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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Lesley
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Lesley

when i look at my crashed apps, the one that shows up over and over says “awdd-2014-11-date and a bunch of numbers…” how do I know what app this is related to? at the bottom of one within the coding i saw it mentioned fitbit so i deleted and reloaded the app, but no help with the battery life, it even seems worse! any ideas?

(i have an iphone 4s)

AYESHA
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AYESHA

Hello david my i phone dont get too much hot but sometimes it doesnt connect with wifi and i put it in refrigrator and it work then.
how can i fix it permanantly.

joanne harrelson
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joanne harrelson

Why is my iphone 4 not staying charged long and it is getting hot to the touch

Stephanie Rose Anderson
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Stephanie Rose Anderson

What if it’s the music app that is crashing?

Ravinder Singh
Guest

I have read your article but could not locate the Diagnostics & Usage section under About or for that matter anywhere in the settings. I am frustrated with the heating problem and battery drain and was in fact reading your post about icloud and how to sync contacts as I am contemplating moving to Andriod. Apple has recently replaced my complete handset but the new handset is also having the same problem.

David Payette
Guest

Dear Ravinder, I apologize for the confusion about where to find Diagnostics & Usage in Settings. Apple moved it when they released iOS 8, and I forgot to update this article with the new location. You can find Diagnostics & Usage now in Settings -> Privacy – it’s all the way at the bottom. It sounds like you’ve been having a rough time with your iPhone, and I’m sorry to hear that too! At the very least, I hope my articles can help to steer you in the right direction when it comes to solving your iPhone problems. Thank you… Read more »

My Iphone Got Wet | iPhone More
Guest

[…] Why Does My iPhone Get Hot ? My Battery Drains Too! … – A former Apple tech answers, “Why’s My iPhone Hot?” and explains why your battery drains, too! Let’s fix the problem that causes your iPhone to get so hot!… […]

Scott
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Scott

I have similar issues, phone gets hot when charging sometimes or when running applications, but the one that really puzzles me and makes me wonder if i have a hardware issue is i can close all apps, completely power down my phone at 100% battery life, and in the morning boot it up and it only has 40% or so battery life left….what can possibly be running when the phone is off?

Rohan Jadhav
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Rohan Jadhav

after seeing diagnostics and usage i found that my comm center and locationd is crashing??
how to fix that coz my phone is cool on airplane and too hot on network mode. And can i restore it from back from my computer??

Rohan Jadhav
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Rohan Jadhav

Restore iPhone worked for me 🙂 thanx for the help @payetteforward:disqus

mona arthur
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mona arthur

I followed your instructions right down to The Big Hammer, even restoring through iCloud. But there’s been zero change and my phone still gets very very hot within minutes.

Why Does My iPhone Battery Die So Fast? iOS 8 & iPhone 6!
Guest

[…] Why Does My iPhone Get Hot? My Battery Drains Too! The Fix. – May 31, 2014 […]

helpmyiphone
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helpmyiphone

A year or so ago i got my iPhone 5S wet (fell in a lake). I took it to a repair shop where they replaced the battery and, I think, the charging port. It has worked great ever since. Recently I dropped it and shattered the screen. I took it in to have the screen replaced and now the battery drains so fast you can almost watch the percentage drop. I took it back and they told me it was related to the liquid damage from over a year ago, even though it worked fine until they replaced the screen.… Read more »

Countessa
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Countessa

Your advice is awesome!
Question please: how do I clear the Diagnostic & Usage Data log?
Thanks

PlanetERF
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PlanetERF

I only recently started using the built-in weather app as the one I normally use wasn’t providing a very accurate forecast. Closing out my apps has definitely helped, as has turning off some of the location services on things I don’t use. Today the phone isn’t getting hot & the battery hasn’t drained overnight. Thanks again – really helpful.

PlanetERF
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PlanetERF

Really helpful blog – you sorted one problem for me even if it wasn’t the one I was trying to sort at the time! My WiFi had vanished. After reading this I plucked up courage to reset all settings & I am pleased to say this has sorted the WiFi problem. Thank you! However, I have looked at Diagnostics & Usage as my iPhone is getting very hot & the battery is going down fast (been great up till this last week or so). Looked at the data for what has crashed & found it to be the Weather App.… Read more »

Why Does My iPhone Battery Die So Fast? The iPhone Battery Fix!
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[…] Why Does My iPhone Get Hot? My Battery Drains Too! Here’s The Fix. – May 31, 2014 […]

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