Why Does My Phone Get Hot?

Overheating is a common issue in mobile devices, but it often raises alarms among users. This concern is usually unnecessary, as there are several common and easily resolvable reasons why phones get hot, including overuse, exposure to harsh weather conditions, and battery problems. However, it is essential to cool down an excessively hot device promptly to prevent it from overheating again.

Below we delve into the five most common reasons why your phone might be getting hot and how to cool it down.

The Impact of Viruses and Malware

Mobile malware can have effects beyond data leaks, software damage, or battery drainage. It can also overload your device’s processor and cause it to overheat by making it work overtime. Utilizing a robust mobile security tool, such as McAfee Mobile Security, can protect your pocket-sized digital life by blocking malicious apps, threats, and malware from entering your device.

McAfee Pro Tip: For more information on current mobile threats, check out this full report. The McAfee 2023 Consumer Mobile Threat Report is one of our latest resources that delve into the ever-evolving realm of mobile security challenges and risks. 

Video Streaming and Gaming

Streaming video content, running graphically demanding gaming apps, and recording video content for prolonged periods can heat your phone’s central processing unit (CPU). This can lead to an unexpectedly hot Apple or Android device.

While computers have internal fans to keep them cool, phones don’t. Therefore, if you overwork your phone, it is likely to get hotter than you would like. This elevated heat not only affects user comfort but also poses potential risks to the device itself. Excessive heat can accelerate battery degradation, diminish overall performance, and even lead to thermal throttling, which reduces processing power to prevent damage. It’s crucial to be mindful of your phone’s workload and ensure it doesn’t become excessively hot to maintain optimal functionality and prolong the lifespan of your device.

Dig Deeper: What You Need to Know About Livestreaming

Battery Problems

Your phone’s battery health plays a significant role in whether or not it overheats. As the battery health degrades, the likelihood of your phone overheating increases. Checking whether the back of your device heats up more than the front can tell you if the battery is at fault.

Most devices also have a feature allowing you to check your battery’s health. You can find this feature on an iPhone—go to “Settings” and choose “Battery”. To check your battery’s health on an Android device, you can typically navigate to the “Settings” app, and then look for the “Battery” or “Battery & Device Care” section, which can vary in name. Within this section, you’ll often find options to assess your battery’s condition and performance.

Outdated Apps

Failing to update your apps can pose overheating risks to your device. App updates often include bug fixes, extra features, and security additions, all of which improve your device’s performance and minimize overheating issues. Make sure to regularly update your apps, whether you’re using the App Store on iOS or Google Play on Android.

Dig Deeper: Why Software Updates Are So Important

Can Overheating Damage My Phone Permanently?

Next, we delve into the potential permanent damage that overheating can cause. While a heat warning on a hot summer afternoon might not seem alarming, continual exposure to heat can slow down your device, cause data loss, and result in battery leakage.

One of the most concerning outcomes of overheating is the potential for battery leakage. High temperatures can accelerate the chemical reactions within the battery, which can lead to the release of harmful gasses, swelling of the battery, and, in the worst-case scenario, leakage of electrolytes. Battery leakage not only compromises your device’s performance but can also pose safety hazards. Therefore, it is important to keep your phone cool and take precautions if it does overheat.

How to Cool Down Your Overheating Phone?

If you find your phone getting excessively hot, it’s crucial to take immediate steps to cool it down. Some of these steps are pretty straightforward but can do wonders in bringing the temperature of your phone down. And in preventing your phone from heating up in the future, here are some techniques:

Update Your Phone

One of the simplest ways to prevent overheating is by keeping your phone up to date. Regular updates not only keep your device secure but also often fix bugs that can lead to excessive battery drain and heating.

Follow Correct Charging Practices

Believe it or not, how you charge your phone can also impact how hot it gets. Always make sure to use the correct charger and charging cable for your device. Avoid full cycle and overnight charging, and never cover your phone or keep it in a hot place while it’s charging.

Dig Deeper: US-B Careful: Public iPhone Chargers Lie in Wait

Go on Airplane Mode

Turning on airplane mode can help cool down your device faster. Airplane mode restricts all wireless communication on your device, such as searching for a cellular signal or Wi-Fi, which can drain your battery and cause your device to heat up.

Lower Screen Brightness and Activities

High screen brightness not only drains your phone’s battery faster but also generates more heat. Your screen needs more power to shine brighter, which can make your device run hotter, particularly if you have your brightness cranked up for extended periods. It’s always best to auto-adjust the screen brightness on your mobile device to match your environmental conditions. At night or in darker environments, your screen brightness doesn’t need to be high.

Additionally, dynamic wallpapers and widgets can cause your device to use more power, which can result in excess heat. Try using static backgrounds and minimizing the number of widgets to help keep your device cool.

Remove Protective Case

While phone cases are essential for protecting your device from accidental damage, they can also trap heat. Removing your phone’s case can allow heat to escape and can help cool down your device faster.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

The intense heat generated by the sun can not only make your device uncomfortably warm to the touch but can also trigger thermal stress, adversely affecting its performance and battery life. Direct sunlight can cause your device to heat up quickly, so always make sure to keep your device away from direct sunlight and other heat sources.

Use Antivirus Protection

As discussed earlier, malware can keep your device working overtime and generate more heat. A security app like McAfee Mobile Security can prevent malicious apps and threats from entering your device and causing it to overheat.

Final Thoughts

While an overheating phone may cause an alarm, it’s usually not a cause for concern. Several factors can cause your phone to get hot, including overuse, high screen brightness, and malware. Regular updates, correct charging habits, and using antivirus protection can all help prevent your phone from overheating. Remember, if your phone gets excessively hot, it’s crucial to take immediate steps to cool it down and prevent potential damage.

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