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My iPhone 4s with iOS 5.1 started to present overheating very often: 2-4 times a day and this happened while the outside temperature is only around 18-20C and the phone was not under heavy use, in fact in half of the cases it wasn't even used.

How can I debug these?

Going with the phone to Apple store would be the next step, but I don't want to loose precious time. I could bet that this will not happen while a "genius" is playing with the phone. Also, I'm sure they will ask me to wipe the device, something I don't want to do (did it too many times and takes a lot of time to sync ~50gb of data).

Note: Rebooting does not solve the problem!

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Have you noticed shortened battery life? I can't imagine any way that a phone would create that much heat without burning the battery up really fast. – bassplayer7 Mar 20 '12 at 22:10
up vote 1 down vote accepted

There are only three reasons your phone might be overheating when it's not due to the environment:

  1. Hardware problem
  2. iOS problem
  3. Program running requires a lot of resources

1 and 2 really require a device wipe in order to test for, since you're trying to avoid that, the only thing you can debug is 3. The easiest way to debug that is to reset your device (power off completely, then reboot) every morning after charging, then go about your day and make note of what apps you use, and whether your phone overheats or not. Rebooting it will make sure few to no apps are running.

If the overheating problem goes away then it's most likely a particular app that's causing the problem, though finding it is going to be difficult since it's one you don't use daily.

If the problem still happens occasionally, keep track of what apps you had run prior to it overheating, and see if there's a correlation, then try going a few days without using the app that shows up most often, and then try a few days using it every morning. That should give you solid evidence about whether the app is the culprit or not.

If there's no correlation between any particular app usage and overheating, then you're pretty much going to have to wipe it. Perform a backup, and take it to the store. Since you have to do a wipe anyway, you might as well do it once and get a replacement while you're at it. Apple takes overheating concerns very seriously and they should replace it without difficulty if it's under warranty.

If it's not under warranty, then it's worth wiping it yourself, updating the OS, loading just those apps you really need, and seeing if it still overheats. If the problem goes away, then restore the backup and see if it returns. If it doesn't return after the backup, then it was likely a corrupt iOS issue. If it does return after the backup, there's some app that's causing the problem. If the problem didn't go away after wiping and reinstalling the OS, then it's a hardware problem, and you should have it repaired or replaced.

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I would advise phoning Apple first. you will be able to speak with someone regarding the overheating error you are having.

They will more than likely tell you why, and failing that recommend that you go to an Apple store. They will look at the device and run diagnostics.

If you report an issue with a product at the store and the issue cannot be replicated they will usually replace the device with a refurb model on the spot. I have had this happen twice (the swap, not the overheating) once with an iPad and the other an iPhone 3GS, both were replaced.

Yes the sad thing is that they will need to wipe all the data if they cannot fix it after diagnostics. You will hopefully have a backup on your computer, or if you used iCloud a back-up in the cloud, which you can start to download instantly at the store.

Hope it works out for you

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Chris Breen describes his process for Troubleshooting a battery-sucking iPhone 4S.

By using System Activity Monitor, a low-cost app, he discovered a problem with iCloud contact syncing that was causing dataaccessd (a process) to continuously crash. His fix was to wipe the phone and do a fresh (not restored) installation, then reinstall his data and apps.

image of System Activity Monitor app Processes screen

I used the same process to solve my own iPhone 4 overheating issue when iOS 5 was first released. Fortunately, iCloud makes it relatively painless process to migrate data to a new phone.

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I do not think this overheating issue is specific to any cell phone model. I have it with my Samsung Galaxy S3 and have come to conclude that it is a MS Exchange Active Sync issue. This is my second phone already in one month. I turned off all applications, Wi-Fi and GPS when not needed, and use only button push-activated sync. Nevertheless, I have an exchange account that keeps syncing every five seconds... until phone is hot and battery low. Activity log also shows that MS Exchange uses >80% data. I stopped using this application and will report later if this "fixes" the problem....

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I noticed my 4S running iOS 6 started overheating and losing power the last few days.

I suspect it is a hardware issue resulting from the camera since when I use the camera, it starts to heat up. When I turn it off and shut down the phone it is better but still losing power; in 3 hours it went from 100% to 10% battery life.

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Hmm - pegging this all on the camera seems a bit much. Do you have some more details on how this will help others troubleshoot their power issues? – bmike Oct 15 '12 at 17:13

As I bicycle rider in south Florida overheating has become a huge probelm on the i-phone. The phone gets extremely hot when set in the holder on my handlebars. Like in several other discussions I brought the phone in to be checked. The phone is fine according to Apple. After viewing a number of discussions I see it's more of a common problem than I thought. After alot of frustration and lose of data I've figured out the remedy!! It's not technical but it works. I simply place a wash cloth over the device and jury rigged it with a small clamp. Since doing this it has not overheated once. Yesterday I was on a 4 hour ride in the sun and beside the battery problem(!) which I will describe next it never overheated.

My I-phone battery when using gps related program gets about 2 to 2 1/2 at tops. For this I have turned the screen setting brightness to half. Still another frustration. I've just purchased a extended battery back that plugs write in to the bottom for $5 on EBay. Also I purchased a portable charger from Brookstone. The latter is great except I need to dismount my bicycle and invest an hour into letting it recharge. If I take a lunch break it is super but for continueous exercise a problem. Hence, I bought the prior mentioned plug in on ebay today. Funny, other phones have both exteneded battery life and also no overheat problems. hmmmmm RichE

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How does your experience where you are using a cloth to prevent sunlight from adding thermal load to the device relate to a question where the premise is that the environment isn't adding heat to the device? (Or - I could see this answering a different question or needing editing to apply here) – bmike Sep 23 '12 at 17:52
Not related to the question. – Andrew Ferrier Sep 25 '12 at 10:23

protected by Community Jul 11 '13 at 0:56

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