Apple warns of summer overheating for iPhone 3G & 3GS owners

Apple has issued a warning to iPhone customers regarding iPhone 3G and 3GS devices overheating.

Sporadic reports have hit internet blogs and gadget sites this week regarding overheating issues with new iPhone 3GS models. Reports from The Telegraph suggest that dozens of users have reported overheating issues. According to some owners the device becomes so hot that it's too hot to pick up and the casing on white 3GS models has turned pink for some.

Several posts to Apple's iPhone discussion forums appear to confirm these early reports. According to PC World, one of their own writers claims "I became aware the handset had become very hot. Very, very hot -- not just on the back, but the entire length of the front face, too".

French blog Journal Du Geek posted an image of a white iPhone 3GS earlier this week showing that the back of the device had discoloured to pink due to excessive overheating.

Apple hasn't officially responded to the overheating claims but earlier this week the company posted a support article warning users if the interior temperature of the device exceeds normal operating temperatures, you may experience the following as it attempts to regulate its temperature:

  • The device stops charging
  • Display dims
  • Weak cellular signal
  • Temperature warning screen appears with the message "iPhone needs to cool down before you can use it" (see image below)

Apple claims leaving the device in a car on a hot day or using it in direct sunlight for long periods of time can cause the temperature warning. According to the company using battery heavy applications such as GPS and listening to music in direct sunlight will trigger the warning.

Thanks to member MightyJordan for the news tip

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Add a heat shield to an already hot device and you get more trapped heat. It might shield the outter skin but it will fry the internals. I know what APPLE can do!! It can stop overclocking its damn processors to the extreme.

They have over tweaked the processors and thought they would get away with it. I think that is the reason for the overheating. How would they fix the overheating? Stop tweaking the processor and cool it down a few notches. I had so many issues with my Iphone 3G that I went on 4 of them returned. I have a brand new one now unused. I should have sold it before it dropped in price.

The first 2 would drop calls, freeze and overheat. The rest would just drop calls and NO I do not lay under the sun watching videos. If I did want to lay on the beach and watch videos and talk on the phone then I SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO IT. I should not have to read some darn warning or guidelines on how to use a Portable Device.

CRAPPLE - to the person who used that word here is correct. Laptops are well designed but horrible on heat and performance.

i think some form of heat shielding might work... maybe a heat-insulated case or something, as in the case gets hot but the iphone stays as cool as it does in the shade...

Palm Pre's processor is also 600Mhz, just like iPhone 3GS, and Pre weighs the same, is smaller but just has a little more depth than the iPhone. Palm Pre does not overheat. Dell Adamo is a very thin laptop, just like Apple's and doesn't overheat, while Apple's MacBooks are famous for overheating so much you can't call them a laptop anymore, because it will burn your legs.
Get my point? Apple and its OS and engineering has historical problems with overheating. They dumped PowerPC because they overheated too much, but they continue to overheat Intel and now ARM. Is not the processor, is what they do with it that overheat, and is the overall design of the device that makes it overheat. They are focusing too much in looks and little in engineering and efficiency.

You know... maybe if a device will be exposed to these conditions (such as with a cell phone because yes, people leave them in cars on dashboards plugged in to their lighter jack), then said device should probably operate well under those conditions. How about that?

Now make cooler laptops as well (not just apple, everyone!)

wait so if apple is saying you can't use it in direct sunlight and with the GPS on AND listening to music then the TomTom mount and software are not going to do well... crap I was waiting to get that winshield mount! damn apple!

I don't know about these other guys, but I've had my 3g in 130F weather in a dry desert climate and havn't had any heat warnings whatsoever.

You'll have to add a cooler to your iPhone. The cooler will need a laptop battery pack for the dual 120mm fans. The whole thing will come in an attractive 12 pound case in a choice of fashionable colors.

How is this just hitting the news now with the 3G iPhone? I just don't understand... That's been out for quite a while now... If this were just the 3Gs I would understand...

what a great phone, lol. my htc touch pro (or any phone i previously owned) never had problems with overheating, since apple are so "good" this must be a feature

LOL... and i mean LOL, as in the good old term...

and also...facepalm:p

this is just ridiculous.

I NEVER had any problem with any WM,nokia or SE device I ever owned:p

Hell yeah to all those people stuck in a contract they want to getout of. Well here in the UK anyway. Current law states "An item must be fit for the purpose for which it is sold" If you can't use your phone in daylight it can't be classed as a mobile phone, as nowhere under dictionary definitions does state, a portable telephonic device only for use at night Go people be free, get your money back and get a good phone hahahaha!!!!

Today in the 30C+ heat I was using my TYTN II as a wifi router whilst playing music and it got warmish but nowhere near so hot you can't touch it!!!

TSO said,
wow and to think one of these devices would only set you back $700!

$700 is a couple bucks to some people.

Around many places here in México the temperatures from may to august are between 36-42 Celsius everyday. Two weeks ago it was 44 where I live lol

I guess this is a no go for people expecting to buy iPhones here.

Hopefully, they are savvy enough to read about this before buying. That is, until Apple figures something out.

Those recommendations from Apple are ridiculous, but I understand that they can't do nothing more about it right now.

Does the phone have any issues with uber-high humidity? Down here in NW Florida right now, it's been uber-humid and the highs have been in the 90-100 F range minus the heat index, upwards of 110+ with the heat index.

artfuldodga said,
according to the article iphones are prone to explosion/fire/melting in florida lol

I wonder how my cousin manages down there with hers.

i left my iphone 2G in my car with the windows up, 90F outside, and and sun was hitting it through the windows, it got so hot I couldn't even touch it. I had to hold it with my shirt infront of the ac to cool it down. I can't believe it still works, the plastic was probably on the verge of melting.

I wonder if the temperature sensor is in all iphones?

The first gen iPhone's metal back acts as a pseudo-heatsink and probably keeps the internals slightly cooler than the heat trap plastic back of the the other two iPhones

I was boating once and had a GPS app running with the phone liiying in direct sun light. It didn't give the warning but man did it get hot as crap. But any black object in direct sunlight is going to get extremely hot. Add to that a hot CPU, hot GPS, hot radio and a battery giving off heat as it drains and your going to have a problem. Any black PDA running a GPS app in direct sunlight is going to had problems. I am impressed that Apple put code in that monitors the temps and shuts down before it causes permanent damage.

0c-35c is really ridiculous , it gets well over 35c in here during summer, and a lot of places go sub zero during the winter... I never heard of such narrow temperature operating range for mobiles before.

Beastage said,
None sense! my SE has 60C operating limit for the battery.

That doesn't mean it's a good idea to use it at those extreme temps... That's just the extreme limit before failure is very likely. At lower temps the device could still fail due to heat. At about 130 degrees F your skin burns. 60C is what, like 140? You would need to stop using it long before it got to that temp regardless.

lol, yes it would. You just wouldn't be holding it when it does. haha And like I said, something would fail before that temp.

Apple gadgets overheating is far from new. Or surprising. For the next big shiny thing, Apple should simply document overheating in the user manual to avoid any lawsuits. Sort of like McDonald's having to put "Caution: Maybe be hot" on their coffee cups.

Odd. I've put two iPhones through daily use for 2 years and I have never seen this warning. I go all over the place too, because of my job. It took the SoCal, Louisiana, and Florida heat like a champ. I wonder how many people are affected by this.

Operate iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS in a place where the temperature is between 0º and 35º C (32º to 95º F). Low- or high-temperature conditions might temporarily shorten battery life or cause the device to temporarily stop working properly.

:facepalm: Who wrote this (useless) KB article? Do something about the hardware, rather then expecting people to stop using their phones because the outside temp is too hot.

Apple hasn't produced superior hardware in years. The ipod Mini was a disaster which the constant HDD failures. You would think that they would test for heat issues before releasing a product.

Leaving it in a car in sunlight I completely agree with as it could get freakin hot in there but under normal sunlight please.

gnuman said,
Leaving it in a car in sunlight I completely agree with as it could get freakin hot in there but under normal sunlight please.

I had mine give the temperature warning a couple of weeks ago, it was in the sun for about 30 mins..the temp was 30°F, which is too hot for me not alone my iPhone.

Wait...you can only use the phone in the dark with the GPS off? There is no reason the phone should be getting that hot. I am waiting for the first iphone to catch on fire in someones pocket. If it is getting that hot to turn the phone pink, then its probably close to melting it as well.

em_te said,
RTFA. It doesn't say "pink" it says "bright red" and "glowing".

French blog Journal Du Geek posted an image of a white iPhone 3GS earlier this week showing that the back of the device had discoloured to pink due to excessive overheating.

According to some owners the device becomes so hot that it's too hot to pick up and the casing on white 3GS models has turned pink for some.

^....practice what you preach and RTFA....

Apple will probably come out with some iCool device which will be touted as an 'addon' or 'advanced feature' for the iPhone lol

Atleast, if it turns pink you can give it your girl. Lol. I've never heard of a phone "overheating" in my life.

Man, I leave my N82 and Zune in my car in Texas summer heat all day - not a single issue ever.

Only time I've ever had a temperature warning with an electronic was an old Creative ZEN MicroPhoto here in Oklahoma heat.
And last Saturday I swear my Samsung phone and iPod Touch 1G were 110 degrees Fahrenheit at least while they sat under my seat in my motorcycle (turns out some of the heat from the engine goes into the storage). No warnings whatsoever.
Damn Apple, learn to spend more on building something to withstand conditions. Either that or fix your screw-ups.

darkmanx21 said,
No, just the user. Don't use the GPS and listen to music in sunlight...wtf? Night time then?

I wonder if Apple will come up with an "iFridge" to help keep iPhones cool?

Cartoondad said,
I wonder if Apple will come up with an "iFridge" to help keep iPhones cool?

You can bet on some third party working on that right now... lol

Well... You could always buy a phone from a company that knows how to engineer something a bit more robustly...

I wonder how long it'll be before one of these explodes in someone's pocket?

^ That's a bit much, but you would thinking those who live in Cupertino would make something that works well in heat. My 3G doesn't get to hot even with 3.1 installed. I suspect the 3GS will be hotter with its faster processor.

Not really harsh at all. My Windows Mobile PPC is running a Samsung S3C 6410 clocked at 533mhz, only a tiny bit slower than the iPhone. It has way more hardware in it that Apple's device, yet never gets more than warm.

Apple made the things too thin, they can't cool efficiently. so of course they're going to overheat in this weather. Hell, they even build specific "cooldown" warnings into it, clearly because they KNEW it will get hot.

FloatingFatMan said,
Hell, they even build specific "cooldown" warnings into it, clearly because they KNEW it will get hot.

You do realize that basically every OS has a warning like that build in?

.Neo said,
You do realize that basically every OS has a warning like that build in?


I've never seen windows say this out front and loud like that... heck windows systems just overheat and the processor goes into overheat move and clocks back to cool down...

reminds me of 1.1.x on ipod touch 1G that thing was good for warming hands with in winter...ashame doesn't do it as much anymore or anything at least the chrome back acted somewhat to dissipate heat and would't warp or discolour like plastic can on 3G and S

I started noticing a problem with even my 3g getting abnormally hot starting with firmware 3.0 beta 4. Up until then it rarely even got warm. They must have done something that is creating this, such as high processor usage, that wasn't an issue before.
The 3gs probably just doesn't have adequate cooling for the newer components. But like I said, even my 3g has been noticeably warmer after use for a while now.

There is a bug with Push notifications for email, I had it on my first gen - the GSM radio was on a lot you could always hear it if you were next to some speakers.

The solution is either to turn off push, or delete and recreate your email connections and it'll use the wifi instead of just defaulting to the GSM even if wifi is available.

Worked for me.