Should I use ice to cool down my phone?

Quick Answers

Using ice to cool down an overheating phone is not recommended. While it may provide temporary relief, it can cause condensation and water damage. Better options to cool a phone include turning it off, removing the case, and pointing a fan at it.

What Causes Phones to Overheat?

There are several potential causes of phone overheating:

  • Using resource-intensive apps, especially for extended periods
  • Charging the phone while using it or while it’s in a hot environment
  • Direct sunlight exposure, especially in warm weather
  • A phone case trapping heat inside
  • Too many background apps running
  • A hardware or software issue

Activities like gaming, video streaming, GPS navigation, and augmented reality use a lot of processing power and can heat up the phone quickly. The battery also generates heat when charging rapidly. External heat sources like sunlight and hot cars can compound the problem.

Dangers of Ice on Phones

Putting an overheated phone directly on ice may seem like a quick fix, but it comes with risks:

  • Condensation – When a cold surface meets warm humid air, water droplets form. This can happen inside your phone.
  • Water damage – If condensation builds up enough, moisture can get into openings and damage electronic components.
  • Thermal shock – Rapid cooling by ice may stress the materials in your phone.
  • Freezer burn – Some materials like the phone screen may crack if frozen.

At best, the cooling from ice will be temporary. Once the ice melts or you remove the phone, temperatures will quickly rise again. The water and humidity introduced into the phone can cause permanent problems.

Safer Ways to Cool a Phone

Here are some safer methods to cool down an overheating phone and prevent damage:

  • Turn it off – Shut down the phone completely and give it time to cool off.
  • Remove protective case – Take off any extra insulation trapping heat inside.
  • Point a fan at it – Direct airflow, preferably at room temperature, helps dissipate heat.
  • Avoid direct sunlight – Keep the phone shaded and out of hot environments.
  • Close apps – Resource-intensive apps increase processor workload and heat.
  • Disable features – Turn off Wi-Fi, mobile data, Bluetooth when not needed.
  • Update software – Make sure power management is optimized in the latest OS.
  • Don’t charge while using – Charging alone heats up the battery; using it while charging makes it worse.

If overheating persists, it could indicate a hardware problem needing repair. Phones are designed to withstand reasonable heat from normal usage. But it’s still best to minimize exposure to avoid damaging delicate electronics.

How Ice and Cold Temperatures Damage Phones

To understand why ice can harm phones, it helps to look at how low temperatures affect key components:

Display and Touchscreen

  • LCD displays can sustain damage below -20°C. The liquid crystals freeze up, preventing pixel color changes.
  • OLED displays develop darker spots at low temperatures as organic diodes deteriorate.
  • Touchscreens lose responsiveness and calibration as the glass stiffens in cold weather.
  • Any ice formation on the screen can crack or distort the display.


  • Below 0°C, a phone battery loses significant capacity and ability to deliver peak voltage.
  • Chemical changes during freezing reduce battery performance over time.
  • Cold temperatures before charging can trigger lithium plating, degrading battery cells.


  • Phone processors generate less current and clock speeds decline in cold environments.
  • Voltage drops below component tolerances can lead to crashes and reboots.
  • Sub-zero temperatures combined with voltage spikes from fast charging may damage delicate processor components.

Solder and Adhesives

  • The solder holding chips and connectors in place can crack from thermal shock.
  • Adhesives stiffen and detach at low temperatures, compromising gaskets and seals.
  • Repeated condensation and freezing puts mechanical strain on solder joints, causing failures over time.

In summary, cold temperatures beyond normal operating ranges introduce reliability issues across phones. The moisture from condensation and ice poses an additional threat. It’s best to revive an overheated phone gently without temperature extremes.

Tips for Preventing an Overheated Phone

Avoiding phone overheating in the first place will prevent the need for emergency cooling methods. Here are some tips:

Manage Processing Load

  • Close processor-intensive apps when not in use or running in the background unnecessarily.
  • Disable unnecessary phone features like Bluetooth or GPS when not needed.
  • If possible, avoid gaming or streaming high-resolution video for extended periods.
  • Reduce screen brightness since the display contributes to device heat.

Watch Charging Habits

  • Don’t use fast chargers for prolonged charging sessions; slower is cooler.
  • Avoid wireless charging which generates more heat.
  • Stop charging once the battery reaches around 80-90% capacity.
  • Don’t charge and use the phone simultaneously, especially for gaming or streaming.

Manage Environmental Heat

  • Don’t leave the phone in direct sunlight or enclosed in a hot car.
  • Avoid humid conditions which reduce heat dissipation.
  • Remove thick or poorly ventilated cases when temperatures rise.
  • Point a fan at the phone if you expect sustained processor usage.

Address Hardware Issues

  • Replace an aging battery which generates more heat when charging.
  • Clean out charge port and headphone jack which can trap lint and heat up.
  • Repair any damage that could hamper phone ventilation or cooling.

Update Software

  • Install OS and app updates which may contain thermal management improvements.
  • Reset device to eliminate any software bugs possibly affecting system resources.

Diagnosing an Overheating Phone

If a phone frequently overheats, it helps to diagnose the possible cause for a long-term solution. Try these steps:

  1. Note which apps or activities correlate with heat. Gaming and navigation use more processor resources for example.
  2. Check settings to identify any unnecessary features running. Disable Wi-Fi, mobile data, Bluetooth when not needed.
  3. Inspect the phone for obstruction of airflow, especially around vents and the charging port.
  4. Update core apps and the OS to latest versions optimized for thermal management.
  5. Test with a different charger cable, wall adapter, or wireless pad to isolate issue.
  6. Consider battery age and capacity. Older batteries generate more heat when charging.
  7. Backup data and perform factory reset to clear any problematic software.
  8. If overheating persists, have phone inspected by manufacturer for hardware defects.

Pay attention toheat patterns under different conditions. Keeping a log can help identify the circumstances most likely to spur overheating. If software fixes don’t resolve it, the phone may need professional service.

Emergency Cooling Tips If No Other Options

While not recommended, some emergency cooling measures can provide temporary relief if absolutely needed and used with care:

  • Fan: Point phone camera side down toward strong airflow from fan or A/C vent.
  • Gel pack: Apply room temperature gel pack against phone back.
  • Ventilation: Keep phone moving in open space instead of flat on a surface.
  • Powder: Surround phone with silica gel beads to absorb heat, preventing direct contact.
  • Sunshade: Block sunlight hitting phone such as under an umbrella.
  • Case off: Remove any case or cover restricting airflow.
  • Limit use: Avoid activity prompting overheating until temperature drops.

Monitor device temperature carefully if attempting emergency cooling. Stop if condensation appears since moisture poses a greater threat long-term. The safest approach is powering off and waiting for heat to dissipate passively.


Ice may seem like an easy remedy for an overheating phone, but the potential for condensation and water damage makes it too risky. Letting the phone rest with apps closed, preferably in shade, allows it to cool safely. For persistent overheating, look at updating software, changing charging habits, and removing obstructions to airflow. With proper care and maintenance, phones can avoid excess heat through normal use.

Cooling Method Effectiveness Risks
Ice High temporary cooling Condensation, water damage, thermal shock
Fan Moderate cooling from airflow Minimal
Gel pack Low to moderate cooling Potential condensation if too cold
Sunshade Lowers temperature rise None
Case Removal Improves airflow and cooling None
Resting Passive cooling over time None