Do you often find your mobile phone becoming uncomfortably hot while you’re using it? While it’s normal for some heat to be generated, especially during heavy use, excessive heat can be a symptom of internal damage or malware.
Read on to know more about what leads to your mobile phone overheating, and what you can do about it…
Excessive Use Can Cause Your Mobile Phone To Heat Up
You can’t beat the laws of physics! Intensive or non-stop usage of your phone consumes a lot of energy. Some of this energy is dissipated as heat. And that’s why demanding apps, such as games, can often result in a toasty warm phone.
Other common causes of overheating include using the phone camera for long periods, using the phone on full brightness, or playing graphically intensive games.
In a nutshell, anything that consumes a lot of processing power is likely to lead to your mobile phone heating up. But it’s not just demanding apps that are to be blamed. Sometimes, sub-optimal settings also lead to excessive heat generation.
We’ve mentioned the screen brightness – that’s one of the biggest culprits when it comes to settings that cause your phone to heat up. Apart from this, leaving the Wi-Fi on even when you aren’t connected to a network can cause heat to build up too.
Malware and software issues are a common cause
Unfortunately, malware and buggy software is often the primary cause of Android mobile phones heating up. One ‘new’ wave of malware that’s recently been in the news is one that doesn’t really steal information. Rather, it steals resources, such as your processor and your battery life!
We’re talking about hidden Bitcoin (or other crypto-currency) mining apps that use up a lot of processor time to mine crypto-currency. Android mobile phones are more susceptible to malware, but it’s advisable to stay safe even if you have an iOS device. Either way, only install apps from the official app stores!
But even normally ‘harmless’ software can cause overheating problems if it’s buggy.
Sometimes a bug can result in the app stuck in a loop that takes up processor resources, while some bugs may result in excessive memory consumption, which again leads to more heat generation – you’ll find that your phone gets hot and the battery also gets drained at the same time.
A faulty battery, cable, or charger is dangerous
This is actually more dangerous than you’d think. Damaged / grey market cables, chargers, or batteries can heat up beyond being just ‘uncomfortably warm’ to a level that’s dangerous. Some cables are unable to carry the current modern phones consume while quick charging, others have been discovered to have incorrect wiring. Even chargers aren’t all built with the same level of quality.
Meanwhile, damage can leave batteries unable to withstand the stresses of charging or even moderate usage, which is why we often hear of people whose phones ‘exploded’ after heating up while charging. Stay safe by only using original or approved third-party accessories.
We’d also recommend that you do not charge your mobile phone while asleep as you may not be able to detect serious overheating issues.
Blocked ventilation and phone cases sometimes cause over heating
Mobile phones are built to withstand the rigors of daily life. But something as minor as dust or lint build up in the speaker grilles or even the charging ports can block ventilation and result in overheating.
This is not really an issue for most new phones (high-end cooling systems have become very common) but for older models, it may be a factor.
This is more likely when ambient temperatures are high, such as on summer days, or if your mobile phone has been kept on your car’s dashboard.
We’d advise you not to keep your phone under direct sunlight as not only does it create a greater build-up of heat, but direct heat can cause damage to the phone’s body and display too.
Another cause of overheating mobile phones are phone cases. These may protect your phone from falls, but they also act like an insulator.
Many phones use the back of the device to channel heat away from the internal components. By placing a thick case over the phone, you’re preventing this heat from being dissipated into the air.
Avoid excessively bulky phone cases, as there’s usually not much to be gained over slimmer variants. Sure, you do get that extra bit of protection, but remember that excessive heat may shorten the life of the delicate components inside your phone.
Internal damage could also be the cause of your mobile phone heating up
As we mentioned, damaged batteries are a big culprit when it comes to overheating phones. Other types of internal damage – even age-related damage – can also cause this. For example, the heat sink paste used to attach minute heat sinks on the processor may start falling off, reducing the effectiveness of the heat sink by not allowing it to transfer excessive heat away from the processor.
Some phones come with advanced cooling mechanisms. These could be damaged if you accidentally drop your mobile phone – you can’t see the damage, but you might find that your mobile is heating up more than usual.
Impact damage can often loosen components, too, and result in short circuits, some of which may allow your phone to run, but at the cost of buggy hardware and excessive heating.
Older hardware tends to run hot
Older hardware, especially processors, and the radio parts used for mobile data and Wi-Fi, are less efficient than the latest generation. As technology improves, chips become faster, but they also become more efficient. Older chips will waste a lot more energy as heat.
But you could always take precautions – changing settings (turning off unneeded features such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, or reducing the display timeout) and adjusting your usage patterns (take breaks when playing the latest, most demanding games) should help you cope with this.
How do you cool down your phone?
Here are some quick solutions for any overheating issues you are facing on your mobile phone…
1. Take frequent breaks when playing games. This will allow your phone to cool down
2. Turn off Wi-Fi or mobile data in areas with no signal. Heat buildup will be greater if your mobile phone is constantly seeking for a signal to connect to
3. Only install apps from well-regarded developers, and that too, only from the official play /app stores. This should keep you safe from malware
4. Update your apps at regular intervals as new releases may fix older bugs that cause excessive battery drain and heating
5. Never use a phone with a damaged battery. Get the battery replaced from an authorised service center and avoid using grey market cables or chargers
6. Avoid leaving your phone in your car. If you must do so, leave it inside the glovebox, away from direct sunlight
7. Keep your mobile phone clean. Wipe off any dust and ensure that charging ports and speaker grilles are free of dust and lint
8. Avoid extremely bulky cases. You don’t gain much in the way of protection and these act like insulators by not letting the phone dissipate heat