Your phone overheats. But is it happening all by itself, or do you have apps running in the background that you don’t know about? Perhaps you’re gaming too much, or the environmental conditions are too extreme… the fact is, it’s difficult to pinpoint just why your smartphone is overheating.
Perhaps the device becomes sluggish when hot, or perhaps it shuts down until it has cooled. Either way, it has to stop. So let’s have a look at the various causes and help you to work out just what is going on.
Let’s Get Past the Obvious Stuff
Usually when you’re looking for a reason for your phone overheating, you’ll determine the cause as something obvious, such as overuse, or remaining connected to your Bluetooth speaker for too long. The chances are that you’ve also hit the Web and Googled a few phrases based on error messages that you’ve seen. You might even have checked particular apps.
Almost every time you will have come across a collection of the same old reasons for your phone overheating. “Your display brightness is too high,” or, “Your Wi-Fi has been connected for too long.” “You’ve been playing too many games,” is another (often with the additional “it’s not a game console” advice).
By 2016, no one should be using a phone that overheats under normal use. Perhaps Wi-Fi is an issue, but it won’t be the connection itself that is the problem — rather, the way it’s being used. We’ll come to that later. But first…
Don’t Forget High Intensity Camera Activities
I’ve been using a Sony Xperia Z5 for some months now. It’s only in this past week, while recording a video with the front facing camera, that I’ve found the device overheating — to such an extent that a warning notice was displayed.
To summarise the scenario, the phone was in its flip cover faux leather case, which features a basic friction stand. The phone was also situated in direct sunlight, although shielded from this by the case.
While I was using the highest quality settings on the camera, and the video lasted around 20 minutes, it was nevertheless a surprise to receive a warning that the phone would shut down due to overheating.
So, while the connectivity options, high display brightness, and regular gaming can impact your phone’s temperature, where it is situated and how high your camera settings are can also play a part.
Don’t Forget Viruses
Malware on your Android device may well be a problem that causes excessive heat. After all, the developers of the malware aren’t exactly interested in the health of your device; they just want your data.
Our look at smartphone malware is a good starting place for dealing with this, though it’s unlikely to be a virus if you’ve never checked the “Allow installation of apps from unknown sources” button in the settings.
Is Your Case Suffocating Your Phone?
But following up on that is the issue of the case, a common factor that many smartphone owners overlook.
Almost every case is constructed from plastic or has a large amount of plastic, and even those that are made with leather have the same problem: the phone is insulated, keeping heat in and cold out.
But for safety reasons, as the phone gets warm (particularly during high performance tasks), it needs to radiate the heat away, and the presence of a case made from an insulated material prevents this.
It’s like exercising in a duffle coat.
Your options here aren’t great, however. Removing your phone from the case is a good start, but if you’re uncomfortable with this (perhaps looking after it to maintain its resell value), then it is not a viable long term option. With regards to the example I made above, using a standard smartphone tripod with the phone out of its case would have been preferable.
Could another factor be involved?
Check Your Battery and Charger Cable
Another thing to consider is the state of your battery and the charger cable. If you have an older phone that has been regularly overcharged (you should never charge to 100%, for instance, and regularly charge to 80-90% to increase battery life), then smartphone overheating can occur. Our tips on improving smartphone battery life should help here.
However, you should also check the quality of your charger cable. Phones should not get hot when charging (certainly not hot enough to cause problems), and when this occurs, the reason can be either a damaged battery (and swapping these out on modern phones is a problem) or a poor quality charging cable.
An easy way to deal with this would be to replace the cable.
Could it Be Wi-Fi After All?
Well, no. But it could be that your smartphone is overheating due to the way in which Wi-Fi is being overused. Android users in particular are susceptible to apps running in the background and drawing on resources, such as CPU and Wi-Fi or mobile Internet. If apps are allowed to run in this way, things can heat up.
One way to put an end to this is with Greenify, a free Play Store app that enables you to identify resource leechers and put the misbehaving apps into hibernation.
While this puts background functionality out of service, you can be confident that it will also mean reduced resource use, which can help to keep your smartphone from overheating.
How Do You Prevent Smartphone Overheating?
Have you been hit by your smartphone getting too hot and slowing, or worse, shutting down? Have any of the suggestions here helped?
We’re aware that this is a tricky issue with a myriad of causes and solutions. If you have been affected by this and found out what the problem was, share it in the comments.