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February 8, 2023

Why Is My Phone Overheating?

A phone can overheat abruptly. The owner might notice that the phone suddenly feels hot and then simply shuts off. Rebooting won’t help, and Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is replaced by the realization and very palpable fear that the phone won’t even work for an emergency.

Many now rely on their cell phones as their primary source of communication. According to Statista, less than three out of 10 households still have a landline. If the cell phone is out of commission, many Americans won’t have access to another phone. When the phone shuts off after becoming too hot, the owner might wonder “why is my phone overheating?” The most common reasons for an overheating phone include:

Why is My Phone Overheating

Phone Overheating on a Hot Day

The phone accompanies most owners everywhere. It isn’t uncommon to bring the phone to the beach or to the park. However, if the temperature outdoors is sweltering, the heat can cause the phone to surge in temperature, too. A phone also can burn hot if it’s exposed to the sun.

To protect phones when the temperature is hot, owners can consider turning them off (when not in use). Another way to lower the temperature is to place the phone in a cooler area. Owners can store the phone in a bag where it won’t be exposed to the sun or in an indoor area (if possible).

When the phone is hot from the external temperature, it will automatically shut down. However, if the battery is charged, the phone can be rebooted once it cools down.

Why is My Phone Overheating

Save Phone from Overheating and Don’t Use a Damaged Charger

A phone can overheat if a damaged charger or cord is used to recharge the phone. Avoid this scenario by ensuring that the charger is in good condition before using it. In addition, don’t use a charging port or station that isn’t compatible with the phone.

Phone owners also should refrain from charging their phone through the night. The phone might become overheated and a sleeping owner would not be aware of the issue. Instead, charge the phone during the day or before going to bed; unplug the phone from the charger once the battery is fully replenished.

Onsitego also notes that using the wrong charger could be dangerous. In fact, the site explains that some phones have ‘exploded.’ Again, choose a charger that is compatible with the phone.

Overheating Phone Has Malware

If the phone isn’t currently charging or hasn’t been exposed to extreme temperatures, why is it suddenly overheating? The issue might be related to malware or a virus.

Onsitego explains that the malware or virus uses more memory, which causes the phone to heat up. In addition, the site notes that the battery also will begin to deplete. Onsitego also explains that glitching apps or programs also could cause the phone to overheat. Again, the software would use up more memory and cause the phone to heat up in the process; the battery also will begin to deplete.

To avoid malware and viruses, Onsitego recommends that smartphone owners download apps from reputable online stores. For Apple users, download from the App Store. Android users can safely download apps from Google Play.

In addition, both Onsitego and Avast explain that the mining apps or software associated with crypto also can cause overheating. These programs use a lot of memory. Avast reports that ‘cryptojacking’ also can lead to overheating; this is when the phone is accessed by another individual to mine cryptocurrency. According to Avast, “Cryptojacking is so popular that it has become as potent a threat as the most destructive ransomware attacks.”

Turn Down the Screen Brightness to Keep Phone Cool

Another reason the phone could suddenly overheat is due to the settings. Is the screen brighter? Has this setting been recently adjusted?

Onsitego explains that brightening up the screen is “…one of the biggest culprits when it comes to suboptimal phone settings that cause your overheating.”

Help cool off the phone, and turn down the brightness.

Overusing the Camera and Gaming too Long Bumps the Temp

Onsitego explains that using the phone too much will cause it to run hotter. Those who are snapping tons of selfies or gaming for a long period of time might notice that the phone is growing hotter in their hands. This is a warning.

Before the phone overheats, find a stopping point in that game and close out the app. Then, close out other apps in use and give the phone time to recover and cool down.

There Could Be Damage

While too much use, malware, hot external temperatures and a bad charger can wreak havoc on a phone and cause it to overheat, internal damage also could lead to an overheating phone. Did the owner somehow get the phone wet? Was there another issue with the phone that could have resulted in internal damage?

Onsitego explains that battery damage will lead to overheating, but the age of the phone also could be a culprit. As the phone ages, the battery might wear down and become less efficient.

Check the Temperature with These Apps

There are many proactive ways to ensure the phone doesn’t overheat. However, users don’t always know when their phone is infected with a virus or if someone has hijacked their phone to use crypto. In addition, users might sometimes become so involved with gaming that they don’t realize that their phone is growing warmer.

Several apps are designed to detect the temperature of the CPU. These apps can help users understand when their phone is overwhelmed and the temperature is rising. Avast includes numerous apps for monitoring the temperature, but phone owners also can check the App Store (for Apple devices) or Google Play (for Android) to find the best and most reputable apps for their phone.

How to Cool Off a Hot Phone

CNET offers numerous suggestions for dealing with a phone that’s rising in temperature. For those at the beach or out in the hot sun, the most obvious solution is to place the phone in the shade or another cool place.

In addition, CNET recommends ditching the phone’s case (this can help the phone breathe and ventilate) and even putting the phone in the freezer for a few minutes. If the phone is hot while charging, CNET advises owners to unplug the phone.

Some phone owners also fan their phone or blow on it. This also could help to decrease the phone’s temperature.

Be Proactive with Phone Health

An overheating phone can happen to anyone. However, phone owners need to be proactive with their phone’s health to ensure the longevity of the device.

Don’t download any apps via a website or click any questionable links in email or text messages. Viruses and malware can sneak into a phone through these downloads. Instead, download apps only from reputable online stores like the App Store or Google Play.

Phone owners also need to be aware of the charger they use and when they charge their phone, too. Many phone owners charge the phone overnight. Unfortunately, the phone could overheat and the owner wouldn’t know it. Charge the phone on a charger that is compatible with the phone, and only charge the phone during waking hours. Unplug the phone when the battery is replenished and discard any broken chargers or cords.

Phone use habits also can overwhelm the phone. Gaming for hours at a time will cause the system to work hard and the phone will get warmer and could overheat. If the phone starts to feel hotter in the user’s hands, close out the apps and the programs and give the phone a break.

Over time, the battery of the phone could wear down and begin to overheat. Older phones might simply be at the end of their life. Owners might need to replace the phone. However, if the battery has become damaged, the owner also could choose to replace it (if possible).

Thankfully, cooling down a hot cell phone isn’t difficult. Storing the phone away from the sun, placing the phone in the freezer (temporarily) or even blowing on the phone might help cool it down. If the phone continues to overheat, though, the owner might need to identify the reason.

When a virus or malware is suspected, a professional might need to help resolve the issue. Phone owners can take the phone into their service provider for a diagnosis.

In some cases, an overheating phone could be damaged from the excessive heat. Again, using a charger that is damaged or a charger that isn’t compatible with the phone could lead to problems. Some overheating phones were damaged beyond repair.

Phone owners should be mindful of their phone’s health to ensure that it remains in good condition. Beware of malware schemes, don’t overcharge a phone and keep the phone out of direct sunlight. If the phone overheats regularly, it might be time to take it into a pro for a diagnostic check-up.

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