Gaming on your phone can generate a lot of heat, especially for graphically intensive games. This extra heat can impact your phone’s performance and battery life. Fortunately, there are ways to help keep your phone cool while gaming.
Why does my phone get hot while gaming?
There are a few key reasons why your phone may get hot during gaming sessions:
- The CPU and GPU have to work harder – Games require more processing power which makes the phone’s processors run hotter.
- Bright, colorful graphics – The intense graphics used in games causes the phone screen and GPU to heat up.
- Lengthy gaming sessions – Playing games for extended periods doesn’t give the phone enough time to cool down.
- Charging while gaming – Charging the battery generates heat which adds to the heat from the game itself.
Newer phones and games with more advanced graphics tend to generate more heat. But any smartphone can get hot with lengthy gaming.
How hot is too hot for my phone while gaming?
There is no single “too hot” threshold for all phones. However, most phone manufacturers suggest shutting down the device if it exceeds 113°F (45°C). Prolonged exposure above 113°F can potentially damage the battery and internal components.
Signs your phone is overheating:
- It feels very hot to the touch
- You get a temperature warning message
- The game lags or apps crash unexpectedly
- The battery drains faster than usual
- You notice issues like screen discoloration or distortion
If your phone is uncomfortably warm and showing these types of symptoms, it’s time to cool it down.
How to keep your phone cool during gaming
Here are some tips to prevent overheating and keep your phone running at safe temperatures:
1. Use a phone cooling device
Dedicated phone cooling devices are the most effective way to keep your phone temperature in check.
Clip-on cooling fans attach directly to your phone and use small, high-speed fans to maintain airflow. This airflow dissipates heat across the back of the phone to lower surface temperatures. Many cooling fans are passive and don’t require an external power source. More advanced models include larger fans and internal rechargeable batteries.
Cases with built-in cooling offer more protection than clip-on fans. These cases conduct heat away from the phone’s hot spots and distribute it evenly across the case’s surface. This allows the heat to dissipate passively. Some cases feature fans or liquid cooling for extra cooling power.
Cooling pads provide a flat surface to place your phone on during gaming sessions. An internal fan draws hot air away from the back of the phone, preventing heat from being trapped against the surface. Some pads include liquid cooling and external fans for greater effectiveness.
2. Disable background apps and features
Apps and features running in the background make your phone work harder. Stopping these extra processes can generate less heat:
- Close any apps you aren’t using
- Turn off Bluetooth and WiFi if not needed
- Disable unnecessary system processes like animated wallpapers
- Turn down screen brightness to reduce GPU load
3. Play in Airplane mode
Enabling Airplane mode suspends all communication functions like cellular data, WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth. Your phone won’t have to work as hard to maintain these wireless connections, allowing it to stay cooler.
4. Reduce graphics settings
If the game allows it, lower the graphics quality settings. This makes the GPU render less complex graphics, generating less heat in the process:
- Lower the resolution from HD to standard
- Choose a lower graphics preset like Low or Medium
- Turn off anti-aliasing, shadows and post-processing
- Limit the frame rate to 30 or 60 FPS
5. Avoid direct sunlight and hot areas
Exposing your phone to high ambient temperatures will only make it hotter. Avoid these situations when gaming for long stretches:
- Gaming outside in direct sunlight
- Playing in a hot car without AC
- Using atop heat generating devices like a laptop
Find a shaded, climate-controlled area to game if possible.
6. Take breaks
Giving your phone periodic breaks prevents sustained overheating. Every 30 minutes or so, pause the game and let your phone rest for a few minutes. This gives the components time to cool off before the next round.
7. Avoid charging while gaming
Don’t charge your phone while gaming for extended periods. Charging generates heat in addition to the heat from the game. This combination can quickly cause overheating. Make sure your phone is sufficiently charged before long game sessions.
8. Update your games
Game developers often release patches to optimize performance and fix bugs that can slow down your phone. Updating to the latest game version keeps things running smoothly and generates less excess heat.
9. Close intensive apps if your phone gets too hot
If you notice your phone getting uncomfortably warm, close the game and any other apps using a lot of processing power. Give your phone 10-15 minutes to cool down before playing again. This short break can prevent overheating issues.
When to avoid cooling your phone
While keeping your phone cool during gaming is important, be careful with active cooling methods like fans in the following situations:
- Avoid covering the back camera lens with cooling fans. This can cause condensation that damages the lens.
- Don’t completely seal the phone inside a case. It needs air circulation to dissipate heat.
- Don’t cool an already cold phone. Drastic temperature drops can cause condensation inside the phone.
Signs of liquid damage from condensation
Using cooling methods improperly can create condensation buildup inside your phone. Signs of liquid damage include:
- Condensation or fogging under the camera lens
- Moisture in the front camera/earpiece
- Muffled or distorted speakers
- Charging issues
- Unresponsive buttons
- Corrosion on the charging port
If you notice any of these issues, discontinue cooling and let your phone dry out completely. Severe condensation will require professional repair or replacement.
When to stop using an overheating phone
If your phone frequently overheats even with cooling methods, it’s time to give it a rest. Prolonged overheating can damage the battery and internal components. Avoid gaming on a phone that overheats and shows these issues:
- Frequent system crashes, freezes and reboots
- Dimming/discoloration on the screen
- Cracked plastic case
- Distorted audio
- Dropping WiFi and Bluetooth connections
- Drastic battery drain
- Odd smells or noises
- Smoke or leaking from the phone
Continuing to game with these severe overheating symptoms can destroy the phone. It’s best to refrain from intensive gaming and get the phone professionally serviced if possible.
Get your phone checked for thermal damage
If your phone overheats repeatedly, it’s a good idea to get it inspected even if you don’t see physical issues. Prolonged high temperatures can degrade internal components like the CPU and battery over time without any obvious symptoms. A repair shop can perform diagnostics to check for:
- CPU/GPU throttling issues
- Decreased battery capacity
- Damaged display backlight
- Distorted speakers
- Malfunctioning cameras
Getting ahead of any heat damage will save you bigger headaches down the road. Minor component replacement is much cheaper than buying a whole new phone.
When to upgrade your gaming phone
If your current phone overheats easily, it may be time for an upgrade. Newer phone models offer better heat mitigation technology:
- Vapor chambers and multilayer graphite sheets pull heat away from the CPU/GPU.
- Heat pipes evenly distribute heat and prevent hot spots.
- Special materials like graphene and copper fibres increase heat dissipation.
- AI manages processor workload based on temperature.
Upgrading to a phone designed for gaming gives you extra headroom to avoid overheating issues. Look for models with large vapour chambers, internal cooling fans, and reduced throttling under load.
Best gaming phones for heat management
Some top options for cooler gaming in 2022/2023 include:
|Asus ROG Phone 5
|Vapor chamber cooling system and AeroActive Cooler 5 external fan
|Xiaomi Black Shark 4
|5-layer 3D cooling with VC liquid cooling and heat pipe
|Nubia Red Magic 7
|ICI liquid cooling with internal turbo fan
|Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
|Graphite heat spreader and vapor chamber cooling
Keeping your phone cool during gaming sessions comes down to smart habits and the right tools. Use a clip-on fan, avoid direct sunlight, take regular breaks, and turn down graphics settings. If your phone still overheats, consider upgrading to a gaming phone with advanced cooling technologies.
With the proper precautions, you can enjoy long gaming marathons without frying your phone. Just monitor those temperatures and don’t ignore warning signs of overheating damage. A few simple cooling techniques will protect your phone and let the games run smoothly.