Everyone knows the sensation of picking up a phone only for it to nearly burn off your fingertips. An overheated phone is more than a nuisance: it can actually reduce performance and battery capacity.
It isn’t always easy to figure out why your phone is overheating. There are a lot of different reasons your phone might get too hot, and identifying the exact cause will help prevent damage to your device and improve its performance.
Things That Overheat Your Phone
Your phone can overheat for a lot of reasons–some common, some not so much. If you find your phone constantly hot to the touch, look for the source.
1. Your Phone Is Using Too Much Processing Power
A powerful processor means your phone is capable of doing more at once (and your phone actually has more processing power than the first spacecraft did.) On the other hand, your processor can also drive up the temperature of your phone.
If you spend an extended amount of time gaming or using intensive applications on your phone, it can get too hot. Set that Clash of Clans game aside and let your phone cool off if it becomes uncomfortable to hold.
2. Too Many Apps in the Background
Everyone is guilty of opening an app, using it for a few minutes, and then swiping out of it. It isn’t always convenient to close an app, but leaving too many running in the background can cause your phone to overheat and drain your battery that much faster.
Take the time to close out apps when you are done with them. Creating a habit of shutting down applications when they won’t be used for an extended amount of time will help prevent overheating.
3. Your Screen Brightness Is Too High
It can be difficult to see your phone in direct sunlight, but turning your brightness all the way up can cause your phone to get too hot. If possible, set your phone to automatically adjust its brightness based on ambient light.
Automatic adjustment means you should (in theory) always be able to see your phone screen without using excess power. If your phone requires manual adjustment, remember to turn your brightness back down after using it in the sunlight.
4. You May Have a Rogue App or Malware
This problem arises most often with Androids, as Apple does not allow unapproved apps on the App Store. If you download an app that contains malware or performs unauthorized tasks on your phone, it may use more CPU power than expected and cause the phone to overheat.
Take the time to read reviews of any apps and download a reliable antivirus software for your phone. When you encounter strange performance issues, perform a virus scan to make sure you haven’t picked up something you didn’t account for.
While iPhone users are less susceptible to this threat, it can still happen. iPhones are capable of catching viruses and malware. Though rare, don’t discount malware as a potential reason your phone is so hot.
5. You Are Streaming Content or Playing Games
An extended gaming session can cause your phone to overheat, but so can binge-watching your favorite Netflix show. If you find that your phone is too hot to touch after your fifth episode of Are You The One? in a row, turn off the app and let your phone cool down.
The combination of processing power and the screen remaining on for long periods will drive the temperature up in no time at all. The same goes for mobile gaming.
Some of the newest games are absolutely beautiful on your smartphone display, but this requires large amounts of GPU and CPU resources. Personally, gaming is the number one reason why my phone will get hot.
6. You Have Too Many Widgets
Widgets are great. You can customize your phone to reflect your personality and display your favorite content at a glance, but too many widgets can impact the performance of your phone and cause it to overheat.
Animated wallpapers and widgets are particularly guilty of this. If possible, disable any unnecessary settings to reduce how often your phone overheats. At the very least, consider getting rid of a few of those widgets and keep only your favorites.
7. You Have a Faulty Charger
When your phone overheats, pay attention to where the heat comes from. If the heat comes from around the center of the phone, the fault likely lies in your processor. If it gets hot at the bottom, then the problem may be in your charger.
If your phone overheats when you are charging it, there are two main culprits. Either the charger you are using is faulty, or your phone’s charging port has been damaged. Faulty chargers are common, especially if you purchase a discount, off-brand device (like something you might find at a gas station.)
When it comes to phone chargers, shelling out the extra cost for an officially licensed charger will keep your phone safe and reduce the risk of fire. If you are using an official charger and it still overheats, then your battery may be near the end of its life and need replacing.
8. GPS Is Active
If you count yourself among the directionally-challenged crowd, you likely rely on your phone’s GPS. Many apps request the use of GPS at all times, too. However, GPS can cause your phone to overheat due to the amount of processing power it requires.
If you find your phone overheating too often, disable your GPS. If this isn’t possible, deny apps permission to utilize GPS except when absolutely necessary. You can also turn on low power or battery save mode to stop your GPS from updating in the background.
Every phone will get hot from time to time, but you can reduce how often this happens by following a few simple steps. If your phone constantly overheats, it might be time for a new one—or at the very least, you might need to replace the battery.