There are many things that can cause your phone to overheat. It’s possible – but unlikely – that the cell phone case is the problem. And even if it is, there’s a quick fix: just remove the case until the phone cools off, then slip it back on.
So what else can cause your phone to overheat, and what should you do about it? Computers have fans to keep them cool. Servers have climate controlled rooms where they can bask in cool air indefinitely. Cell phones don’t have either. They can shut themselves down if they get too hot, but who wants a phone that suddenly stops working – and that could physically harm you. We offer several pieces of advice on preventing and dealing with overheating below.
Why do cell phones overheat?
Exposing your cell phone to an outside heat source is the most common cause of overheating. Leaving your phone sitting directly in the sun, inside a hot car or under a lamp that produces a lot of heat can cause the phone to feel hot to the touch. Make sure you store your cell phone in a place where it will not be exposed to lots of heat. If it does get hot, you can hold it up in front of a cooling source like an air conditioner. (You should not, however, put your phone in the refrigerator or freezer. This can cause more damage.)
A faulty battery or battery charging cable can cause your phone to overheat. If you find your phone is overheating a lot, check to see where it feels hot. If it’s directly on top of the battery, try getting a new battery. If the hot spot is where you plug the phone into the charger, purchase a new charger. If the phone feels hot on the part at the top where you place your ear, the problem is likely with the phone.
Leaving your cell phone or smartphone charged in all the time can not only cause it to overheat, it can slowly kill your battery. This article from Popular Mechanics says scientists have found “a lithium‑ion battery [like those used in cell phones] stored at 40 percent charge and 104 degrees Fahrenheit – a realistic temperature for common cell phone use – will lose 15 percent of its capacity over the course of a year. That number jumps to 35 percent if the battery is stored at full charge, as in the case of a laptop that’s left plugged in all day.” Another easy fix: don’t leave your cell phone plugged in all the time.
Using your phone intensely – for example, watching movies or videos for a long period of time – draws a lot of power from the battery. That can make the phone get overly warm, especially if you’re holding it in your hot hand. Use a case with a kickstand or another type of holder to prop the phone up and allow air to flow around it. If that doesn’t help, stop using your phone for a while and see if it cools down.
Even if you aren’t pushing your phone to work really hard, it might be doing it anyway. Having a lot of apps that run in the background can cause your phone to overheat. So can turning up the brightness of your screen so you can see it outside on a sunny day.
To prevent these problems, it is recommended to uninstall any apps you don’t use, or adjusting them so they don’t run in the background; buying a screen protector rather than turning up the brightness of the screen; and putting the phone on airplane mode at night or when you only want to use it to listen to music.
Storing your phone in your pocket and up against the warmth of your body can also cause it to overheat. You might find it makes more sense to carry your phone in a holder, belt clip, smartphone wallet or similar device.
Can my cell phone case cause my phone to overheat?
The vast majority of cell phone cases are made of or lined with plastic. There are many good reasons to make cell phone cases from plastic. It does a great job of cushioning your phone if it gets dropped or slammed against a hard surface. It is affordable and attractive. It comes in a variety of colors, unlike wood or metal, and it is easy to apply interesting designs to the surface.
The problem with plastic cell phone cases is that they are not breathable. If your phone does get too hot, the plastic can trap the heat rather than allowing it to escape. The result? Once the phone gets hot, it stays hot.
Again, it’s okay to remove your smartphone or cell phone from its case if it gets hot from time to time. However, removing the cell phone case too often can damage the case. If your phone continues to heat up, and removing the case is the only solution, you might want to look for a different case or leave the case off altogether.
It’s also important to note that if your cell phone case contains a battery pack, it can also overheat or cause your phone to overheat. These cases are great because they provide your phone with extra life if the battery gets low, which is especially important for people on the go. However, you may find it simply isn’t possible to use one with your phone without one or both overheating. Consider carrying an extra charger in your briefcase, purse or car so you always have a way to charge your phone in case of emergencies.