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Phone overheating? Here's how to keep your smartphone cool on a hot day

Chill out

That's gonna get hot
That's gonna get hot
(Image: © Future)

Phone overheating is a problem plenty of people get on hot summer days (or hot days of any season - thanks, global warming) and it can be a challenge if you want to take pictures, check directions, or call people on your smartphone when you're out and about.

You don't have to grin and bear it, though, as there are ways to keep your smartphone cool - or just stop it getting too hot - without just turning it off and forgetting about it for a while. And no, we don't mean dunking it in water - that will probably end up being a bad idea.

So to help you survive the hot summer seasons without losing your trusted handset, here's some advice on how to stop your phone overheating and keep it cool in toasty weather.

1. Keep it out of the heat

On a hot day you'll want to hide in the shade to avoid the heat - your phone wants exactly the same. Try your best to avoid leaving it in direct sunlight, as the sun's glare can get it to warm up super fast.

So if you're at home, don't put it by a window; likewise if you're at a picnic, just tuck it under your blanket out of the light. 

Similarly, don't leave your smartphone in a car, or greenhouse, or conservatory, or anywhere else that would naturally get hot on a sunny day - that would cook your smartphone as quickly as it would cook you.

By doing this, you'll stop the device from heating up rapidly. 

iPhone 11 cases

(Image credit: Future)

2. Remove the case

If you've got a case on your phone, it's going to keep it toasty and snug in winter months - and also roasted in hot months. Take off that case!

A case can act as insulation, so if your phone is getting warm, the case will keep that heat in - you need to take it off so the heat can dissipate as quickly as possible.

Sure, if you've got a good case that's useful beyond protecting your phone, like one with your credit cards in or one with an external battery pack, you might want to keep it on for that purpose. But if you're just relaxing at home, or having a picnic in the park, it wouldn't hurt to slip off the case for a few minutes.

3. Tweak the phone's settings

The devil's in the details, so if you want to keep your phone cool there are some useful settings you can change to make sure it doesn't heat up too much.

Firstly, turn your screen brightness as low as you can - this might make the display harder to see, but it will use up less battery, causing the device to heat up less. If your phone has adaptive brightness, this might automatically turn the brightness to max if you're outside, so consider turning this off.

Secondly, turn off data if you're not using it, and perhaps put your device into airplane mode if you don't need to talk to people for a bit. Like screen brightness, turning off these features can save battery, which is pretty closely linked to phone temperature.

Some phones, particularly gaming phones, have overclocked modes that boost the phone's performance while draining power more quickly. Naturally, this has got to go too. If you don't know if your phone has such a mode or not it probably doesn't, as gaming modes are mainly only on certain niche handsets.

Maybe no gaming for a while

Maybe no gaming for a while (Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

4. Don't push your phone to its limits

Whether or not the weather is hot, there are things you can do to heat up your phone - playing intense games, editing video or photos, or plugging it in to charge at a high speed can warm up the phone.

If the heat of the day is getting your phone hot anyway, you'd be wise to avoid doing the kind of activities that naturally warm it up - two sources of heat at once could cause it to warm up super fast.

So if you can, avoid gaming for a bit, charge it at a lower speed, and save editing your pictures until you're in a nice cool area. Your phone will thank you.

iPhone 11 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

5. Don't leave the phone in your pocket

Your pockets can be quite hot places for a phone - they often press your tech right up against your skin, lapping up all your body heat.

Take your phone out of any tight trouser or shirt pocket, where this is worst - we'd suggest coat or jacket pockets might be better, but on a hot day you're unlikely to be wearing one. 

If you're out and about, perhaps carrying your phone in a bag is best, because that's at least further from you. And if you're sitting still somewhere, maybe take your device out of your pocket and leave it somewhere you can see it.

6. Don't try and force a cool-down

More often than not, tricks for getting your phone to cool down could actually end up damaging the thing more than helping it.

Firstly, we wouldn't recommend submerging your phone in water or even under a tap or stream, even if your handset has IP68 resistance - you could drop it since it's slippery, or leave it submerged too long, or have even confused its IP rating in the first place. On top of that, these methods don't always have much effect.

Don't leave your phone in a fridge or freezer either - rapid cooling of smartphones can cause condensation to get stuck inside the device, damaging it and potentially voiding your warranty.

A cooler for your phone

A cooler for your phone (Image credit: Future)

7. Buy a phone cooler

Phone coolers are peripherals - mainly designed for mobile gamers, and predominantly using heat sink technology - that can keep your handset ice cold when it would normally be warm.

You can buy one on Amazon for fairly cheap, and it should last you a long time, so it could be a good investment if phone overheating is a common problem for you.

You can find phone coolers on Amazon in the US, the UK and Australia by clicking those regions. We haven't tested all the listed phone coolers (and they change frequently) so we can't attest to the quality of all those listed. But we've used enough to know they can be pretty useful.

8. Stick it under a fan

If you don't think a phone cooler is for you, then maybe go a little more low-tech - just turn on your personal fan, and put your smartphone in a location where it'll get blown.

This should cool down your phone at a slow enough rate that you won't damage it, while also mitigating some of the heat it might accrue from the warmth of the day and its normal processes.

This will work best if you combine it with some of the other pieces of advice - and if you make sure you're in the fan's path as well - and could keep your smartphone from overheating.