As reviewers, we come across a lot of questions related to battery life of the device, but one other question that we see in recent times, is whether the smartphone heats up on normal usage. The answer has been more of “yes” than “no”, but we rarely talked of details on why that happens.
We’ve been using the IR temperature gun to let you know about the heating of the device after gaming for a considerable amount of time, and that although shows the current temperature of the device while we were gaming, but it isn’t accurate always, as that is the external temperature and we usually check that after gaming. There are several other situations where the device tends to heat up, especially in the battery area.
Heating up and device getting bursted is not uncommon now, as we see several related things happening around. But let’s dig in to check what causes this. Lithium batteries have what we call it as “thermal runaway”. It is a situation where an already heating up battery makes it worse by generating more heat. How much ever the companies try to make a device compact, maintaining all the safety for the battery, that isn’t enough to keep the opposite sides far, and the battery too doesn’t get space to properly dissipate the heat out.
It is altogether a different case if you are noticing heat while charging the phone overnight or for a long time, but if you see it getting heated for even gaming or using it with active screen for a long time, you might have to blame not just the battery but several other factors.
What is causing the phone to heat up
- Processor heat up: This was something that rarely happened in the past, but trying to ask a lot from the little motherboard makes it heat up on extreme cases. For example, not limited to, but Snapdragon 615, 801 and 810 are well known for how they get heated when someone is playing high-end games on the smartphone. And that heat is noticed more on the processor area than near the battery.
- Workload: Several apps running in the background take a toll on the device, which heats up because of the heavy workload without the user noticing it.
- Poor signals: This is stated as one of the reasons, by most of the smartphone manufacturers and that is true. Poor or unstable network keep the antennas in the device active for almost always, more than what you see when there is stable network available.
- Surrounding temperature: This is very important to know. You cannot expect the phone to get to a lower temperature than what the outside temperature is. We’re from India, and temperatures around 35° to 38° are common in several places. While the battery life is getting hit anyways, you can call it normal if the phone is operating at around 38-40° in such conditions.
- Hardware defect: This is a rare manufacturing problem, which might always give untimely heating problems, and you might notice that even from the day you started using the smartphone.
Accessories such as battery cases: There are battery cases that give additional power to the device, but most of the times, they are the reason why the device gets heated up unusually.
In most of the cases, the smartphone manufacturers try and have solutions for these situations. Either a warning message to close down the app, or disable a function that is heating up the phone, until it cools down. But, when you aren’t sure of what is causing the smartphone to heat up to a high extent, that’s when you start to wonder whether this is a normal case or something that the service centre has to take care of.
Heating of a smartphone also reduces the battery life, and drain the power quickly. Every smartphone is made to operate the best and have a perfect battery life when running in certain temperature range. For example, it is said that the Apple iPhone 6 operates the best at temperature between 0° and 35°. It is different for every device, and when you see even the surrounding temperature to be high, you cannot expect the device to do the best with temperature control.
When we do the gaming reviews and tests, that is under controlled conditions where temperatures are just around 30-degree, thus it is not usual to see the devices getting heated to over 45-degree with just about 20 minutes of gaming. When that happens, the blame cannot be put only on one aspect, but of all, the processor and GPU is one of those to hold responsible for this, what we call the poor handling of the graphics output on high-resolution displays. Trying to keep things at pace and bringing minimal lags and frame drops, the motherboard area tends to heat up.
What to do to fix the heating issue
Not everything is in the control of the user, because many a times this is beyond that. As mentioned above, the smartphones powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, each of them heated to over 45-degree and that doesn’t seem abnormal given how most of the devices got heated up. But, you may still try to check and try to reduce the heating with these ways.
- Use original chargers: The company-provided chargers for smartphones are usually the best ones to use along with the smartphone. Even if you have a universal charger that you might use for all your devices, it is better to be risk free and use the ones given in the box.
- Check for background apps and clean: If you aren’t intending to use any apps in the background, clear them regularly. These keep the device active even when the screen is turned off.
- Older phones might need a new battery: If you have a really good smartphone that hasn’t gone bad even after a year of usage, but now the battery area seems to heat up regularly, it is better to get it checked and only the battery replaced if that is the one causing the issue.
- Try not to use the phone while charging: Many of the users who play a lot of games, do the same while the phone is charging. That is actually a bad practice, as it not just heats the phone up quickly, but also hits the actual life of the battery.
- If you are using any accessories, including but not limited to battery cases, try to remove that and use the phone normally for a few days to see if the problem persists. If it stays the same, you may want to get it checked at the service centre. If it doesn’t, you know what was causing the phone to heat.
While the case of heating of Li-ion batteries is not new, but you cannot put the blame entirely on it and keep using the device with little worry. The heating of the device can become a bad condition any day, thus you always need to check for the underlying cause and rule it out, before the worst case, i.e. the blast/fire occurs.
Have you faced any bad experience with device getting heated or getting even worse than that? share them!