Reports of iPhone 15 overheating issues are continuing to mount up, but existing Apple guidance could shed some light on what might be causing the issue, including some circumstances every new iPhone user can’t avoid.
Swirling reports of the issue started almost as soon as iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models began to arrive on doorsteps, with users reporting some abnormal thermal behavior on the new best iPhone. It’s been nearly a week since the launch, and these reports have persisted, even getting picked up by mainstream media, a possible sign of a more widespread issue.
Late Wednesday, Bloomberg’s top Apple insider Mark Gurman confirmed that “the gripes have spread across Apple online forums and social media networks, including Reddit and X,” with customers reporting that “the back or side of the phone becomes hot to the touch while gaming or when conducting a phone call or FaceTime video chat,” as well as possibly “while the device is plugged in to charge.”
iPhone 15 overheating, what’s really going on?
While there is almost always a yearly “controversy” surrounding the launch of a new iPhone (most years it is something like the screen scratching too easily), Gurman notes that “Apple technical support staffers have been fielding calls about the issue as well.”
When approached about the reported issues, Apple directed iMore to two of its existing support articles, including one specifically created for the new iPhone. Apple has support guidance for what to do if your iPhone or iPad gets too hot (or too cold). The very existence of such an article indicates that this is not a particularly unusual issue and one that can occur on any mobile device.
Notably, Apple’s article highlights two unavoidable scenarios iPhone 15 users might find themselves in after buying a device, setting it up for the first time, or restoring it from a backup. Both of these processes are naturally more intensive than day-to-day use, because you’re downloading a lot of data and installing a lot of apps, and so can lead to a device warming up. It’s also worth noting that users often immediately plug their devices in to charge them when they take them out of the box, which will only add to the problem.
Apple also lists wireless charging, high-quality video streaming, and graphics-intensive usage such as playing games or viewing AR apps as another cause of overheating. The latter is particularly noteworthy because the new iPhone 15 Pro sports the spicy new A17 Pro chip with an extra GPU core and some big performance improvements, so it’s possible users are pushing their phones quite hard trying to flex the new chip’s muscles. While Apple says wireless charging can cause overheating, some users, including 9to5Mac’s Ian Zelbo, have reported the issue over 30W wired charging.
For all the other issues, however, Apple says “these conditions are normal” and that your device “will return to a regular temperature when the process is complete or when you finish your activity.” Apple also says that it’s fine to keep using your device as long as it doesn’t display a temperature warning. It is worth noting, however, that some users have said their devices become difficult to hold due to the increased temperature.
The natural titanium iPhone 15 Pro gets extremely hot, so much so that it becomes difficult to hold. Furthermore, it heats up after just a 2-minute FaceTime call or when scrolling through reels for 8-10 minutes. This is a new issue for me, as I’ve never encountered this with any… pic.twitter.com/Qu0QK1xGLdSeptember 25, 2023
The second of the aforementioned support articles, pertaining to USB-C charging on the iPhone 15, guides users to charge their devices “with a USB-C cable and power adapter compliant with the USB-C standard, including USB Power Delivery,” including the one you get in the box with your iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Pro. While a key benefit of USB-C adoption is being able to use any USB-C charger that’ll fit in your phone, it’s important to use both plugs and cables from trusted manufacturers. The implication is that the wrong cable might also cause you some issues.
iPhone overheating isn’t a new issue, nor is it a problem that’s confined to Apple’s mobile devices, Max Tech’s thermal test of the iPhone 15 Pro Max vs the Galaxy S23 Ultra reveals a general parity in thermal performance. It’s also not universal among new iPhone users, I experienced some warmth during my initial setup phase, and haven’t had a peep since, nor has anyone else at iMore experienced anything else abnormal in testing.
As with most early iPhone teething issues, this one will also likely blow over in time but do take note from the support documents if you really want to be cautious.