Overheated iPhone 15 Pros: Apple says software fixes are coming

People look at the new iPhone 15 Pro as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China at an Apple store in Shanghai, China. File picture: Reuters/Aly Song

People look at the new iPhone 15 Pro as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China at an Apple store in Shanghai, China. File picture: Reuters/Aly Song

Published Oct 1, 2023


Apple's iPhone 15 Pro is the hot new thing - but not in a good way.

Shortly after the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max were released on September 22, users across the world began reporting that the devices could become uncomfortably warm during use. Now, the Cupertino, Calif., company has finally acknowledged the issue and singled out the reasons that can cause an iPhone to "run warmer-than-expected."

"The device may feel warmer during the first few days after setting up or restoring the device because of increased background activity," the company said in a statement Saturday. "We have also found a bug in iOS 17 that is impacting some users and will be addressed in a software update. Another issue involves some recent updates to third-party apps that are causing them to overload the system."

Apple said some of the apps that can lead to iPhones running unexpectedly warm include Instagram, Uber, and the popular mobile racing game Asphalt 9.

But in some cases, users who felt their iPhones getting abnormally warm didn't seem to be using those apps. One user claimed to experience this while recording 4K video clips indoors on a cool, British day. For others, even brief FaceTime calls were enough to make the iPhone 15 Pro nearly too hot to hold.

"It heats up after just a 2-minute FaceTime call," wrote tech content creator Mohit Verma on the social media site X, formerly known as Twitter. "This is a new issue for me, as I've never encountered this with any previous phone."

Robert Triggs, a senior editor for the smartphone enthusiast website Android Authority, wrote that the iPhone 15 Pro only ran marginally hotter than rival devices developed by Samsung and Google when performing mundane tasks like streaming YouTube. But when he measured the temperature of all three phones while recording 4K video and performing tests meant to approximate long-stretches of graphically intense gaming, his results showed the iPhone ran the hottest by far.

Apple acknowledged to The Post that tasks like those - which make sustained use of the iPhone's CPU and graphics processor - can make a device run warm. It remains unclear, however, if the underlying iOS bug Apple discovered exacerbates the heat in such situations.

What's also unclear is how Apple's forthcoming iOS update would address some of these issues, though the company told The Post that the updated software wouldn't cause iPhones to run slower or reduce their performance.

Apple added that the overheating issue is not a safety risk and will not affect the performance of impacted iPhone models.

Apple's updated look and feel for the iPhone 15 Pro devices has also come under additional scrutiny. Ming-Chi Kuo, a TF International Securities analyst, who examines Apple's supply chain, said the company's use of titanium and an internal redesign meant to trim weight were more likely culprits behind overheating issues, a claim that Apple denied to The Post.

If you've already purchased an iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max, and you've noticed it overheating during use, there are a few things to try that could help bring temperatures under control.

Turn on low power mode. This disables features like the iPhone 15 Pro's super smooth "ProMotion" screen, and reduces the performance of the iPhone's CPU and GPU. That could help prevent the phone from getting uncomfortably warm but it also means some of the features you may have bought a Pro iPhone for in the first place are temporarily disabled.

Disable background activity for some apps. In the Settings app, tap "General," then "Background App Refresh" - there, you'll see which apps have permission to work even when you aren't directly looking at it. Be sure to turn off ones you know you won't need and consider turning off background activity for apps like Uber and Instagram at least temporarily.

The Washington Post