Why Does Your Phone Overheat While Live Streaming?


Understanding the Causes and Solutions


Live streaming is a popular feature that allows users to share live content with their followers.

However, some users may experience their phones getting hot while live streaming.

This issue is common, and it happens for several reasons.


iPhones have safety standards to shut down when the "interior temperature of your device" reaches about 45°C, well before they get dangerously hot. This may be a design decision by Apple in an attempt to preserve battery capacity and the life of internal components related to charging circuitry. Once iOS sees that the phone is critically overheated, some functionality is disabled, for example, the flash (torch) light. iOS does not re-enable functionality until the phone returns to a nominal temperature. The phone may need to be rebooted to restore all "cellular radios" functionality back to full performance after iOS enabled "cellular radios low-power state," even if the phone returns to nominal temperature.



In general, Android has a higher temperature threshold (after 50°C) than iOS has when determining if the phone is hot.

Android manufacturers, in general, may set the "critical" threshold at around 65°C.

However, Android does not let the user see the phone's "battery capacity" as a percentage in its stock system settings.

Smartphone manufacturers, in general, back their devices with limited one-year warranties.


This is because different smartphone manufacturers may set different temperature thresholds for their devices, regardless of whether they use iOS or Android.


Both iOS and Android have built-in safety mechanisms to prevent the phone from dangerously overheating.


  • Processing Power

When you live stream, your phone uses a lot of processing power to encode and send the video data to your choice streaming platform.

The heavy usage of the processor and modem can cause it to heat up. This is especially true if you use an older phone model with a less efficient processor and modem.


StreamCot offloads the graphics-intensive processing to your iPhone's GPU, which efficiently uses the hardware. However, the heavy networking task is processed by the CPU and modem.

StreamCot can utilize the following cameras of the latest iPhone model: 3 rear cameras and 1 front camera (all with autofocus)

StreamCot Color Vision and Picture in Picture utilize the iPhone's GPU for processing.

In a warm environment, we recommend using Picture in Picture for up to about 10 minutes at a time. There is no time limit.

In testing Picture in Picture for over a year, it did not overheat our phones in cool to tepid environments.


In general, for any phone, high usage of a phone modem can increase a phone's temperature more.


It can help if you offload the networking task by using the WiFi of a dedicated hotspot device available from your carrier and not using your phone modem for this heavy task. However, be mindful of any data limitations with available plans.


You could also attempt user-settable magic, band locking, 5G or 4G modes/features, bonding, etc. to maximize your connection.


However, "here be dragons." Automatic defaults are sometimes good enough. Network "bonding" adds complexity to your setup, however, it may enable your stream to have redundancy fail-over or great upload speed by aggregating networks together.


The specifics are out of the scope of any app.


  • Battery Usage

In general, live streaming uses a lot of battery power. Your phone’s battery will drain faster than usual, causing it to heat up.

This is especially true if you are using cellular data to stream and do not have a strong signal to your carrier network provider.

There is a balancing act to optimize battery charging, discharging, and heat output.


Also, if you use a new 5G dedicated hotspot device, we recommend using it with its integrated battery removed to prevent critical overheating and power/tether using USB only, if supported.

When it is critically overheating, it may display an icon and reduce or throttle features. Thankfully, in this state, it may not disconnect service. Instead, it may provide a very slow upload speed and responsiveness.



  • Ambient Temperature

The ambient environment can also cause your phone to heat up, sometimes even without any foreground app running.


If you are streaming in a hot environment, like outside on a sunny day, your phone has to work harder to keep cool.

This can cause it to heat up more quickly.


Direct sunlight is another factor that can cause your phone to overheat while live streaming. When your phone is exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period, it can heat up quickly.


This is because the sun increases the ambient temperature around your phone, making it harder for your device to dissipate heat.


Being over hot concrete and asphalt or radiating/reflective surfaces can cause your phone to overheat while live streaming.



  • Case or Cover

Using a case or cover on your phone while live streaming can also cause it to heat up.

This is because a case without ventilation can trap heat, making it harder for your phone to cool down.

This is especially true if you are using a case that is not explicitly designed for your phone model.


If you use a plastic/silicone case that lacks breathability, your phone can overheat quickly.


We recommend using a heat-dissipating case with a cooling layer specifically designed to transfer heat and be breathable. In general, these are sometimes marketed as gaming cases.


  • Background Apps

If you have several apps running in the background while live streaming, it can cause your phone to heat up. These apps are using your phone’s resources and can put extra strain on the processor, causing it to heat up.


Using a VPN app can cause extra processing and networking connectivity issues due to added complexity, and may need to be refreshed when switching between WiFi and cellular.


However, it is important to note that using a secure VPN is always the best practice and may be included with your home internet service provider's mobile app.


  • Software Updates

When your phone is updating its software, it can cause it to heat up. This is because the processor works hard to download and install the updates, generating heat.


After your phone updates its software, system indexing in the background can cause it to heat up for up to several hours or even several days to complete.


During this time, you may notice that your phone feels warm, and the battery may drain more quickly than usual.


Once indexing is complete, your phone should return to typical performance, and usually, you should no longer experience excessive heat or battery drain.


Recommendation: Always update to the latest iOS version and reboot at least weekly for security. It may be a good idea to reboot before going live streaming.

Keeping software up to date is generally advised for security, stability, and improved functionality.



Alternative: Never update your system; overall system stability might be consistent, albeit increasingly "insecure" over time. (Not recommended)

(for example, a decade(s)-old car that has not had a software update since its manufacture)



Definitely disable the "Wi-Fi Assist" setting in iOS settings -> Cellular -> scroll all the way down -> disable "Wi-Fi Assist" to prevent the phone from getting stuck in a handover loop between WiFi and cellular.




If your phone is overheating and shutting down with a warning when no apps are open, please contact manufacturer support to discuss your options.


What can you do to prevent your phone from overheating?

  • Reduce the video quality: Lowering the quality of the video can reduce the strain on the processor and can help prevent your phone from overheating. (resolution, bitrate, profile, extras)

  • Charge your phone: If your phone's battery is low, it can cause it to overheat. Charging your phone can help to prevent this. We recommend using large battery power banks.

  • Use a fan or cool surface: Using a fan or placing your phone on a cool surface can help to cool it down.

  • Remove or upgrade the case or cover: Removing your phone case or cover can help to dissipate heat more quickly and may prevent your phone from overheating.

  • Close background apps: Closing apps running in the background can reduce the strain on the processor and prevent your phone from overheating. (System Settings -> General -> Background App Refresh -> OFF)


By taking the necessary precautions and avoiding the common gotchas, you can help to prevent your phone from overheating and ensure that your live stream goes smoothly.



Happy streaming!


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