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How to Keep Your Phone From Getting Too Hot During Software Updates

The very updates meant to improve your phone can sometimes cause temporary overheating. Here's what to do if that happens.

Sareena Dayaram Senior Editor
Sareena is a senior editor for CNET covering the mobile beat including device reviews. She is a seasoned multimedia journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience producing stories for television and digital publications across Asia's financial capitals including Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. Prior to CNET, Sareena worked at CNN as a news writer and Reuters as a producer.
Expertise Huawei | Oppo | Smartphones | Smartwatches Credentials
  • More than a decade of journalism experience
Sareena Dayaram
3 min read
iPhone 15 Pro Max
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Software updates are like health check-ups for your phone. They're a necessary and vital part of your phone's upkeep, often bringing bug fixes, security enhancements and new features that can keep your phone feeling fresh and new. 

But sometimes, those updates can cause your phone to temporarily feel too warm. One recent example of this happened last year, when Apple faced widespread complaints of overheating with the iPhone 15 lineup, specifically the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Some people posted on X, formerly Twitter, that their iPhones were too hot to hold comfortably in their hands, while others posted pictures showing thermometers with temperatures topping 80 degrees Fahrenheit (29.2 degrees Celsius). Apple later confirmed the issue was partly due to a bug in iOS 17, which Apple had rolled out to iPhone for the first time earlier that month.

Android phones have faced similar issues as well. In 2023, some Pixel owners reported on Reddit that their devices became excessively hot and drained battery quickly. A change in the Google app caused the issue, Google said in response to the complaints.

While a certain degree of warmth may be considered normal while installing updates, it's worth knowing what to do in case your phone begins to get hotter than it should.  

How to prevent overheating during updates

  1. Give your phone breathing room: Your phone's internals crave fresh air. Make sure it resides in a cool and well-ventilated space. If your device is crammed into a tight spot or lacks proper airflow while updating, the heat generated by its components can get trapped. Feel free to remove the phone's case if it feels warm. Also, steer clear of leaving it in direct sunlight during software updates (or in general) and avoid the hot confines of a car. Oh, and don't stack objects on top of it while it's updating.

  2. Stay updated: Regularly update your phone's operating system and apps. These updates often include bug fixes, which may address any overheating issues.

  3. Restart your phone: Sometimes, a simple restart can work wonders. It might resolve minor software glitches that may cause overheating.

  4. Close apps: Fully close apps when not using them. The more apps running simultaneously (especially in the background), the harder your phone works, resulting in increased heat.

  5. Avoid demanding apps: During updates, refrain from using resource-intensive apps or playing games with intricate graphics. Let your phone focus on the update process without the additional workload. 

Why does my phone get hot during software updates?

Your phone is basically getting a digital makeover when you initiate a software update. If there's a bug in the operating system for instance, the update aims to fix it. During this bug-squashing mission, the processor works harder to make the necessary changes, which may result in temporary warmth. Apart from that, your phone is also busy dealing with other activities such as installing new features and optimizing performance, and that extra workload can cause your phone to generate some extra heat. Remember that occasional warmth during updates is normal, but persistent overheating should be addressed promptly to maintain optimal performance and device health.

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