Some iPhone 15 early adopters are turning to social media to report overheating issues that can drive the temperature of the handset to over 100°F, making it uncomfortable to handle.
So, what’s happening?
9to5Mac’s Ian Zelbo posted on X that his iPhone 15 Pro Max became “almost too hot to touch” while fast charging.
Tech reviewer Mohit Verma posted a video on X showing his iPhone hitting 42°C (107°F) after “just a 2-minute FaceTime call or when scrolling through reels for 8-10 minutes.”
Alex Gear & Tech also posted a similar video.
Here is thermal imaging comparing the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. This suggests that the iPhone’s lack of active cooling is concentrating the heat in a specific spot.
Then there’s chip performance throttling. This test suggests that in two minutes of heavy loading, the iPhone lost 25% of its performance. This would point to a thermal management issue.
The common thread in many of these reports seems to be USB-C charging. Maybe there’s a bug here that surfaces under certain conditions or with certain charging hardware.
Another option is that the titanium chassis is more effective at dissipating the heat, and this in turn causes the handset to feel hot. But aluminum and stainless steel are also good conductors of heat, so I doubt that the material is the issue.
ZDNET has not come across this issue in our testing but there’s no doubt that these measured temperatures are abnormally high.
Also: iPhone overheating? Here are 8 potential causes and their solutions
Note that while 42°C/107°F is hot, it’s within the safe “no injury” temperature range. In fact, ASTM C1055 (the Standard Guide for Heated System Surface Conditions that Produce Contact Burn Injuries) states that the average person can touch objects up to 60°C/140°F for up to five seconds without sustaining irreversible burn injuries.
Is this a bug?
This is quite possible.
History shows that both new iPhones and new iOS releases are prone to bugs that are fixed by subsequent iOS updates.
While it’s easy to point the finger at charging (but remember, all smartphones get warmer when charging — that’s just physics), the throttling of the chip points more to a thermal management issue. Apple is either dealing with a software bug or needs to improve the way the iPhone operates when running heavy workloads.
This could also be something specific to certain handsets or a configurational issue resulting in an abnormally high level of background activity, such as machine learning or indexing.
How do I check my iPhone for overheating?
The first way is touch. Does it feel hot?
My iPhone is overheating! What should I do?
The fastest way to cool down an iPhone is to turn it off completely and let it come down to normal temperature naturally. Don’t try to speed up the process by putting the iPhone into a refrigerator or ice box as this could also damage the battery.
Also: Why iPhone 15 isn’t as repairable as Apple wants you to believe
As for your options as to how to prevent this, you could try different charging options — different hardware or using wireless charging — but if you remain concerned you should turn to Apple for support and advice.
Your next best option is to wait for Apple to acknowledge the issue and issue a patch. However, in the interim, I suggest you keep an eye on charging temperatures, and if you experience overheating, pull the plug on the charging.