Why Does My iPhone Get Hot? My Battery Drains Too! The Fix.

One of the most common problems I used to see as an Apple technician was iPhones that were overheating. Sometimes an iPhone felt just a little warmer than it should, and other times the back of the iPhone was so hot it felt like it might burn your hand. Either way, if you’ve got a hot iPhone, iPod, or iPad, it means there’s something wrong. Let me guess:

Your iPhone’s Battery Is Draining Too? You Don’t Say!

If you’re looking for the best ways to improve your iPhone battery life, check out my most popular article, “Why Does My iPhone Battery Die So Fast”, for tips that have already helped millions of people. In this article, I’ll explain why your iPhone is getting so hot and show you exactly how to fix it. If you don’t care about why your iPhone gets hot and want to skip right to the fix, that’s OK too.

If you’d rather watch than read, skip down to our YouTube video about why iPhones get hot that walks you through the troubleshooting process, step-by-step.

Why Is My iPhone Overheating?

As you’re aware, your iPhone is a tiny little computer you carry around with you everywhere you go. It even has almost all of the same components as your computer – they’re just really, really small. You may also have noticed that unlike your computer, your iPhone doesn’t have have a fan, or any moving parts for that matter.

That’s not a problem until something goes wrong and your iPhone starts overheating. If you were to open up a desktop computer (preferably someone else’s), you would see a bunch of fans, but only one component would have a giant heat-sink and a fan plopped on top of it: the CPU. The part of your computer that heats up the fastest is the CPU, and the same goes for your iPhone.

Your iPhone is overheating because its CPU is revved up to 100%, all the time!

Here’s what I mean: The CPU of your computer or phone is a tremendously powerful chip, and it’s a lot like the engine of your car. When does your car use the most gas? When it’s accelerating. When you step on the gas, your car revs up until you achieve a cruising speed and let off the pedal. It takes a lot more work for a car to accelerate than it does to cruise.

How often do you put the “pedal to the metal” when you’re behind the wheel? I never do. Why? Car engines are very powerful, capable of accelerating very quickly. What would happen if you held the pedal to the metal for hours and hours, pushing the engine as hard as it can go? The engine would overheat and use a lot of gas. That’s exactly what’s happening to your iPhone.

Your iPhone’s CPU is so powerful that it rarely uses 5% of its capacity. If you’re reading this page using Safari on your iPhone, your iPhone should be nice and cool: You’re coasting. When you open an app like Safari, just like accelerating from a stop, your iPhone uses more CPU to get things going but very little once the app is loaded.

Your iPhone is overheating because the CPU is revved up to 100% even when the screen is off and it’s in your pocket.

In 99% of cases, when your iPhone is hot, you have a software problem. That being said, if you dropped your phone in a bucket of water and then it started overheating, you may have a hardware problem. If your iPhone is dry, keep reading:

Unlike your car which has just one driver that controls the engine, the iPhone has a lot of “drivers”, or apps, each of which run simultaneously and have their own “accelerator pedals” capable of revving the CPU all the way up to 100%. One of your apps has gone rogue and it’s holding the pedal to the metal. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find out which app is misbehaving and put a stop to it.

You’re the detective, and I know you can handle the job. I’m going to tell you exactly how to determine which app is causing your iPhone to overheat and how to put a stop to it. We’ll start with the simplest solutions first, and if the problem persists, I’ll show you how to hit the hot iPhone problem with the “big hammer” so we know it’s fixed for good.

How To Diagnose And Fix An iPhone That Gets Hot

1. Close Out Your Apps

First things first: We need to lighten the workload on your iPhone as much as possible, so let’s close out your apps. Double-click the Home Button (the circular button below your iPhone’s display), and swipe each app (except this one, if you’re reading on your iPhone) off the top of the screen. When you’re done, tap on Safari and come right back to this article.

swipe apps up and off screen to close them

2. Look For Crashing Apps: Part 1

How many apps have been crashing on your iPhone?

Ask yourself, “When did my iPhone first begin to overheat? Was it right after I installed a certain app?” If so, that particular app may be the offender. Need a hint? Head to Settings -> Privacy -> Analytics -> Analytics Data for a list of everything that’s been crashing on your iPhone.

check analytics data for crashing app

It’s normal to see a few entries in this list because log files end up here too, but if you see the same app listed over and over again, you’ve got a problem with that app. Note: If the problem has been going on for a while and you don’t know which app started the problem, that’s OK too — just skip down to the next step.

Not All iPhone Apps Are Created Equal

With over 1 million apps in the App Store, you can be sure there are a few that have a bug or two. If you can, try downloading a different app that does essentially the same thing. For instance, if you downloaded “Bird Sounds Pro”, try “Songbird” or “Squawky”.

If you can’t afford to try a different app, try deleting it and reinstalling it from the App Store. To delete an app, press and hold on the app icon until it starts to wiggle and tap the black x that appears. Then head to the App Store and download it again.

delete pokemon go app on iphone

3. Look For Crashing Apps: Part 2

If your iPhone’s CPU is the engine, its battery is the gas. If an app is using a lot of battery life, it’s taxing your iPhone’s CPU. If an app you don’t frequently use is using a disproportionately high amount of battery, it could be crashing in the background of your iPhone.

Go to Settings -> Battery and look at the list of apps in the Battery Usage section to see which apps are using the most battery life and identify apps that could be causing your iPhone to get hot.

check battery life for apps causing iPhone to get hot

4. Turn Your iPhone Off And Back On

It’s a simple fix, but turning your iPhone off and back on can fix minor issues that accumulate with time. If one of those software issues was causing your iPhone to get hot, problem solved.

To turn your iPhone off, press and hold the power button until “slide to power off” appears on the screen, and then use your finger to swipe the power icon across the screen.

It’s normal for your iPhone to take 20 or 30 seconds to turn all the way off. To turn your iPhone back on, press and hold the power button until the Apple logo appears on the screen, and then let go.

5. Make Sure Your Apps Are Up To Date

App developers (the preferred term for computer programmers who make iPhone apps) don’t always release updates to add new features — a lot of the time, software updates are designed to fix bugs. As we’ve discussed, software bugs can cause your iPhone to overheat, so it’s important to make sure your apps are up to date.

To check for app updates, open the App Store and tap Updates at the bottom of the screen. If one or more of  your apps can be updated, you’ll have the option to update your apps either one at a time or all at once. It won’t save you a lot of time, but I recommend tapping Update All if the option is available.

update all apps in iphone app store

6. Update Your iPhone’s Software

Next question: “Are there any software updates available for my iPhone?” Apple periodically releases software updates that address issues that arise, some of which can cause certain apps to misbehave and your iPhone to get hot. To check, head to Settings -> General -> Software Update.

software update download and install

If an update is available, try installing it — it might fix your problem. Note: If your iPhone says the update cannot be installed because there isn’t enough storage space, you can plug your iPhone into a computer with iTunes and use the computer to update your software. In other words, if you use a computer to upgrade your iPhone software, you won’t have to delete anything to free up space on your phone.

7. Reset All Settings

If you’ve tried the steps above and the your iPhone’s still getting hot, Reset All Settings by heading to Settings -> General -> Reset All Settings.

reset an iPhone all settings

Tapping ‘Reset All Settings’ clears out Wi-Fi passwords (so make sure you know yours before you do it), resets your wallpaper, and restores other settings to their defaults within the Settings app. It doesn’t delete any of the data on your iPhone. I’ve seen it fix problems with misbehaving apps.

8. The Big Hammer: DFU Restore Your iPhone

If you’ve done all the steps above and your iPhone still gets hot, it’s time to hit the problem with the big hammer. You’ve got a deeper software problem that needs to be eradicated. We’re going to backup your iPhone to iCloud, restore your phone using iTunes, and restore using your iCloud backup.

You could also use iTunes to backup and restore your phone, but I’ve seen better results “in the field” using iCloud. Apple’s support article shows how to set up and restore from an iCloud backup in 3 steps. If you (like so many others) have run out of backup space on iCloud, I’ve written another article that explains how to fix iCloud backup so you never run out of space again.

Next, use iTunes to restore your iPhone to factory settings. After it’s done and your iPhone says Hello on the  screen, detach your iPhone from the computer (yes, this is absolutely OK to do) and follow the steps in the Apple support article to restore your phone from your iCloud backup.

9. Repair Your iPhone

If you’ve DFU restored your iPhone and it’s still getting hot, a hardware problem could be to blame, especially if one of the internal components has been exposed to water. To be clear, 99% of overheated iPhones have a software problem, so be absolutely sure you’ve tried all of the previous steps before deciding to get your iPhone repaired.

If you do need to have your hot iPhone repaired, Apple is a great option if you’re under warranty — just make sure you make an appointment at the Genius Bar before you head into the store. If you’re not under warranty, we recommend Puls, an affordable, in-person iPhone repair service that meets you at a location of your choice to repair your iPhone in as little as 60 minutes.

If You’d Rather Watch Than Read…

We’ve just released a YouTube video that explains why iPhones get hot and how to fix the problem for good. We’ve put a lot of time into it, and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Ahhhh… I Feel Better Already!

By this point, your iPhone has been through the wringer and in 95% of cases, your iPhone is overheating no longer. It’s back to its old self again, relieved that its engine doesn’t have to keep running at 100%. To learn how to get even more battery life out of your iPhone, check out my article about why iPhone batteries drain so quickly. 

I wish you all the best and I look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to post any questions and I’ll do my best to help out along the way.

Best wishes,
David P.

About Author

I'm a former Apple employee and the founder of Payette Forward, and I'm here to help you with your iPhone.

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Janice
3 months ago

you did not mention what to do with crashing app part 1 “that t’s normal to see a few entries in this list because log files end up here too, but if you see the same app listed over and over again, you’ve got a problem with that app. Note: If the problem has been going on for a while and you don’t know which app started the problem, that’s OK too — just skip down to the next step.”

Miriam
3 months ago

Thank you so much for this clear, helpful, and educational article! I thought it was just the heat wave, but something above worked, and my phone has never been happier. Thank you!

Devika
3 months ago

This article is amazing! I tried all the steps, and I think it’s 7 that worked (I was a bit frantic and did everything so not sure which one was actually the remedy!) I honestly got so worried that I might need a new battery or a new phone, and with the lockdown right now, I was even more worried about not being able to get a slot at the Apple Store. Thank you so much for this!

Jeff Mayo
1 year ago

This is old but My bro gave me his old 5s with that problem he tried all of what they say here and no difference … I opened & looked ok started changing 1st the battery no diff then the charge port no diff a few more weeks the the home button stopped working changed it & that was it probably shorting something it is been more than 3 days and still charge left

Megan Bates
1 year ago

My phone has already cooled down and I feel less like Tim Apple (heehee) is watching me. thank you!

Anderson Bradley
1 year ago

This post saved my phone. Excellent. Two apps, Mail (iPhone mail) and Accuweather were running all the time and overheating my phone. Mail had been crashing, and thats when the start of the problem began. Cheers.

Michelle Bradfield
1 year ago

my battery drains fast when I am at work is that because it logs into my work wifi does it connect to what I am doing on the computer at all? i.e links to what apps etc I use at work

Celeste Biggs
2 years ago

Great article! Except, how do I know what app is referenced in the analytics? I have awdd… listed MUTIPLE times as well as Jetsam event…. What apps are those analytics related to? How do I find out so I can delete and reset. I can open the analytic info but then its a mess of processor codes that mean nothing to me. I have done hard resets, stopped background refresh, changed app settings, etc. and still my phone stays warmer than it should, takes forever to charge and battery life uses up quickly, even in low-power mode. Help would be… Read more »

Zeta Blankenship
2 years ago

Thank you for being there David P. I think I fixed with your instructions, did all except #8 “the hammer” Your Awesome!

Kay Calleja
2 years ago

My iPhone X battery drains fast and overheating yesterday without doing anything on it,then I googled how to fix it and saw this article and followed everything upto the turning off and back on,now its fixed and functioning well also the battery is now back to normal. Thanks to the man behind this article,this is really helpful. Godbless.

Hope Johnston
2 years ago

i’m still having problems

Nicki Anne
2 years ago

This article was a lifesaver (actually, phonesaver)!!!!!! Thank you, thank you for posting it.

Jonatan Furuseth
2 years ago

Thanks, I felt my iPhone cool down as I was reading this article!

Ofuben
2 years ago

I’m trying this out right away

Rg Hill
2 years ago

I hope it all works

Sue Carter
2 years ago

Overheating has only happened once, the other day. The battery drained and so did all my data usage. I found your article so useful and interesting. My search didnt highlight what had caused my issue but its never happened before but if it happens again, I will know where to look. Thank you so much.

Linda Lowen
2 years ago

David, I crown thee Lord of the Internet. Your carefully-detailed instructions saved my sanity and my wallet. My iPhone was working fine until this morning when it felt very, very hot, and went to sleep again and again after only 2 minutes of use. There was nothing I could do to stop it. I shut it down, cleared out the most recent apps installed, checked battery usage, nothing.worked. I found Payetteforward.com and methodically went through each step in your article. Finally #7 worked. In my head I was frantically blocking out time in my busy schedule tomorrow to visit the… Read more »

Karla Edith
2 years ago

Hello! I just bought the iPhone 7 Plus a week ago. I checked the battery section and then I noticed that Usage and Stanby are the same and the YouTube app (I dont really use it a lot) Is taking 40% of battery. What do I do? Should I Delete the app?