Why is my iPhone overheating? 4 reasons your iPhone is getting hot

It’s not an overstatement to say that iPhones are like pocket-sized computers. You probably use yours to do almost everything. There are very few things in your day-to-day that you can’t do on your iPhone. And, like your computer, the more you use your phone to do intensive tasks, the more it heats up. The main difference, though, is that unlike a computer, your iPhone doesn’t have fans to help cool it down. In fact, the iPhone is designed to push hot air out of its casing. That means there’s not much to worry about if your phone warms up from time-to-time.

When you should start to worry is if your iPhone is continuously hot to the touch. And if you’re noticing performance issues, there might be something else going on with it. In this article, we’ll talk about 5 common reasons that could be causing your iPhone to heat up and what you can do to help fix it.

Possible reasons your iPhone is heating up

If your iPhone is regularly feeling hot and you're noticing sluggish performance, here are a few things that could be causing it.

  1. Crashing apps
  2. Bad software
  3. Faulty hardware
  4. Environmental heat

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1. Crashing apps

If you’re just noticing your iPhone overheating, think back to any new applications you may have recently installed. Apps that weren’t properly installed can cause your phone to overheat, as well as apps that are continuously crashing. Even apps that are hanging or stalling in the background can cause your iPhone to overheat, and you might not realize it because it’s not something you’re actively using.

You can check to see which apps are using the most of your battery, which should help you determine if there’s an app (or apps) causing your phone to overheat. To check the battery status:

  1. Open the Setting app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Battery.

How to fix it: Force quit apps

Once you’ve figured out which apps are using a lot of battery power, the first troubleshooting step is to try force quitting them. 

  1. If your iPhone has a home button, tap it twice. Otherwise, swipe up from the bottom and then hold your finger in the middle of the screen.
  2. When you see all the open apps like cards, find the app(s) you want to close and swipe up.

How to fix it: Reinstall apps

If your iPhone continues to get hot again after quitting them, you should delete and reinstall the apps in question.

  1. Press and hold on the app icon.
  2. Tap Edit Home Screen.
  3. All the app icons will shake. Tap the X on the app you want to delete.
  4. Tap Confirm.
  5. Open the App Store and search for that app to redownload it.

2. iOS bugs

While individual apps can be the cause of your iPhone overheating, so can the actual iOS. Sometimes there’s something that is continuously running in the background. There might also be a bug that Apple needs to fix with an update, or you may just need to reinstall your iOS. 

If something is running in the background, the quickest and easiest fix is to turn your iPhone off for 30 seconds and then turn it back on.

How to fix it: Update iOS

From time to time, there’ll be a bug in the iOS software that is causing your iPhone to overheat. To rule that out, you should always make sure your iPhone is up to date with its iOS. 

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General > Software Update.
  3. If there’s an update available, tap Download and install.

How to fix it: Reinstall iOS

Your iPhone may already be completely up to date, and simply restarting isn’t fixing your overheating problem. In that case, you should reinstall iOS. Before you do anything else, make sure your iPhone is backed up either to iCloud, your computer, or a third-party app. Once you’ve triple-confirmed your iPhone is backed up:

  1. Go to Settings > General > Reset.
  2. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
  3. Follow the prompts.

3. Faulty hardware

After trying all of the above software troubleshooting options, if your iPhone is still overheating — giving you sluggish performance and draining your battery — then your phone might be suffering from bad hardware.

Fixing this is the hard part because it’s not something you can do on your own. You will have to make an appointment at an Apple Store or take your iPhone to an authorized service provider. If there’s something wrong with a component on your phone, they’ll be able to repair it for you. And the good news is if it’s still under warranty, it’ll be free for you.

4. Environmental heat

This one may seem obvious, but a big reason that your iPhone may be overheating is because of environmental temperatures. iPhones are slated to be used in 32º F to 95º F (0º C and 35º C). So in the warmer months, if your phone is in direct sunlight, it could be causing it to overheat. Or if it’s mounted to the heater vent in your car in the winter, that could also cause it to heat up. 

Depending on the type of case you have on your iPhone, it may trap heat. This can prevent your iPhone from getting the proper ventilation that it needs to stay cool.

How can you stop your iPhone from overheating?

If you’re using your iPhone and it starts to warm up, here are some more general steps to try until it cools back down.

  • Remove it from its case.
  • Avoid use in direct sunlight.
  • Force quit any games or maps.
  • Turn off Bluetooth. Swipe down from the top-right corner and press the Bluetooth button.
  • Turn off Location Services in Settings > Privacy > Location Services.
  • Disconnect the charger.
  • Turn on Airplane mode. Swipe down from the top right and press the Airplane button.
  • Turn your iPhone off entirely and then turn it back on again.

iPhone heating up: Is it dangerous?

Your iPhone getting warm isn’t necessarily something to be concerned about. In fact, it’s actually normal for your phone — especially if you’re using an AR app or tagging faces in the Photos app.

Is it bad for your iPhone to overheat?

It’s not bad for your iPhone to overheat. In fact, your iPhone has multiple temperature sensors that will warn you long before it gets to a temperature that will damage internal components. This means you’ll receive a temperature warning before your CPU or even your battery is harmed. That being said, the only time overheating has any connection to your battery life is if you have a faulty battery that’s causing your iPhone to overheat.

Can a hot iPhone explode or catch on fire?

An iPhone exploding or catching fire is somewhat unlikely. In the rare cases that have been reported of iPhones smoking or exploding, there’s usually been some physical damage to the phones; it wasn’t from the phones simply overheating.

From time to time, your iPhone is going to get warm, especially as you’re using it to do more intensive things like playing AR games or running processor-heavy apps. But if your iPhone is getting abnormally hot, this article hopefully has provided you with some helpful troubleshooting steps to cool it down. If you continue to have problems with your iPhone overheating, get it looked at by a certified technician because there might be something going on under the hood that you just can’t see.

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