Why does my Android phone keep overheating?

Quick Answers

Overheating in Android phones is usually caused by processor-intensive tasks like gaming, using GPS navigation apps, or streaming videos. Other common causes include direct sunlight exposure, charging while using the phone, lots of background apps running, or a buggy app. Steps to fix an overheating Android phone include closing background apps, disabling unneeded features like Bluetooth or GPS, updating apps/OS, factory resetting, and cleaning out dust buildup.

What Causes an Android Phone to Overheat?

There are several potential causes of an Android phone overheating, including:

Using Processor-Intensive Apps

Any app that uses a lot of processing power can cause an Android phone to heat up. Examples include:

– Graphics-heavy games like PUBG Mobile or Call of Duty Mobile. The advanced 3D graphics and gameplay physics require the processor to work hard, generating heat.

– Navigation/mapping apps like Google Maps or Waze. Constantly calculating and recalculating routes and tracking your real-time location utilizes GPS and processor resources.

– Video streaming apps like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu. Playing and buffering high-def video is taxing on the processor.

– Video calling apps like FaceTime, Skype, Google Duo. Encoding and decoding live video requires heavy processor usage.

– Augmented reality apps like Pokemon Go or IKEA Place. Rendering layered graphics/animations on top of real-time camera input takes substantial processing power.

– Other productivity apps like Slack, Trello, Microsoft Office. While not as intense as games/video, they can still contribute to overheating.

In general, any app that intensely uses the CPU, GPU, RAM, cellular modem, GPS or other components can cause the phone to heat up after extended usage, especially at higher screen brightness levels.

Charging While Using the Phone

Charging an Android phone alone does not generate much heat. However, the combination of charging the battery while simultaneously running intensive apps that are making processor, screen and other components work hard results in higher heat generation.

The battery needs to draw in power from the charger to replenish, which itself creates some heat. At the same time, the CPU, RAM and other chips are creating heat while operating at a high level. Together, these can compound and cause an uncomfortable buildup of heat while the phone charges.

Direct Sunlight Exposure

Leaving your Android phone directly exposed to the sun for an extended period of time can also lead it to overheat. The infrared and ultraviolet radiation from sunlight will increase the temperature of any object left in the sun. This includes cars, furniture, clothing – and phones.

The metals and plastics that make up your phone can heat up rapidly in the sun’s rays. Meanwhile, the phone’s internal components are also generating heat, as background apps continue running. With no shade or AC cooling, this perfect storm can result in overheating.

Lots of Background Apps/Processes Running

Android phones are a miniature multi-tasking computers, often with many apps and processes running simultaneously in the background, even when you’re not actively using the phone. Having too many apps constantly running in the background can cause resource drain.

Background apps that use mobile data, GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and other antennae contribute to increased power usage. This taxes the processor and RAM as they juggle multiple processes, leading to overheating.

Older Phone/Outdated Software

As your Android phone ages past 1-2 years, the capacity of the battery degrades naturally. Older phones may also have more dated processors. This means the CPU has to work harder to provide smooth performance, generating more heat in the process.

Outdated software and apps can also cause instability that results in overheating. For optimal performance and heat management, keeping your phone’s apps and Android OS up-to-date is important.

Nearby Heat Sources

Exposure to external sources of heat can also warm up your phone and its internal components. For example, leaving your phone in a hot car in summer can absolutely cause overheating, especially if it’s in direct sunlight. Radiators, stoves, and other appliances that give off heat can also externally warm your phone if it’s nearby.

Faulty/Buggy Apps

Rarely, a particular app may have a defect or bug that causes it to excessively drain resources like mobile data, CPU or RAM. This can sometimes cause overheating that only occurs when using that particular faulty app. Reinstalling or updating the troubled app can potentially fix such issues.

Hardware Defects

In rarer cases, a hardware defect in the phone itself may be the culprit behind abnormal overheating. Issues with the battery, processor or other internal chips could lead to heat-related problems, generally after the phone has been used for over a year. This requires proper diagnosis and possible replacement of damaged hardware or the battery in order to resolve.

How to Keep Your Phone From Overheating

Here are some tips to prevent and fix overheating issues on your Android phone:

Close Unnecessary Apps

Double check which apps are running in the background and close any that aren’t needed. Stop resource-intensive apps like mobile games and streaming video when not in use. This frees up processor resources and RAM, reducing heat buildup.

Disable Unneeded Features

Turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and mobile hotspots when not being actively utilized. They can still draw power even in standby, contributing to heating. Disable auto-syncing for accounts like email if not needed real-time.

Update Software/Apps

Stay current on Android OS and security patches. Also update individual apps, as newer versions run more smoothly and efficiently, causing less strain and heat on the processor and battery. Reboot phone after major updates.

Adjust Display Brightness

Lower screen brightness below maximum levels, especially when in direct sun. The brighter the display, the more battery power and processor resources required to maintain that backlighting, resulting in higher temperature.

Clean Out Dust Buildup

Use a can of compressed air to clear out any accumulated dust or debris from the phone’s ports and internal cooling vents. This ensures proper airflow and heat dissipation from internal components.

Remove Protective Case While Using

Thick protective cases can trap heat generated by the phone during intensive usage. Try removing the case periodically to allow for better ventilation and cooling. Just be extra careful not to drop your unprotected phone!

Point External Fans/AC At Phone

Additional airflow from a fan, air conditioner vent or other cooling source can help dissipate heat from your phone when gaming or performing other intensive tasks. Just avoid moisture sources that could damage your phone.

Avoid Charging While Gaming/Streaming

As mentioned previously, simultaneous charging and heavy usage can cause your phone to get quite hot. Try to avoid prolonged gaming or video streaming while plugged in and charging the battery.

Take Breaks From Resource-Heavy Apps

Put down the mobile game or Netflix binge session periodically to give your phone a chance to cool off and prevent sustained overheating issues. This also gives the battery a break from continuous intensive drain.

Factory Reset Phone

If your phone doesn’t seem to be cooling properly and overheats frequently, a factory reset can wipe away any problematic settings, files or app installs causing instability. Back up data first, then reset to refresh the whole phone.

When to Be Concerned About Overheating

Occasional mild overheating when using Android phones intensively is normal, especially in hot environments. However, take note if you experience any of the following scenarios:

– Phone feels very hot to the touch – too hot to hold
– Overheating occurs during light usage
– Apps stutter or crash unexpectedly
– Phone turns off on its own to cool down
– “High Temperature” warning messages appear

In these cases, there may be a more serious hardware defect or battery issue at play. Persistent overheating can damage phone components like the battery long-term. Contact the manufacturer for troubleshooting if concerned.

You should also be alert about overheating when charging your phone. While fast chargers heat up plugged in, promptly unplug your phone if:

– Charger feels hot to the touch
– Phone heats up within 15-30 minutes of charging, especially if battery was over 50%
– Phone is causing active discomfort due to high temperature

Prolonged exposure to excessively high charging temperatures can decrease battery lifespan and pose a fire hazard in rare cases. Again, contact manufacturer support if concerned.

How to Cool Down an Overheated Phone

If your Android phone starts to feel uncomfortably hot at any time, here are some quick steps you can take to cool it down:

– Stop using the phone and close any apps that could be causing overheating. Turn off the display.
– If charging, unplug it and stop charging while it cools. Charging generates heat.
– Remove any protective case, as cases trap in heat.
– Move the phone out of direct sunlight if exposed. Seek shade or indoors.
– Point a fan at the phone to help dissipate heat. Avoid moisture.
– Place a cool (not cold) compress or ice pack wrapped in cloth on the phone.
– Wait 10-15 minutes before carefully handling again when cooled.

Avoid any extreme cooling measures like submerging in liquid, placing in the freezer, or adding ice directly to the device, as condensation can damage the phone. If problems persist, you may need a repair or replacement. Contact the manufacturer for overheating support specifics to your device model.


In summary, overheating of Android phones is usually caused by processor-intensive tasks, direct sunlight, outdated software, too many background apps, or hardware defects. Preventive measures include closing unused apps, disabling unneeded features, regular OS/app updates, lower brightness, ventilation, no cases when in use, and avoiding heat sources. Persistent or extreme overheating may require manufacturer troubleshooting, repairs, or a battery replacement in some cases. Use simple cooling methods like fans, shade, and waiting before handling again if overheated. With proper care, monitoring, and maintenance, Android phone users can enjoy stable performance and avoid disruptions from excessive heat generation.

Cause of Overheating Prevention/Solution
Using processor-intensive apps like games, video streaming, navigation Close apps when not in use, take periodic breaks
Charging battery while using processor-intensive apps Avoid charging while gaming/streaming video/using GPS
Lots of background apps and processes running Force close unnecessary background apps
Older phone with outdated software Update to latest OS and apps versions
Direct sunlight exposure Keep phone shaded, move to cooler location
Dust buildup in ports/vents Use compressed air to clean out dust
Thick protective case blocking ventilation Remove case periodically for better airflow
Nearby heat sources like appliances Move phone away from external heat sources
Hardware defects over time May require repair or replacement from manufacturer