I am using my iPhone as a modem, transfrerring a lot of data(4G) over long periods of time (awesome provider plan with lots of internet), connecting it to my laptop with the usb cable. I searched the web but i could not find a straight answer to the following question:

Am I damaginging the batter in any way by doing this? If I am, would it be less damaging to use WiFi?

I need do do this for a while, but I'm not sure if I can keep this up or if it would be better to get a separate device for internet connection (currently I'm putting my phone's SIM card into an old phone to be able to take calls and putting the internet's SIM card into iPhone)

I'll be grateful for answers and links that explain the matter if you have any.

  • What part of apple.com/batteries/maximizing-performance do you think your use case runs into danger of damage? – bmike Feb 10 '16 at 20:27
  • Heat Heat Heat. It seems the iPhone is heating up a bit, maybe to 40-50 Celsius (104 - 122 Fahrenheit). Except for the heat matter the site gives tips on how to keep the iphone on low power drain, which is not a problem here (it's connected to power anyway) Thanks for your answer. Turnip – Turnip Feb 10 '16 at 20:34
  • The hardware will shut itself off when temperature limits are passed - 95° F (35° C) being ambient damage zone... – bmike Feb 10 '16 at 20:34
  • It feels warm when I touch it, and this makes me believe the temperature passes that point (talking about iphone 5s now) – Turnip Feb 10 '16 at 20:35
  • I wouldn't be hugely concerned about a warm phone, sometimes an iPhone can get hot just from playing video games. But if you're concerned, you can buy an unlocked Nokia Windows GoPhone or something for like $40 and put your SIM in to broadcast WiFi to your computer. And then you have a decent backup smartphone too! – kal-al Feb 10 '16 at 21:32

So - looking over http://www.apple.com/batteries/maximizing-performance/ you should see that charging warms the device and your measured temperatures risk the device shutting itself off and permanent damage to the battery.

Yes, the battery is replaceable, but there's risk and cost there. I would tether over bluetooth or WiFi and disconnect the USB so that the unit doesn't have added heat load from the charging circuitry and chemistry (lithium batteries give off heat when charging) to keep the operating temperature of the iPhone to a level that's within Apple's recommendations.

Removing case or other external cooling might help a bit - but you can weigh the cost of an eventual battery replacement with the cost of a different tethering option and make your best choice.

  • I actually didn't find this site for some reason. Is there a way I can give you credit for the answer here? – Turnip Feb 10 '16 at 20:48

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