How hot can a phone get before damage?

Cell phones can get quite hot during normal use. However, excessive heat can damage the sensitive electronics inside your phone. So how hot is too hot for a cell phone? There are a few key factors that determine how much heat a phone can tolerate before sustaining damage.

What temperature levels can damage a phone?

Most cell phones and smartphones are designed to operate at ambient temperatures between 32°F and 95°F (0°C to 35°C). Prolonged exposure to temperatures higher than 95°F can start to cause failure of heat-sensitive components like the battery, display, and processor.

According to Apple, iPhones can suffer permanent damage if left in extreme heat above 113°F (45°C) for an extended period of time. Other phone manufacturers advise keeping devices below 104°F (40°C) to avoid component damage.

So in general, temperatures above 104°F (40°C) can be risky for phones even during short-term exposure. Prolonged exposure above 113°F (45°C) is likely to cause permanent damage.

What phone components are vulnerable to heat damage?

Several critical phone components are vulnerable to heat damage:

Battery – Lithium-ion batteries provide power for most smartphones today. However, high temperatures can accelerate battery deterioration and cause swelling or ruptures. Heat damage can occur starting around 105°F (40°C).

Display – The liquid crystals in LCD and OLED displays can break down at high sustained temperatures above 113°F (45°C). This can lead to pixel damage or screen malfunctions.

Processor – Phone processors generate significant internal heat. They need cooling systems to stay within safe operating limits. Overheating above 185°F (85°C) can degrade silicon chips and glitch logic operations.

Solder joints – The solder that binds together integrated circuits can melt at high temperatures, causing boards to malfunction. Some solders melt starting around 150°F (65°C).

Plastics – Many internal phone components and the outer shell are made of plastics. While high-temperature grades are used, plastics can still warp or melt above 140°F (60°C).

So in summary, batteries, displays, processors, solder joints, and plastics are all at risk when phone temperatures get too high.

What causes a phone to overheat?

There are several common causes of cell phone overheating:

Direct sunlight – Leaving a phone in direct sunlight, like on a car dashboard, can push internal temps dangerously high. Sunlight can heat objects over 140°F (60°C).

Charging – Fast charging generates internal heat. Charging in hot ambient conditions compounds the issue. Wireless charging runs warmer than wired.

Heavy usage – Activities like gaming, streaming videos, or navigation use more processor power and raise device temperatures. Using phones in hot weather exacerbates this.

Poor ventilation – Blocking air intakes with cases or covering phones with bedding reduces cooling airflow and causes heat to build up.

Component failures – Defective batteries or processors that get stuck in high-power modes can overheat phones from the inside.

So both environmental factors and phone use patterns influence the internal operating temperature. Understanding these causes can help you avoid damaging overheating situations.

Signs Your Phone Is Overheating

How can you tell if your phone is getting dangerously hot? Here are some key signs of overheating to watch out for:

1. Hot to the touch

The most obvious indicator is when your phone feels hot when you pick it up. As a general rule, if it’s uncomfortable to hold against your face, the phone is hotter than it should be.

Use caution anytime the device feels hot to the touch during use. And avoid prolonged skin contact with surfaces over 105°F (40°C) to avoid burns.

2. Slow or glitchy performance

Excessive heat causes phone processors to throttle down their speeds to try to cool back down. This can lead to noticeable lag, freezes, or app crashes.

If your phone isn’t operating smoothly or apps are freezing up, overheating could be the culprit.

3. Dim or darkened display

The display might dim or darken automatically as a protective measure against heat damage. This reduces power to the screen.

Some warning messages about temperature may also appear on the display. Heed these warnings and let your phone cool down.

4. Battery charging problems

Extreme battery temperatures activate safe charging limits. You may get messages that charging is paused or slowed due to abnormal temperatures.

Batteries charge most efficiently between 32°F and 95°F (0°C and 35°C). Outside this range can lead to issues.

5. Unexpected shutdowns

As a last resort when dangerously hot, phones will automatically power down to avoid component damage. This occurs if temperatures get critically high.

Unexpected shutdowns while using resource-intensive apps or in hot environments indicate overheating. Let the phone cool before restarting.

6. Physical signs of damage

In severe overheating cases, you may see physical signs like a swollen or discolored battery, melted port covers, or a warped or discolored casing. Battery punctures or leaks require immediate replacement.

These types of heat-related failures mean certain phone components already sustained irreversible damage.

How to Keep Your Phone from Overheating

To avoid damaging your phone, it’s important to minimize exposure to high temperatures during use and charging. Here are some best practices:

Avoid direct sunlight

Don’t leave your phone in direct sunlight for extended periods of time, such as on the dashboard of a hot car. Interior car temperatures can exceed 140°F (60°C) in summer sunlight. Prolonged heat at this level can damage phones.

Use phone cooling accessories

Special passive or active cooling cases and clips help dissipate heat away from your phone during intensive use. These provide added protection in hot ambient conditions.

Slow wireless charging

Newer Qi wireless charging pads offer 5W, 7.5W, 10W or 15W power levels. Slower wireless charging generates less internal heat. Faster charging also degrades batteries faster over time.

Avoid heavy use in high heat

Don’t play graphics-intensive games or stream long videos in hot outdoor environments. Heavy phone use compounds the effects of high ambient temperatures.

Give phone breaks during heavy use

Avoid sustained intensive use over 30 to 60 minutes. Take short breaks to give your phone a chance to cool off periodically. This reduces thermal buildup.

Remove protective cases periodically

Thick cases trap heat generated inside phones during normal use. When safe, periodically remove cases to improve ventilation and cooling.

Keep air intakes clear

Don’t cover your phone with bedding or block the air intake ports along device edges. This restricts airflow needed to ventilate and cool internal components.

Replace aging batteries

Older batteries lose heat dissipation efficiency and are more prone to overheating. Replace worn batteries to restore normal operating temperatures.

Avoid charging faulty devices

Don’t charge devices with damaged batteries or known overheating problems. This risks further component damage. Seek qualified phone repairs to fix issues first.

How to Cool Down an Overheated Phone

If your phone starts to get uncomfortably warm, there are some quick ways to cool it down on the spot:

Step away from heat sources

Move to a cooler location out of direct sunlight or away from other heat sources. This removes external factors raising your phone’s temperature.

Turn off the phone

Power down the phone to stop processor activity and battery drain. The phone will cool down faster when off versus idling in standby mode. Just don’t power it back on until fully cooled.

Remove the case

Take off any protective case to improve airflow and heat dissipation from device surfaces. This speeds cooling.

Put phone up to AC vent

Hold your phone up to a cold air conditioning vent for quick cooling. Direct cool airflow over the case draws heat away faster. Just avoid moisture condensation.

Place on cold surface

Set your hot phone down on a cold counter, desk or table. Conductive heat transfer to the cold surface whisks heat away. Surfaces like granite work well.

Use a fan

Point a fan directly at your phone to accelerate cooling. Constant air movement rapidly whisks heat away for faster cool down.

Wrap in a cool towel

Wrap your phone loosely in a cold wet towel or cloth. The evaporation creates a cooling effect, while the fabric conducts heat away.

Avoid extreme temperature changes

Don’t suddenly plunge an overheated phone into an ice bath or freezer. Rapid temperature changes can crack glass screens and damage components. Cool phones gradually.


In summary, today’s smartphones are designed to safely operate up to about 95°F (35°C). Prolonged exposure above 105°F (40°C) or temperatures above 113°F (45°C) risk damaging key components like the battery, display, and processor.

Watch for signs of overheating like slow performance, display issues, and unexpected shutdowns. Avoid leaving phones in hot cars, direct sunlight or using intensively in hot environments. Employ active or passive cooling accessories when heat is unavoidable.

If your phone overheats, power it down, remove cases, and use airflow or conductive surfaces to cool it gradually. With proper precautions, you can help your phone withstand the inevitable heat it encounters during daily use.