How do I cool down my phone when overheating?

Quick answers

Overheating phones are a common issue that can affect performance and battery life. Here are some quick tips to cool down an overheating phone:

– Turn off the phone and give it time to rest. Even 15-30 minutes can help lower the temperature.

– Remove the phone case and clean out any dust buildup that may be obstructing ventilation.

– Avoid using processor-intensive apps, turn off background app refresh, reduce screen brightness.

– Disable unnecessary features like Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi.

– Switch the phone to airplane mode to cut down on cellular activity.

– Place the phone in front of a fan, AC vent or other cool air source.

– Use a phone cooling pad, which has built-in fans and a thermally conductive plate.

– If the problem persists, it may require professional cleaning and maintenance to address underlying hardware issues causing overheating.

Why does my phone overheat?

There are several potential causes of phone overheating:

Processor-intensive tasks

Modern smartphones pack very powerful processors into a compact space which can generate a lot of heat when pushed to their limits. Activities like gaming, augmented reality apps, HD video streaming/recording, or switching between many open apps can ramp up processor usage and temperatures. The more cores and processing power a phone CPU has, the hotter it can run under load.

Bright display settings

The display is one of the most power-hungry components in a smartphone. Using maximum screen brightness and high refresh rate settings (90Hz, 120Hz) will draw a lot of energy and contribute to heating up the phone.

Charging/low battery

Charging the battery generates heat, especially quick charging at high wattages which can really increase temperatures. Discharging the battery right down to low percentages can also contribute to heat. The lower the battery level, the harder it has to work and the hotter it gets.

Poor ventilation

With tightly packed internal components, phones need proper airflow and ventilation to dissipate heat through the outer case. Dust buildup in ports, vents or fan intakes can obstruct this airflow and lead to overheating. Using very thick or non-breathable phone cases can also trap heat inside.

Direct sunlight

Left in direct sunlight for too long, especially in cars on hot days, the components can heat up significantly. The display and battery are particularly vulnerable to damage from prolonged exposure to excessive heat from the sun.

Background processes/ connectivity

Background processes from apps and system functions, as well as constant wireless connections like cellular data, WiFi and Bluetooth, require energy that contributes to heating up the phone. Too many background apps and services running concurrently can spike temperatures.

Malware/software issues

Poorly coded or malicious apps, bugs, and malware infections can drastically increase processor workload and phone temperature by design. Troubleshooting the software and removing problematic apps often resolves such overheating issues.

Hardware failure

In some cases overheating may be caused by actual failure of hardware components like the CPU or battery. Thermal paste or pads degrading and no longer conducting heat properly can also lead to chronic overheating. Professional inspection and repair are needed for hardware-related overheating.

How to prevent and fix overheating

Here are some steps you can take to cool down an overheated phone and prevent excessive heat buildup:

1. Close processor-intensive apps

Apps pushing the CPU/GPU to their limits are a major contributor to phone overheating. Close out of any games, videos, AR/VR apps, navigation, or other demanding programs running in the background. This allows the hardware to cool back down.

2. Adjust display settings

Lower the screen brightness below maximum, and set the refresh rate to 60Hz standard if your phone has a high refresh rate display. Ambient display features and always-on displays can also contribute to battery drain and heat, so disable if not needed.

3. Stop activities that generate heat

Avoid charging, gaming, navigation, and other strenuous phone activities until temperatures decrease. Do not leave the phone sitting in direct sunlight. Wait for it to naturally cool down before doing anything taxing.

4. Disable unneeded radios/connectivity

Switch on Airplane mode to stop cellular, WiFi, and Bluetooth activity which requires energy and generates passive heat. Turn off background data, syncing, GPS and other battery-draining connections.

5. Close background apps

Double tap the Recent Apps button and swipe away any apps running in the background that you aren’t currently using. This prevents them from passively draining the battery and generating heat.

6. Check for obstruction of vents/ports

Carefully clean out the phone’s charging port, headphone jack, speaker grilles and any other openings for dust, lint and debris which could block airflow and ventilation. Avoid plugging in chargers or headphones when overheated.

7. Take off phone case

Remove any thick, rugged or rubberized cases that trap heat. Use a thin, breathable case or go caseless to allow the most heat dissipation possible through the back of the phone.

8. Limit direct sun exposure

Keep the phone out of enclosed spaces that can overheat, like hot cars. Avoid leaving it in prolonged direct sunlight which can spike temperatures. Seek shade or cover when using outdoors.

9. Use a cooling pad or fan

Place the warm phone on a passive (non-electric) or active cooling pad, many of which have built-in fans to dissipate heat and lower surface temperature. You can also point a fan or AC vent directly at the phone.

10. Reset and update software

An overheating phone may benefit from a restart, or a full factory reset if it’s dramatically overheating. This clears out any contributing bugs or glitches. Keep your OS, apps, and security patches fully up-to-date as well.

11. Avoid overcharging battery

Heat is generated when the battery is nearing full capacity. Unplug your phone before it exceeds 80-85% charge to avoid overcharging, and don’t fast charge when it’s already hot. Let the battery cool off between charging sessions.

When to be concerned about overheating

Mild overheating during intense use is normal, but more severe or chronic overheating can indicate serious problems:

– Phone getting dangerously hot, uncomfortably hot to touch

– Heat and battery drain even at idle/low usage

– Odd smells or noises from the phone

– Camera, apps, cellular service acting erratically

– Messages about overheating, shutting down appear

– Warping/separating of phone casing

– Burns on fingers/skin from prolonged contact

– Screen discoloration/cracking from heat damage

If your phone exhibits any of these issues along with getting hot, it likely requires professional repair to diagnose and fix the underlying hardware issues before permanent damage occurs. Contact the manufacturer first, who may cover defects. Third-party phone repair shops can also properly inspect the device and make necessary component replacements.

How hot is too hot for a smartphone?

While it depends on the specific phone model, as a general guideline:

– 86° to 95°F (30° to 35°C) – Warm but normal range during use

– 104° to 113°F (40° to 45°C) – Excessive heat, stop intensive usage

– >113°F/45°C – Dangerously hot, risk of damage or burns

Apple states their iPhones are designed to function in ambient temperatures up to 95°F (35°C) and may change performance to regulate temperature above that threshold. Most Android phones are designed to safely operate up to about 113°F (45°C).

Sustained temperatures past 105-110°F (40-43°C) can start to damage the battery chemistry and warp internal components. If a phone exceeds 120-140°F (49-60°C) for a prolonged period it risks serious, permanent damage.

How to monitor and check your phone’s temperature

It’s important to keep an eye on your phone’s operating temperature, and be proactive about cooling it down before it enters the danger zone. Here are some ways to monitor it:

Built-in thermometers

Many phones have preinstalled apps or settings to check CPU, battery, and internal ambient temperature readings:

Android – Apps like CPU Temperature, CPU Monitor, Thermometer measure processor and battery heat.

iPhones – Battery section in Settings app gives current temperature.

Samsung – Device Care & Storage settings provide temperatures.

IR thermometer

Point an infrared thermometer at the phone’s surface to get surface temperature. This is less accurate than built-in readings but useful for older phones without sensors. Look for hotspots on the case.

Physical signs

Carefully feel the phone case after heavier use for any uncomfortable heat. Notice if it’s uncomfortably warm to the touch, especially around the processor which generates significant heat.

Performance changes

Phones may throttle performance and dim displays at high temperatures. Notice any slowdown during gaming/video or dimming display as signs it’s heating up.

Temperature Range Status
86° to 95°F (30° to 35°C) Normal
104° to 113°F (40° to 45°C) Overheating – Stop Intensive Use
>113°F/45°C Danger Zone – High Risk of Damage


Phone overheating can be annoying but is manageable if caught early. Monitor your phone’s internal temperature during intensive usage. Be proactive about closing processor-hungry apps, disabling unneeded radios, and stopping charging/use if it feels excessively hot. Keep the phone properly ventilated and shielded from direct sun exposure. Use a cooling pad or fan if overheating frequently. Consistent high heat or odd performance may indicate hardware defects needing repair. With proper care and maintenance, you can prevent excessive temperatures and ensure your phone lasts as long as intended.