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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 Sony Xperia Z5 Review 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.

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.

muo-android-overheating-camerasettings

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.

muo-android-overheating-case

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.

muo-android-overheating-battery

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.

greenify

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.

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  1. Eman
    September 11, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    A public phone near my house always has overheating issue...please help

  2. mickie winkler
    August 19, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    My cell phone overheats--and then cuts out-- when it is in navigation mode--and giving audible instructions. When navigating, the phone is charging on a cable plugged into the cigarette lighter spot.

  3. Deborah
    July 28, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    My Smartphone is always: Overheating, Slow Performance, Shuts-Down, when Overheating, Going Into Other Websites and Windows, when I'm Trying to Click on
    Other Websites or Links.

    My Email is always exhausted, with Unwanted Mail, Junk Mail, Spam. And, Mail that is Inappropriate, Not Appealing to me.

    I Have Tried to Stop these Apps from Running in the: Background, Stubborn Apps, by: Putting them in the: Ignore List or Remove List, but, the Problem, remains Unresolved.

    I Believe, the Article, has been A Great Answer to my situation. Thank You!

  4. Pooja
    July 16, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Samsung India — samsung j7 over heated and camera lens melted

    I'm from ludhiana punjab. My samsung j7 phone's rare camera lens mirror is melted.

    How can be samsung so bad..

    Even i have a screen resolution issues.

    i bought this phone on 2016

    Now everytime whenever i tried to ON my phone . It heats like anything.

    I want refund right now .

    Will never buy samsung phones again .

    i hate this company now

    • Christian Cawley
      July 17, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      Are you using a case for your phone?

      • Charlene Jernagin
        July 22, 2017 at 1:44 pm

        Yes I have a soft plastic case

  5. Bala krishna
    June 29, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Redmi4a phone is heating with connect charger

  6. Bala krishna
    June 29, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Jai I'm balajrishna my phone is heating while connect with charger

  7. Nisha
    June 2, 2017 at 9:28 am

    My mob is huawei lua u22
    I am using the internet is WiFi...
    Its always over heat...I didn't use long time in my mob...
    I don't know that...I want to knw about the reason and solution

    • Christian Cawley
      June 4, 2017 at 6:44 pm

      Wi-Fi could be the problem there. Try disabling all connectivity and check the phone's performance/overheating after that.

  8. Tushar Naik
    May 29, 2017 at 3:22 am

    Hi,I am using lenovo a6600 plus after using it for a few minutes it heats there by making me experience of electric shocks.what may be the reason.

    • Christian Cawley
      June 4, 2017 at 6:43 pm

      I'd take it back if I were you. Clearly defective.

  9. Bhabananda Das
    May 24, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Always heating my vivo51L and switch off often and restart automatically.

  10. Bibin Benny Jacob
    May 5, 2017 at 11:57 am

    My Sony Xperia XA gets heat up while recording video songs in Smule. I'm unable to finish even a single song as the phone stops loading track within one minute and smule hangs. No any other app has issues.

    • Christian Cawley
      May 8, 2017 at 7:41 am

      Thanks for the tip, BBJ

  11. Debajit
    April 27, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Hi Christian
    I m using Lenovo k6 power.i bought it two months ago.Now I find my phone overheat when I took it on charge as well as at the time of surfing the internet and exhaust battery gradually .i don't even play any games.currently I'm using cooler master app which shows the temp grows upto 44 degree celcius.Is this normal.waiting for your suggestions....

    • Christian Cawley
      May 8, 2017 at 7:42 am

      Being hot during charging isn't unusual.

      Do you have your phone in a case?

      • Debajit
        May 8, 2017 at 8:49 am

        Yes,it overheat at the time I am using the internet and any app as well.Also it overheats when I am over a phone call.
        Regards Debajit

        • Christian Cawley
          May 8, 2017 at 9:07 am

          It might be wise to try it without the case for a few days and see how this compares.

  12. domenic balladares
    March 24, 2017 at 5:39 am

    every time i use data i think its normal to make your phone feel so hot but why it still hot even im not using data , even im playng its making hot

  13. James
    March 16, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Yes... My phone hust get slowed down occassionaly and shuts down(stops displaying). It overheats. I'm fed up of this.. Help pls.

    • Christian Cawley
      March 16, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      What model phone do you have?

      • James
        March 16, 2017 at 9:01 pm

        I use Tecno W2 with d android version 6.0. I just bought it four days ago. So it's nt aged.

        Infact it is slowing down right now as I'm typing and as hot as hell. It just shut down itself a couple of minutes ago.

        • Christian Cawley
          March 18, 2017 at 9:27 am

          Sounds like a CPU or battery issue. I'd recommend you return it.

        • James
          March 18, 2017 at 10:58 am

          I went there yesterday and they asked me todo the factory data reset. Do u think that would help Christian?

        • Christian Cawley
          March 18, 2017 at 3:38 pm

          Certainly an option -- there's a chance that an app you have installed has caused the problem. But for a new phone, it could be one of the pre-installed bloatware apps.

        • James
          March 29, 2017 at 3:43 pm

          Hi Christian! U know what i did? I didn't bother restoring d factory data settings anymore. I just unistalled DU Battery Saver and DU Speed Booster and it's settled. Although it sometimes heat sparingly, but that doesn't slow it down anymore.

        • Christian Cawley
          March 30, 2017 at 9:24 am

          Thanks for sharing James, it's a shame "helpful" apps cause so many problems...

        • James
          March 30, 2017 at 5:55 pm

          And what i use now instead is the 'Greenify' app. It works like a magic. I no more bother 'bout my battery anymore. It has even taken up the work for which I installed DU ba3 saver. It saves my ba3 real good now. It's only a good trash cleaner app that i need now.

  14. Joy
    January 4, 2017 at 12:15 am

    How can I have a new handset. No insurance on my phone.

    • Christian Cawley
      March 16, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      Get a new contract, or buy second hand!

  15. Bailey Ng
    January 1, 2017 at 2:23 am

    I have overheating problems when I charge my zte blade in the car and the charging % either not increase or take hours to increase. So I uninstalled Clean Master and all its subsidiary apps. Now I can charge my phone in the car and no more overheating issue.

    • Christian Cawley
      March 16, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      Interesting. Was it specifically charging in the car that caused the problem, or charging in general?

  16. jackson joneaszse
    December 27, 2016 at 6:11 am

    looking at porn doesn't help, some afraid to say it

  17. MOHAMMAD HAMID
    December 15, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    I was video chatting on my brand new galaxy s7 edge and it over heated so bad that I had to cancel the call. Is this normal or I should return the phone

    • Christian Cawley
      March 16, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      How long was the video call before it crashed? Were you using high brightness? Also, was your phone in a case?

  18. Abubakar Maalim
    December 12, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    It is problem of my smartphone Samsung S4 19505

  19. 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...

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

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

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

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

  22. 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.

    • Christian Cawley
      March 16, 2017 at 7:47 pm

      Not a good idea to put anything with a CPU in it under a pillow or any other insulated material!

  23. 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??

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. 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.

  27. 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?

  28. 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

  29. 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.

  30. 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?

  31. 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!

  32. 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.

  33. 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.