Why Your Phone Gets Hot

What to do when your Android's temperature rises

Illustrations of old-fashioned phones in familiar app icons.

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When your phone runs hot, it's an indication that its processor is overwhelmed (and needs a break) or an indication it's a problem with the battery.

Smartphones can also overheat when left in a hot car or outside in stifling weather, for example. Here's how to identify the issue and cool your phone down.

What Causes Android Phones to Overheat?

There are many ways to send your smartphone into overdrive, including streaming videos or playing mobile games for hours. Using turn-by-turn GPS navigation can heat things up too. Your phone can also overheat if you leave it out in the sun for too long. Sometimes, it can heat up while charging, due to poor ventilation or a faulty charger or cable. Finally, it could be due to malware, compromised apps, or software update issues.

How to Cool Down Your Android Phone

  1. Remove the case. If you have one, give it as much breathing room as possible. Place the phone on a surface that won’t trap heat, and point a fan at it. If you’re outside, move to the shade, if possible, or better yet, get inside where there's air conditioning.

  2. Power off the phone. Keep it unplugged, until it cools. Restart the phone, but don’t launch any apps. If the phone starts overheating, it might have physical damage, or clogged vents. Contact your carrier or retailer for assistance.

  3. Update the software. If there’s no obvious hardware problem, it could be apps or software. Uninstall unused apps. Check if your phone has a pending software update.

  4. Malware is always a risk. It’s essential that you keep your device protected from malicious apps, by regularly installing security updates, and only downloading apps and files from trusted sources.

    Malware can cause your phone to heat up by running in the background (doing whatever it's doing) and never stopping until you kill the app (or, better, delete it).

  5. Reset the phone. If the overheating persists, reset your smartphone to factory settings. Be sure to backup your data first, including contacts, photos, and other important information.

Preventing Your Phone From Overheating

These issues can happen on any Android phone, even new models, regardless of the operating system or manufacturer. Like laptops, smartphones needs ventilation, especially if you’re constantly using it. As with any electronic device, a little maintenance goes a long way.

  • Keep your phone out of the sun.
  • Don't leave your phone in a hot car.
  • Make sure the case you use is designed for your phone model and isn't blocking any vents (if there are any).
  • When charging, keep the phone on a flat surface, not on your couch or bed. Often the case acts as a radiator, radiating the heat away from the device. Blankets and bedding can act like an insulator. Good for you, bad for your phone.
  • Keep your OS up to date.