Why is My iPhone Hot? Here’s Why & How to Fix a Hot iPhone

Mar 18, 2017 - 6 Comments

Hot iPhone fix

Have you ever discovered that your iPhone it warm to the touch? It’s not common, but sometimes an iPhone can even get outright hot to the touch, where the rear of the iPhone and the screen of the device is hot to touch, sometimes enough to be uncomfortable to hold and make your hands sweat.

It’s pretty annoying to have an iPhone running hot because it also almost always coincides with rapid battery drain and general performance sluggishness. We’ll walk through a few simple steps that can help to fix a hot iPhone and help it cool down and regain regular performance again.

My iPhone is hot, why?

The most common reason an iPhone feels hot to the touch is software related, this is usually because some app or process running on the iPhone is making heavy usage of the devices processor, leading to excessive energy usage and heat dissipation. The good news is that because the problem is usually software related, the fix is usually easy as well.

Of course there are other reasons an iPhone could be hot too, for example if you let it sit on top of a heater vent or in the direct sunlight on a warm day, that would cause the device to warm up as well. In those situations, just remove it from the heat source.

How to Fix an iPhone Running Hot

Here are five simple solution to fix an iPhone if it’s running too hot:

0: Wait, did you just update iOS system software?

If you just updated to a new version of iOS system software and now the iPhone is hot, the iPhone sometimes runs warm for a while as the device reindexes data on your phone. This is normal and it will sort itself out over time, typically if you leave an iPhone plugged in over night (in a well ventilated setting) the indexing will complete and the iPhone will return to normal temperature.

1: Quit Apps

Sometimes an app can be going sideways and cause the CPU to be used excessively and lead to a hot iPhone. Thus, quitting apps can sometimes fix the issue.

  1. Double-tap on the Home button to bring up the multitasking switcher
  2. Swipe up on each app to close and quit those apps

Generally if an iPhone is running hot and you aren’t sure which app is the problem, quitting all apps is reasonable. Then wait a few minutes to see if the iPhone starts to cool down.

2: Update Apps

The rogue app may be having an issue because it has a bug, if this is the case updating your apps can be helpful because the developer of the app may have issued a bug fix.

  • Open the App Store app and go to the Updates tab and choose to “Update All”

After apps have been updated, if the reason the iPhone was heating up was due to an app specific bug that was remedied, it should be resolved with an update.

3: Update iOS

More rarely, sometimes the software problem relates to a bug or issue with iOS itself. If this is the case, usually updating iOS will resolve the problem. Always back up your iPhone before updating iOS system software.

  1. Back up your iPhone to iCloud or iTunes, or both
  2. Open the “Settings” app and go to “General” and then to “Software Update”
  3. Download and install any updates available

Once the update installs your iPhone will then reindex data on the device, as mentioned in step ‘0’ which ironically can make a device run warm for a while. In this situation, just wait it out, it will likely cool down when tidying and indexing has complete, sometimes it’s best to leave it plugged in overnight to finish this process.

4: Reset All iPhone Settings

It’s possible a setting somewhere in iOS is causing the device to heat up and run too hot. Thus, resetting the device settings can be helpful sometimes – this is NOT the same as resetting the device to factory state, it’s simply resetting settings and customizations to thing like screen brightness or wi-fi preferences. You should back up your iPhone before doing this just to be safe.

  1. Open the Settings app and go to “General” and then to “Reset”
  2. Choose “Reset All Settings”
  3. Confirm that you want to reset all settings on the device

When the iPhone reboots you will have no custom settings, meaning you will need to change things like bold text, screen brightness, wifi preferences, DNS, etc.

5: Backup & Restore

I know, nobody wants to do this. It’s a big pain to backup your iPhone and to restore it, but it can be a necessary troubleshooting step. In fact if you all Apple Support they will almost always make you do this before taking a device for repair. It can be effective, which is why it’s worth mentioning despite the inconvenience and time commitment.

  1. Back up the iPhone to iCloud by going to Settings > iCloud > Backup and choosing Backup Now
  2. Back up iPhone to iTunes by connecting to a computer and choosing “Backup” in the iTunes app
  3. When the backup has completed, connect the iPhone to a computer with iTunes and choose “Restore”
  4. Walk through the restore process and restore the device from a backup

The backup and restore process can take several hours if not longer (a large iPhone with heavy storage use can take many hours…. the last time I backed up and restored my iPhone it took about 6 hours for example…. it’s not fast so set the time aside for this). Be patient and only start this process if you have the time commitment.

The good news is that if backing up and restoring can be an effective troubleshooting technique and it might remedy your hot iPhone issue.

Rare: The Temperature Warning

On rare occasions, the iPhone can even outright overheat and lead to a temperature warning on the device but that is almost always due to an external heat source like being left in the sun or atop a car heating vent or a heater outlet in a house or office. When this happens it’s not subtle because iPhone displays a temperature warning when the device is overheating and the phone becomes unusable until it cools down, if that happens you need to rapidly remove it from the heat source and let it cool down (placing such an overheated iPhone in front of a fan in the shade usually works well).

iPhone is still hot, now what?

If the iPhone is still hot after doing all of the above steps, including leaving it plugged in overnight in a ventilated spot, then you might have a more rare issue with the battery or hardware. This is quite unusual but it does happen sometimes, and typically if that is the case you would need to have the iPhone service by Apple through an official support channel or an authorized repair center.

Did the above tricks work to fix your hot iPhone? Do you have any other tips to resolve a warm iPhone issue? Let us know in the comments!

Enjoy this tip? Subscribe to the OSXDaily newsletter to get more of our great Apple tips, tricks, and important news delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address below:

Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

6 Comments

» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Ogles of Kansas says:

    I’ve had this happen a few times. The first time it was messages app showing a million gifs and making the phone hot until I got rid of them. The second time was after installing iOS 10 which definitely runs slower. Hope iOS 11 is better but haha!

  2. Dave Bartram says:

    I have recently had this problem with an iPhone 6s Plus using T-Mobile. I tried all five steps and more including backup and restore. The last thing I did was a erase all content and settings without restoring a backup, but just enabling my iCloud account (Apple ID). So far it is OK, so eventually I will start adding back the apps.

    Using an app called Status by Techet (https://techet.net/sysstat), I determined that with no running apps the CPU usage was around 50% (normal less than 10%) and Wi-Fi usage was constant with both download and upload peaks over 40 kB (normal zero with intermittent peaks). Another interesting symptom was that there was constant activity showing in the Phone App, and I could not view and thus not listen to voice mail.

    All this went away when Airplane mode was on. So I think the excessive CPU usage and thus heat and battery drain was related to abnormal Wi-Fi usage, but I don’t understand why. Incidentally, if I turned off Wi-Fi, the same effects would occur, but with excessive cell activity.

    As I said, it seems to be fixed with the clean install, but I would love to know what caused it and why if anyone has any ideas.

  3. User says:

    The Restore function used to be faster before Apple prioritized app downloads from the cloud over local iTunes app libraries.

    I can see, and dread the day when Apple forces users to rely exclusively on the cloud for iOS app management.

    Want on an older version of an app? One that has been pulled from the store, either by the developer or Apple?

    Sorry…you’re out of luck. At last with an iTunes app library, I still have a copy that’s safe and sound.

    Media (music and movies/TV) from online stores has already gained such ethereal quality. Even when you “buy” something, it doesn’t mean that the publisher can’t pull it and deny you access. Disney loves to do this kind of thing.

  4. Ted says:

    Completely backing up and restoring to iCloud will never clear a fault. It will simply back it up and restore it to the exact same condition as before.

    • Dave Bartram says:

      So it seems.

      • Califlorida says:

        When you restore an iOS device it restores a clean version of iOS system software in the process, along with your data if you restore from a backup you made. This is why Apple makes you restore a device before they will take in an iPhone for repair, restoring iOS can sometimes fix things.

        It’s the same reason sometimes you reinstall macOS or Windows and that can fix mysterious issues sometimes.

Leave a Reply

 

Shop for Apple & Mac Deals on Amazon.com

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates