Is it bad if my phone overheats?

Quick Summary

It’s not ideal for your phone to get excessively hot. Occasional, mild overheating is normal, especially when doing processor-intensive tasks like gaming or navigation. But frequent or severe overheating can damage your phone’s components and decrease battery life. To prevent problems, avoid direct sun exposure, don’t multitask too many apps, update software regularly, and don’t use bulky phone cases. If overheating persists, it likely indicates an underlying hardware or software issue needing repair.

What Causes a Phone to Overheat?

There are several potential causes of phone overheating:

Using Resource-Intensive Apps

Apps and features that utilize a lot of processing power generate more heat. This includes 3D gaming, video streaming, VR apps, navigation/mapping software like Google Maps, and video chatting. The processor ramps up to full capacity to run these demanding programs, making the phone hotter.

Bright Screen Settings

Having your screen brightness set to the maximum level strains the GPU (graphics processing unit), a component that already tends to run hot. Keeping brightness under 80% puts less burden on the GPU.

Direct Sunlight

Leaving your phone in a hot car or direct sunlight can quickly cause it to overheat. The outdoor heat combines with the phone’s internal heat, compounding the issue. Even in milder weather, direct sun exposure raises the phone’s temperature.


Charging your phone heats up the battery as it receives power, which radiates outward and warms the whole phone. Using fast chargers or charging a phone with a depleted battery especially increases charging heat. Avoid charging in hot environments like cars.

Too Many Apps Open

Having many apps and browser tabs running simultaneously taxes the phone’s RAM (random access memory), processor, and other components. Too much multitasking can cause lag, freezing, and overheating in any phone. Try closing unused apps and limiting how many run at once.

Bulky Phone Cases

Thick, heavy duty cases trap heat inside the phone rather than allowing airflow. Rubberized cases are particularly insulating. Over time, this heat buildup stresses the phone. Use thin, breathable cases instead.

Clogged Air Vents

Dust and pocket lint easily gather in smartphone air vents, obstructing airflow. Regularly clean vents with compressed air to prevent clogging, allowing the phone to vent heat properly. Avoid covering air vents with phone accessories.

Faulty Hardware

If overheating problems persist after trying other troubleshooting, the issue may be faulty hardware. For example, degraded battery cells can overheat;processors and RAM may fail to dissipate heat properly if damaged or worn out. Contact the manufacturer regarding potential defects if your phone overheats chronically.

Software Issues

Software glitches and processes running in the background can sometimes cause excessive overheating. Updating your operating system and apps to the latest versions may fix software-related heating issues. Restarting the phone clears background processes contributing to overheating.

Is Overheating Bad for My Phone?

Occasional mild overheating is normal, but chronic or severe overheating can damage phones:

Battery Degradation

Lithium-ion batteries provide power to smartphones. High temperatures degrade batteries more rapidly. Repeated overheating shortens battery lifespan, meaning faster loss of charge capacity.

Component Failure

Excessive heat accelerates wear and tear on processors, RAM, motherboards, and other delicate hardware. Their lifespan shortens, increasing the risk of premature failure. The soldering connecting chipsets can also melt.

Display Damage

The display contains heat-vulnerable components like LCD crystals. Overheating can cause image distortion or discoloration. In severe cases of overheating, pixels burn out permanently.

Data Loss

Solid state drives (SSDs) and memory cards overheat more easily than other storage media. The high heat may corrupt data stored on them. Back up your phone regularly to avoid data loss.


To cool itself and prevent damage, an overheating phone may throttle (intentionally slow) its processor performance. Throttling reduces overheating but impairs phone functionality until temperatures decrease.


As a failsafe, an overheated phone may forcibly power down to avoid hardware damage, even if battery level remains adequate. Preventing shutdowns requires addressing the overheating itself.

Is it Normal for a Phone to Get Warm?

Phones generating low to moderate heat under certain conditions is normal and not automatically concerning:

During Charging

It’s expected for phones to heat up slightly when charging. Levels up to 100°F (38°C) are considered safe during charging. This happens because charging rapidly generates energy.

Gaming or Video Streaming

These graphics-intensive functions make processors and GPUs work harder, inevitably producing some heat. Temperatures under 113°F (45°C) are generally fine temporarily.

Downloading Large Files

Downloading movies, playlists, or large apps can modestly raise phone temperature. This stems from processor exertion and data caching. Downloading over WiFi rather than mobile data tends to reduce heating.

Installing Updates

System updates utilize lots of processing resources. Installations may warm your phone to around 100°F (38°C). This is normal and subsides after the update finishes.

Bright Sun Light

Using phones in bright sunlight (like at the beach) often warms them somewhat. As long as the phone cools normally in shade, mild solar heating isn’t worrisome. Just don’t leave phones baking in direct sun.

High Ambient Temperature

On hot days, phones absorb heat from the surrounding environment. Expect temperatures a bit above air temperature. Unless other symptoms arise, ambient heating is insignificant.

How Hot is Too Hot for a Phone?

While thresholds vary between phone models, these general temperature ranges indicate overheating:

100°F – 113°F (38°C – 45°C)

This is warmer than normal but not severe overheating. The phone should cool once processor-intensive tasks end. If it stays at this level, try troubleshooting.

113°F – 122°F (45°C – 50°C)

This level of heating is concerning and can damage batteries over time. Avoid processor-intensive usage and shut down background apps to let the phone cool.

Greater than 122°F (50°C)

Sustained heating over 122°F (50°C) risks permanent damage to batteries, displays, and processors. Move the phone somewhere cooler and have it serviced if the problem recurs.

As a benchmark, your phone should feel warm but not uncomfortably hot at its surface. Turn off and check the temperature if discomfort occurs. Apps like CPU-Z show exact internal temperatures.

How to Keep My Phone from Overheating

Use these troubleshooting tips to prevent overheating and keep your phone running optimally:

Close Unused Apps

Minimize multitasking by closing inactive apps and browser tabs. Too many running simultaneously overburdens the processor. Use a task manager to shut them down.

Update Software

Install operating system and app updates promptly. Updates often contain bug fixes resolving software-related overheating. Restart the phone after updating.

Turn Down Screen Brightness

Keep screen brightness under 80% to reduce GPU strain. Auto-brightness also tailors brightness to ambient light conditions to prevent overheating.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

Don’t leave your phone in hot cars or direct sun. High ambient heat combines with the phone’s heat, exponentially raising temperatures. Even mild sun exposure warms phones.

Clean Air Vents

Use compressed air to routinely clean dust and pocket lint from air vents. Clogged vents prevent ventilation, trapping heat inside. Avoid blocking vents with bulky cases or accessories.

Disable Unneeded Features

Turn off WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS when not using them. Constant searching drains battery and generates excess heat. Manually toggling them on only when needed prevents overheating.

Take Off Phone Cases

Thick cases and rubberized cases insulate phones, preventing heat dissipation. Use thin cases instead, and remove cases temporarily if your phone feels excessively warm.

Avoid Charging in Hot Areas

Don’t charge your phone in confined hot spaces like under blankets or in direct sun. The added environmental heat worsens charging overheating. Let phones cool before charging.

Use Airplane Mode When Service is Weak

Constantly searching for networks when service is weak taxes phone radios and drains battery. Switch to airplane mode if reception is low until you reach stronger signal areas.

Replace Old Batteries

Aging batteries often overheat easier. Replace batteries older than 2-3 years to maintain good health. Use manufacturer-recommended batteries and replacement services.

When to Get a Phone Checked for Overheating

Schedule phone inspection if you experience:

  • Frequent overheating even without intensive usage
  • Overheating that persists after all software/troubleshooting steps
  • Burning or stinging heat sensation in your hands
  • Noticeable throttling and performance slowdowns
  • Rebooting or forced shutdowns due to overheating
  • Discolored or distorted display
  • Swollen battery

These suggest underlying defects requiring hardware repair or replacement. The manufacturer can diagnose issues like:

Damaged Processor/RAM

Chips may fail to contact heat spreaders or cool properly if warped or degraded. Replacing fault chips remedies overheating.

Clogged or Malfunctioning Fans

Some phones have internal cooling fans. Clogged, worn, or defective fans prevent heat dissipation. Techs can replace faulty fans.

Depleted Thermal Paste

Thermal paste aids heat transfer from processors to heat sinks. Old paste dries out, becoming less effective. Fresh paste replacement improves cooling.

Distorted Battery Shape

Weak points in swollen, warped batteries generate excess heat. Techs should drain and properly dispose of deformed batteries and install new ones.

Diagnosing hardware issues requires opening the phone to examine components. Most manufacturers won’t cover inspection costs unless you have an active warranty. Weigh repair costs against replacing the phone if out of warranty. Back up data beforehand just in case.


It’s normal for smartphones to occasionally get warm, but frequent or severe overheating can damage components and data. Avoid trapping phones in hot spaces, overloading processor resources, and blocking air vents. Keep software updated and restrain resource usage to prevent overtaxing your phone. Persistent overheating usually indicates hardware or software issues needing professional repair. Schedule inspection if problems continue after troubleshooting. With preventive care, typical warming is harmless, letting you enjoy phone capabilities without damage.