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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 Bolse SZ-801 Smart NFC Bluetooth Speaker Review and Giveaway Bolse SZ-801 Smart NFC Bluetooth Speaker Review and Giveaway This budget portable speaker has sound quality and output volume that will quite literally blow you away. Read More 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 Sony Xperia Z5 Review & Giveaway Sony Xperia Z5 Review & Giveaway You're looking for a new phone. Something reasonably powerful, big screen, great sound. A handset to blow your iPhone loving friends out of the water. The Sony Xperia Z5 might just be it. Read More 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.

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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 Smartphone Viruses Are Real: How To Stay Protected Smartphone Viruses Are Real: How To Stay Protected Read More 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 Is It Safe to Install Android Apps from Unknown Sources? Is It Safe to Install Android Apps from Unknown Sources? The Google Play Store isn't your only source of apps, but is it safe to search elsewhere? Read More ” 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 5 Tech Habits You Should Cultivate If You Want to Save Money 5 Tech Habits You Should Cultivate If You Want to Save Money Cultivate these 5 habits to make sure you save money and get the gadgets and hardware you've been lusting after. Read More ), 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 How to Make Your Phone's Battery Last Longer and Hold More Juice How to Make Your Phone's Battery Last Longer and Hold More Juice Battery life is one of the biggest struggles of modern-day electronics. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops all deal with it -- so what can you do to maximize the amount of time you get per charge? Read More ), then smartphone overheating can occur. Our tips on improving smartphone battery life Keep Your Android's Battery Healthy With These Tips Keep Your Android's Battery Healthy With These Tips Software and apps can only go so far -- what about how to charge and discharge your battery? Learn all the tricks here. Read More 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.

  1. Raj
    October 9, 2016 at 2:44 am

    Hello sir, I'm raj my device Samsung Galaxy J1 in overheating problems I can not solve because it's difficult I done to formate , but it no any changes . when I on my device 1min all function running well but after 1min systems write "your device is in overheating " and then no any one function is working. I don't know the problem is in my device or in battery,
    If u can any help me pl...

  2. chakri
    September 15, 2016 at 5:03 am

    When I on data the mobile starting to blinking every wt the solution...tell me plss.

  3. David
    September 7, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    I ended up having to change batteries , but using Greenify helped afterwards

  4. Kathryn sorrells
    August 28, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    I have the galaxy note edge my phone overheats when I put it under my pillow or if my blanket is on it so I put it by the fan to cool it off.

  5. satish Mahrjan
    August 25, 2016 at 6:36 am

    i have colors e10 i overheat too fast in ordiniray work so .can u please help me??

  6. Gabrielle
    August 19, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Pokemon Go is really my issue. But I also have a Sony Xperia Z3+ so known issues with overheating. Pokemon Go really saps my resources though. Drains battery fast and heats it up super fast. So what do I do? If I want to keep the game going, I sit it on an icepack. Yep, an icepack. I do have a flexible plastic case on the phone but it got hot even without it. I also wrap a cloth around the ice pack. I can get the phone too cold, at which time the touchscreen can get wiggy. So I take it off and let it warm up again then back on the ice pack.

    I'm considering getting a Z3 (no plus) instead but will probably still need to use the ice pack when I spend a long time on Pokemon Go. Until Niantic solves that problem and lessens the resource hogging of the app, anyway.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 26, 2016 at 2:12 pm

      Yeh, that doesn't sound particularly safe! Saying goodbye to Pokemon Go seems the best option.

      • andrew
        August 30, 2016 at 12:08 pm

        it can not happen

  7. Praveen
    August 18, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    I have lava iris x1 beat which is getting too heat and battery is draining.i thought battery problem and purchased a new one but same problem.the charger where we put i mean above the phone slight downward too much heat causing...plz anyone guide me about this problem

  8. Seb
    August 14, 2016 at 1:57 am

    Simple answer is DON'T PLAY GAMES ON UR PHONE. ... nearly every phone I've had broke cause of playing games they will only reason heat any phone as there designed for mostly pads not smartphones they run at different speeds and if u r play like a fast games it will warm up fast but if u play a slower game like chess urban phone won't burn up too fast . Driving games oh big no no and most pool too play slower games like chess tic tac toe slower games will keep ur phone fresh

    • Genome
      August 25, 2016 at 8:24 am

      Car racing and final fantasy Möbius have quality graphics and "are fast" csr doesn't overheat but final fantasy Möbius does. Your theories are wrong.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 26, 2016 at 2:12 pm

      No, it's more than just games.

  9. Marie
    July 3, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I dont have anything running in my background, and as soon as I start a game, in five mins its hot. Its an android tablet, not a phone. I bought it so I could play match 3 games. Im not doing anything wrong... Its not wifi because its only just been turned on.

    I hardly have anything on it... and have no bluetooth speakers attached. Just charge it up then turn it on.... play for five mins and its red hot. Followed everyone's advice online and it hasnt helped. So gutted :(

    • Christian Cawley
      July 3, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      What tablet model are you using?

  10. nehl
    May 13, 2016 at 9:10 am

    I was having a problem in my cellphone because when i restart it the phone always shut down and I try everything to solve but it do not affect it how to fix a phone that always shuttingdown permanently

  11. Gene P.
    May 3, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    I suppose the idea of "underclocking" the phone's CPU won't work?

    Ultimately a lot of the heat is just a matter of the CPU (which is just a glorified over-organized silicon space-heater) being overworked. There really should be a way to throttle back the clock rate to reduce this... But apparently there's not.

  12. Arsham
    April 29, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Christian,
    I was having issues with the phone getting really hot. It may require the phone to be rooted to work optimally though.
    So what would you recommend to do? Regards Arsham

    • Christian Cawley
      May 2, 2016 at 8:03 am

      Do you know why, or suspect which app is causing the phone to overheat?

  13. jay
    March 1, 2016 at 12:17 am

    I've drilled holes in my plastic case to help get air to my phone to help it cool. I used to do this to the cheaper snap on cases for my iPod touch it does help.

    • Christian Cawley
      March 1, 2016 at 9:49 am

      Nice idea, Jay, thanks for sharing!

  14. Viera Mosberger-Uvacek
    February 28, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Hi Christian. You say "never charge y phone up to 100%". Pls explain, how a usual phoneowner can manage this in a practical way??? I can not walk over there every half an hour just to have a look at the percentage of battery. Charging over night, as probably the biggest part of the people are doing, brings 100% in the morning;-)
    So what would you recommend to do? Regards Viera

    • Fik of borg
      February 28, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      Most phones drop to trickle charge after reaching 100%, so this is somehow controlled. It is conceivable an app with an adjustable "drop to trickle" level, but I haven't seen one (just hundreds of "battery saving" apps that just shut down systems).

      Failing that, some external hack that turns off and back on the charger at selectable levels, controlled from the phone via wifi (or bluetooth, or even the earphone jack). Maybe one of those wifi controlled home automation AC outlets.
      I smell project.

    • Christian Cawley
      February 28, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      Hey Viera

      I think Fik makes a good point, as it is impractical often, so a project that makes use of smart plugs might be ideal.. I'm in a position where I can charge during the day, but obviously that's not the case for many. In my case, I imagine I charge overnight - and therefore to 100% - about 30% of the time.

  15. Zaphod
    February 27, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    I was having issues with the phone getting really hot and installing the app greenify took care of it. It may require the phone to be rooted to work optimally though.

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