back to article Owners say iPhone 3GS is a scorcher

Owners of Apple’s latest iPhone, the 3GS, have begun letting off steam online with claims that the smartphone gets hot enough to cause itself and its owners physical harm. iphone_3gs_burn This 3GS' owner claimed his super-hot phone caused burn marks on the back 3GS owners from around the globe have posted pictures and …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No problems with mine...

    No problems at all with my iPhone 3GS, nice and fast and no noticeable heat from it at all during use or charging.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Extar Feature

    Nice lil hand warmer for those cold days out...

  3. Simon Elliott 1

    He ran the iPhone under his pillow

    and was surprised it got hot. He probably complains about electrocution using his laptop under water.

    "Just put the device back in the box and move away sir" There should be a minimum intelligence level for buying technology.

  4. Ray0x6

    Putting a computer under a pillow

    Very stupid.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    A marriage of convenience......

    Let Apple do the software, Nokia do the hardware .Result...... a perfect phone.

  6. Wolf Clostermann

    Ze heat, ze heat

    Was playing with a friend's 3G S at the weekend, and even just browsing the net using Safari made the device noticably warm. The pink rubber case it was enclosed in probably wasn't helping.

    However, I'm not exactly surprised that when kept between pillow and sheets and slept on, that it would get hot enough to burn. How is the heat supposed to dissipate?

  7. Annihilator

    Too hot to handle?

    Surely not as hot as the money that was previously burning a hole in the owner's pocket?

  8. Chris Wood
    Jobs Halo

    No problems here either

    I can't say I've noticed my 3GS 16GB getting particularly hot, but I've not used it for more than an hour continuously.

    It would be interested to know whether the users that have complained have been keeping their phone in any kind of case since that's not going to help heat dissipation (neither is smothering it with a pillow to be honest).

  9. SuperTim

    Warm? Yes. Hot? No.

    it does get warm with extended use, but not anywhere approaching hot. I suspect this idiot left his on top of a toaster oven. Much like my mate did with his apple newton (which turned into a blob of unrecognisable goo, but still worked!).

  10. Efros

    Use it enough

    iPhone = iToaster

    bring on those crumpets!

  11. Daniel Bennett

    iPod Touch 2G

    my iPod Touch 2G takes about 10 seconds to get quite hot as soon as you start a game.

    Its always to the left of the dock connector too!

    Also does it when charging... and the USB connector has started to get hot too now.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hidden App

    Maybe it's a new app called the Hand Warmer app. After all, there is an app for just about anything!

  13. fifi


    it does get hot, but no hotter than my 2G got.

    I did notice, tho, that my 2G got hotter after it was upgraded to OS3.

    That being said, neither were so hot to become uncomfortable.

    [flames: for the obvious reason]

  14. Christian Briddon
    Thumb Up

    Warm rather than hot.

    Mine gets a little warm but nothing to worry about and certainly nowhere near hot enough to burn skin

  15. Ylydxi Reclo

    If someone puts the brick under his pillow...

    well what does he expect? That the heat will just beam itself to Arcturus? Or that the iphone suddenly works 100% energy efficient?

  16. Anonymous Coward

    n problm with min3 eithr

    I'm N0t exp3ricing anY pr0blem-s witH m-y 3gggS at all all all all all

  17. mittfh

    But how hot?

    I'm slightly surprised no-one's taped a thermistor to the back yet...

    Flames = hot, so therefore using that icon :)

  18. Chris Haynes

    Come on...

    This is clearly a result of this week's heatwave, and absolutely nothing to do with Apple's tech overheating.

    Oooh, new icons. The choices! The choices!

  19. Alex 5

    pffft MTFU frilly knickers!

    you should try using my mac book pro for more than five minutes without the palm of your groin beginning to singe!

    its a feature not a bug!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This word "hot"

    My girlfriend's always complaining about her laptop and power supplies getting dangerously hot. Whenever I check them they just seem warm. For some reason, for a certain size of device, some people seem to think that a bit of warmth implies it's going to burst into flames.

  21. Rosco

    "Burned decently"

    Presumably if he'd had it in his hip pocket he'd have been burned indecently ...

  22. Jolyon
    Paris Hilton

    So iPhone under pillow is obviously stupid?

    What about iPhone in pocket, how different is that?


    Paris because of the obvious potential for 'hot in bed' japery.

  23. Mark 9

    They got burnt

    the day they let hype determine their product choices...

  24. teaboy


    my iphone 3g 32gb was replaced on monday last week with a battery fault, got very hot and drained flat very fast

    first one back in the bristol shop apparently

  25. Anonymous Coward

    @ Simon Elliott 1

    Look, if it's a problem under a pillow, then it's a problem in the inside pocket of a cosy winter jacket. People WILL put these things in cozy places, and should consequently be designed with low heat dissipation (which also has the added bonus of longer battery life). If it was a laptop, then fine, don't wrap it in a duvet. This thing should be DESIGNED to be in a cozy pocket while performing its normal functions. However, let's take a closer look at it...

    Now how much power does it kick out? Back of the envelope calculation: if it's using a 1219mAh battery at 3.7V (, that's a total of 4500mWh of energy available. So, he was playing music, which Apple claims it can do for 30 hours with a full battery ( This gives a mean consumption (and therefore dissipation) of a piddling 150mW. Not enough to get very toasty at all.

    Now, the iPhone 3GS weighs 135g ( So, if we assume that its specific heat capacity is comparable to that of steel (although that's possibly a weak link in my chain), i.e. 0.460J/g/K, we can calculate the maximum temperature rise from a full discharge, assuming NO heat is lost at all (e.g. in the case of being neatly insulated by a pillow). The heat capacity of the whole phone is approx 62 J/K. 4500mWh is equal to 16200 Joules (4.5J/s * 60 * 60), leading to a maximum temperature rise of 16200 / 62 = 261 Kelvin.

    Even starting from room temperature, 281 degrees Celsius is pretty hot for anyone's money. Now it's probably unlikely to have absolutely zero heat loss under a pillow, especially over 30 hours of play, so it breaks down at this point. However, I conclude that it's theoretically possible for the iPhone 3GS to get hot enough to burn you severely. But probably only if it was made from highly polished steel and kept in a vacuum.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's wrong with putting it under your pillow?

    Those blaming the user for putting the phone under his pillow are totally missing the point. Of course being under a pillow isn't the greatest for keeping devices cool.

    But why should you have to worry about heat dissipation when all you want to do is play some music? Do you think he would've had to worry about heat if he'd put a Walkman, portable CD player, or almost any other MP3 player under his pillow?

  27. Elmer Phud

    App Problem?

    Does this heating begin during the use of the 'Onan' app? The one where you rub it back and forward to make it moan and groan?

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Right, that's it...

    Them: "I can't believe my beloved, holier-than-thou iFoney got so hot."

    Me: "What do you expect, you pack it inside a cheap and nasty PVC cover and an entire bed and THEN lie on it whilst it's running an application, of course it's going to get hot."

    Them: "Yeh but it's just a phone, y'know what I mean?"

    Me: "If it's "just a phone" why the **** did you spend, and are still spending, so much money on it?"

    Them: "Yeh but...because...well...but...but"

    Me: *SLAP* "Twit"

  29. Chris Pearson

    phones get warm?

    I don't think any phone I have ever owned has gotten so much as warm? OK laptops get nicely toasty when being battered but never had it happen to a phone? Or am I just using it properly t really warm it up?

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Fanbois galore

    It's funny to notice,

    The mere mention that something is wrong with the iPhone gets all of the fanbois who have parted their hard earned cash complaining on how idiotic the user is and how godlike the iPhone is. lol.

  31. Richard 20

    Lawyers, start your engines

    My Nokia N95 used to get extremely hot when several services were working simultaneously. It's not a big deal. Sounds to me as if some people out there are looking to manipulate a lawsuit (class action or otherwise) out of the slow release of a little thermal energy.

  32. Seanie Ryan

    hot hot hot

    Firstly, i am an iphone owner, 3g.

    No phone should get that hot from just being left under the pillow. Phone would be on standby so whats causing the heat. No mention in the article that he had left it playing music and even at that, there is no way it should get that hot. No matter what way you look at it.

    its a flaw, simple.

    That said, its probably not a flaw in Every iPhone, most likely confined to a limited number.

    Also, has anybody noticed the volume of the speaker drop dramatically after upgrading to 3.0? Mine has gone down a good bit and yes, i have checked everything. Even uploaded a new plist file to increase it but didnt make much difference.

  33. Dave 129

    @Christopher P. Martin

    Holy cow! And for a Monday morning, you sir, deserve a holiday and beer! Feel free to take the rest of the day off :)

    (P.S. I'm in Canada, only just lunch here)

  34. Anonymous Coward


    If the screen and case didn't get hot, the components inside would get even hotter and fail.

    As if they didn't test it ? Of course they did, Apple will know all about it.

    There is a solution, reduce the clock speed. Simple for those who regard it as a real problem.

  35. Drew 8
    Paris Hilton

    A new market for stylish copper heatsinks!

    Could be profitable, for the first-mover any way.

    Paris because she knows the copper's so well... or at least they know her.

  36. Inachu

    My original series iphone gets hot still.

    When it gets too hot then it crashes even durring talkign on the phone.

    What I learned from this is that I must have car windows rolled up and the phone must be clipped onto one of the air vents then within under a minute the iphone will be cool enough to reboot and will work normally.

  37. Steve X
    Jobs Horns

    any moment now

    someone's going to eBay their iPhone with a claim that the burn marks are a likeness of Jesus...

  38. Michael C

    Mine's fine

    Well, lets put this in perspective.

    Yesterday i set the 3GS in my dashboard dock, hooked it up to the charging cable and my stereo.

    I set the music playing at max volume output, turned on maps, queued my location with the compas on, and drove 3 hours with the screen turned on. When i arrived, considdering the phone was not only under heavy loads, but also in direct sunlight on a black dashboard, and it's the black model 3GS, it was only comfortably warm when i arrived at my destination.

    The trip back I did the same thing, but with the screen off. It seemed a bit cooler the second time, but not much.

    I had a nearly 2 hour conversation with a friend last night, the phone in my pocket the whole time. No issues. Slightly warm, but it did not keep getting warmer after the first 10 minutes.

    A 3 hour heavy load in direct, hot SC, sunlight (it was 102 degrees this weekend), and it was simply "noticably" warm. It did not feel hot, nor did i feel there was an issue. I turned off the screen, got the music running again though headphones, and thought nothing more of it.

    Placing it under a pillow, or in an insulated winter coat pocket, that's a recipie for disaster. The device might make it a few hours without causing an issue, but extended use, say all night, and you're lucky it wouldn't explode. The heat has to go somewhere... My wife's camera phone gets hotter than the 3G S did when she leaves it playing music in her purse (it's not nice enough to auto stop when you unplug the headphones, and she often kills the battery that way).

  39. Patrick 14

    Its the OS 3.0

    I was using my iphone 3g every night to goto sleep with on the os 2.2.1 and all is well. and under my pillow.

    First time I used it with OS 3.0 full charged and the charger was removed on the way to the bedroom and only on no more than 5 hours 30 mins as i went at 11:30pm and up at 5:30am I woke up and it was very very hot and the battery was total flat. and this was fully bedtime

    Never had this problem at all with os 2.2.1

    Also my iphone does not like my password, i have to sync it every time to get it to take my aol password which i have used with my iphone since getting it and has been my account details since i had the ipod touch 2nd gen, and all apple put in an email was the link for the forgotten password site. and this is on OS 3.0 again

    Its sent to Apple's/O2 repair place and if its no better it will be cancel contract time...

    Fire icon as that was how hot it was after 5 hours

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well duh ...

    Put a piece of compact electronic equipment under a pillow so all the heat is kept in, and then switch it on so that it starts to generate heat, and it gets hot.

    Find me some electronic kit hat says 'safe to use when insulted under a pillow' and the whiner may have a point.

  41. Lou 2
    Thumb Down

    Cheap plastic covers

    Why did Apple move away from the iPhone 1's nice metal back cover - cost? That is an excellent heat sink and it DOES NOT CRACK when you drop it - as happens with nice slippery shape stuff. Maybe its some marketing droids idea to sell some extra covers to keep the revenue stream going...

  42. Wrenchy

    The New iPhone from Apple.

    It just works... Until it melts.

  43. Mister Cheese

    @Michael C

    "I had a nearly 2 hour conversation with a friend last night, the phone in my pocket the whole time. No issues."

    ...other than a slightly microwaved pair?

  44. Anonymous Coward

    Faulty Batteries

    A number of Overheating issues are caused by the battery/electronics inside the IP3GS. With the Number of units being Mass produced this is to be expected.

    Faulty lithium-based batteries pose a serious Fire risk in many products!

    Cant wait for Fuel cells take off in the consumer market !

  45. Annihilator

    @Seanie Ryan

    "No phone should get that hot from just being left under the pillow. Phone would be on standby so whats causing the heat. No mention in the article that he had left it playing music and even at that, there is no way it should get that hot."

    Erm, from the article:

    "Another iPhone 3GS owner told PC World that he fell asleep with the phone under his pillow while playing music through the headphones"

  46. Tsui

    I begin to see something similar on the Black iPhone 3G S models...

    I read this article and I looked at the back. It looks normal under regular light, but under the sunlight, even for a few seconds, I started to see a major "color differentiation" from there. This could be the equivalent of the pink-red color. From experiences, the iPhone 3G S gets warmer faster while the original that I had used previously took at least 20 minutes to actually heat up, faster with Wi-Fi.

  47. Nexox Enigma

    Really, you're blaming the user?

    As others have mentioned, I can put any mp3 player or phone I've ever owned under a pillow and everything except my most recent phone wouldn't even be warm. My current phone does the 3G nonsense, which apparently means that it gets hotter and uses more battery while making the same phone calls. I've spent a lot of time out of 3G coverage, and it runs remarkably cooler and longer.

    In any case, no pocketable device should become hot enough to burn you, or even make you uncomfortably warm, while it's being used reasonably.

  48. PhazzedOut

    Blame the pillow!

    Lol i don't know if you people do not notice but most people have a weird idea that they should keep their phones in their pockets! I mean idk what is wrong with these people but if your pants does not let the heat dissipate then what will be next. It's not Apple hardware that is the problem, it's people not willing to change!

  49. Trevor 3
    Thumb Up

    @Christopher Martin

    "However, I conclude that it's theoretically possible for the iPhone 3GS to get hot enough to burn you severely. But probably only if it was made from highly polished steel and kept in a vacuum."

    I love mathematicians.

    "assuming elephants are perfect spheres with a diameter of 3 meters"

  50. Patrick 14

    Hot stuff

    My iPhone was in airplane mode and was playing music on shuffle repeat all.

    while under pillow.

    So no gsm radio running as i have 3g turned off.

    wif or bluetooth not on.

    Yet very hot to touch and flat battery on OS 3.0

    On OS 2.2.1 no problem with heat and even when one time i did leave phone turned on it was still playing music when i woke up and not hot.

    Also I di dfind on OS 2.2.1 that sometimes If i got a call the screen would not come on and it was out in the open...

  51. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    @ App problem

    "Does this heating begin during the use of the 'Onan' app? The one where you rub it back and forward to make it moan and groan?"

    I would have thought it would be doing this with Grinder :-)

    [disclaimer: I'm not into that "market" but heard Stephen Fry mention the app when on Top Gear :-)]

  52. Chris Richardson
    Thumb Up

    Same with my Girlfriend!

    "This word "hot"

    By Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 29th June 2009 15:16 GMT

    My girlfriend's always complaining about her laptop and power supplies getting dangerously hot. Whenever I check them they just seem warm. For some reason, for a certain size of device, some people seem to think that a bit of warmth implies it's going to burst into flames."


  53. Georgees

    My 1st gen iPhone...

    Gets so hot after about 20 minutes of talk time. So much so that I just put it on speakerphone and use that from then on.

    Shit sucks.

    I'm upgrading to the new 3Gs when o2 get some damn stock back in.

    Hopefully mine wont be one of the toasty ones.

  54. Adam T

    No so hot.

    Gets no hotter than the previous models.

    I'd prefer to have the metal case of the 1st Gen anyway. Makes it much easier to hold (and less likely to crack if you drop the damn thing.

  55. Patrick 14

    the word "hot"

    To me this is when my iPhone was that hot i could not keep it touching my arm due to the amount of heat it was giving off.

    I have had a replacement as the one i had would not take my password unless i kept syncing with itunes. then would only last for so long.

    What is strange it only came with OS 2.2.1 installed and not OS 3.0 and starts with the 5 on the serial number...

  56. Law

    Aircon - it's the future!

    My 3G was icy cold yesterday after navigating in maps and streaming music over bluetooth for hours on end in the hot sun.... but that might just be because it's mounted on the vent and the aircon was on full blast. ;)

    There is obviously a fault in the phones that heat up to the point of burning though, if nothing else I would have thought the phone would switch itself off if it had detected it's heat was above a certain level, the laptops do it, so the phones should - plus a phone doesn't heat up THAT much just using the ipod function, there's a dedicated chip for audio decoding isn't there? Even if there isn't, it takes next to nothing these days to decode music... so either he was running another application that was hammering the processor none stop, or the phone is faulty... I'd go with faulty though since some others are reporting the same thing.

    This is really a symptom of a bigger problem at Apple though - Apple stays silent while users are forced to complain amongst themselves and to papers until they come out with a fix or even acknowledge the issue - which is wrong - if they only replied with a "we have reports of some users having issues with overheating phones, we are in the process of investigating and will get back to you as soon as possible" message people would be a little more forgiving, even if it's a manufacturing fault (which happens to everybody!)..... instead the silence just breeds conspiracy and guesswork which is one of Apple's most annoying features.

    Makes me wonder though - I wonder if I could release an iBurn app that just heats the phone up to the point of damaging itself or the user... could sell well if you advertise it as a ticket in on settlement apple will give people if people start taking apple to court! - sell it for 99p, cheaper than doing the lottery, with better odds! :)

  57. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Under pillow? Fine

    OK, running a *phone* under a pillow *SHOULD* be fine.

    A) Phones shouldn't run that hot.

    B) MP3 playback is not CPU intensive, so even if it ran hot under full load it STILL shouldn't be running hot under that use scenario.

    OS3 making old IPhones run hotter? Probably it bumped up the clock speed. Apple's done this before, they will increase clock speed with an IPhone OS upgrade; people think there was some great efficiency gain in the OS while it's actually the processor running a 100mhz or so faster. Then if they get too many complaints they clock it down a bit in the next release.

  58. Anonymous Coward

    Nawwww, it's not so hot

    The one I borrowed for a bit got warm. Then again so have all my various generations of iPods, and most any other device of that size - like my antique-but-quite-usable-thank-you-very-much Nokia 63xx cellphone if in use for a while.

    Seems to be a non-issue to me.

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