keep your phone’s performance optimized, with minimal input required from yourself. They all offer a range of competitively priced plans, and come with money-back guarantees so you can try them out without having to commit long-term.
About the Author
Head Content Manager
About the Author
Katarina Glamoslija is Head Content Manager at SafetyDetectives. She has nearly a decade of experience researching, testing, and reviewing cybersecurity products and investigating best practices for online safety and data protection. Before joining SafetyDetectives, she was Content Manager and Chief Editor of several review websites, including one about antiviruses and another about VPNs. She also worked as a freelance writer and editor for tech, medical, and business publications. When she’s not a “Safety Detective”, she can be found traveling (and writing about it on her small travel blog), playing with her cats, and binge-watching crime dramas.
Why did my phone suddenly get hot? ›
If your phone is overheating, it maybe be from long hours of streaming, running too many apps at the same time, trying to use your phone with a bad signal, leaving it in direct sunlight or malware (Androids only). We explain further these common issues that cause a phone to overheat plus tips to prevent and/or fit it.Is it normal for iPhone to get hot? ›
It's normal for your iPhone to get a bit warm if you've been using it for certain power-hungry tasks – for example, video-calling, streaming films or using your GPS for a long period of time. But usually it'll quickly return to a normal temperature once you leave it alone.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.Is phone heating normal? ›
In most cases, a little bit of heating up is normal, although depending how sensitive you are to such things you may hate it or ignore it. All smartphones nowadays heat up, including the recently-launched Moto G4 Plus, as you may have seen some reports.Can I cool my phone in the fridge? ›
Never put it into the freezer or refrigerator, though. Cold temperatures can damage your phone, too. Even if you don't use them, apps often run and update in the background of your phone, making your phone work harder than necessary.Why do I get hot so easily? ›
Certain medications, changes in hormones, and some health conditions can all cause an individual to sweat more or feel hotter than usual. People can track their symptoms and see their doctor to find out what could be causing them to feel hot. Treating the underlying cause will help to relieve symptoms.What is draining my battery iPhone? ›
The two things that cause the most battery drain in your iPhone are its screen and cellular service. Obviously, you know when you're actively using your phone, but your iPhone is often performing tasks in the background and even lighting up your screen without you noticing.Why is my phone heating up and draining battery? ›
Usually, a phone heats up due to overuse, a strained battery, too much direct heat, or an overworked CPU. You may also need to update your software, because outdated apps can cause performance issues. In extreme cases, your hot phone might be infected with malware.Is it OK to cool your phone? ›
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.”Can I use ice to cool my phone? ›
I have used an ice pack with my phone when streaming video, while connected to my tv, with no problem. I used to do this for most of the day, and never had an issue.
How can I cool down naturally? ›
- Drink cool liquids. ...
- Go somewhere with cooler air. ...
- Get in cool water. ...
- Apply cold to key points on the body. ...
- Move less. ...
- Wear lighter, more breathable clothing. ...
- Take heat regulating supplements. ...
- Talk to a doctor about thyroid health.
A phone's internal temperature can be 36-43 degrees Celsius (96.8-109.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and still be considered normal. If your phone's temperature is above 44° C, it's too hot.How much is too hot for phone? ›
Manufacturers advise users to keep their device in an environment that is between -4 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower and the phone could seize up; any higher and you risk permanent damage.Should you charge your phone while it's hot? ›
Don't Charge It
If your device is overheated, wait until it cools down to charge it. Charging your phone will cause it to generate additional heat, worsening the problem. If your phone overheats while it's charging, unplug it.
For a battery with signs of overheating, pour copious amounts of water on the battery and then submerge the battery (including any attached tool or charger) in a sturdy container filled with water.Can cold damage phone? ›
Phones and cold weather generally don't get along too well. Low temperatures can rapidly drain your phone's battery life, and — as you've probably experienced — cause your phone to shut down altogether.Can I put my iPhone in the fridge to cool down? ›
You might have heard that you can quickly cool your phone down by placing it in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes. However, we strongly recommend not doing this because sudden temperature drops are just as bad for your phone battery as sudden temperature rises.Why do I get hot when I sleep? ›
Your core body temperature drops during sleep and rises to help us prepare to wake up. But, when our body temperature drops, it releases heat into the surrounding area, including the mattress. In fact, one person can release up to 100 watts of excess heat.Why am I hot at night? ›
Changes or imbalances in estrogen and progesterone levels for women, and testosterone in men, can raise the body's core temperature, leaving individuals feeling miserable because they get so hot at night.Why do I get too hot at night? ›
Body temperature naturally rises as it burns food to fuel itself — so it's only logical that a higher rate of metabolism would result in an overall higher body temperature. As such, people with a high metabolism are more susceptible to overheating at night.
What kills phone battery most? ›
Avoid situations where your phone can overheat, especially when your battery is fully charged. 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.What apps use a lot of battery? ›
A smartphone can save about 39 to 47 per cent of battery power at peak brightness by operating on dark mode. This is close to an additional half of the battery life delivered in one charge cycle.Does battery drain faster in cold? ›
Freezing weather drains your battery power by 30-60%. Your battery naturally recharges as you drive—but you must first face the challenge of getting it started. Why does the cold drain battery power? Most batteries work through an electrochemical reaction, which sends power signals to your terminal ends.How do I cool my battery? ›
- Place in the Shade. A common reason for overheating is that it was in direct sunlight for too long. ...
- Turn It Off. Shutting your phone off is one of the fastest ways to get the temperature back to normal.
- Close Your Apps. ...
- Take Off the Case. ...
- Place it Next to a Fan.
Despite what you've heard, putting your phone in a container of uncooked rice won't dry out your phone, and might actually do even harm than good. Dust, starch and small grains of rice can get lodged in the mechanisms of your phone. Instead, use silica gel packets.Does putting your phone in the freezer make the battery last longer? ›
Anything below 32 degrees is going to start sucking the life our of your phone. That's because the extreme cold causes a chemicals in your phones Lithium Ion battery to slow down. Below the freezing mark, your phone can lose 20 percent of its battery, and it will only get worse the colder it gets.How do I cool down my iPhone? ›
- Turn your hot iPhone off.
- Stop charging it - wirelessly or with a charger.
- Take it somewhere cool.
- Take it out of its case.
- Wait for your overheated device to cool down and reach its ideal iPhone operating temperature once again.
Your iPhone is heating up because of a software problem
The best way to see if one of these apps in the background is causing an issue is to shut down all of your background apps on the iPhone. This will eliminate any apps which could be causing your device to overheat and your battery to drain.
It is normal for your phone to heat up while charging, especially if it supports fast charging or super fast charging, as the current and voltage are higher when compared with normal charging. If you are charging your phone wirelessly, your phone may generate heat due to energy loss during wireless data transmission.
Can I put my phone in the fridge 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.
Yes, you can use your smartphone while charging. There is no danger in using your phone while it's charging. When you use your phone while charging, the battery is charging at a slower rate than normal to allow enough power for the ongoing usage.Is Fast Charging bad for the battery? ›
Fast charging is not inherently bad for your phone. The risk comes from the heat that a fast charge generates. Heat, whether it comes from leaving the phone in a hot car or overcharging it, can hinder your battery's performance. In extreme circumstances, the battery can even swell or explode.Can I put my phone in the freezer? ›
Don't put your phone in the freezer if it gets too hot
Rapid temperature shifts are also bad for your phone. One reason for this is condensation: water is more likely to become trapped inside your phone, causing problems, if you put it somewhere like a freezer when it's very hot.