Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

iPhone 15 Pro Max overheating problem should be resolved with next update, but what if Apple doesn’t fix it?

Published Oct 3rd, 2023 6:50AM EDT
iPhone 15 Pro Max Screen
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

The iPhone 15 series is selling tremendously well, especially the more expensive iPhone 15 Pro Max. But the Pro models also have an unexpected problem that no iPhone 15 rumor could have predicted: overheating. After a couple of weeks of reports detailing the issue, Apple has finally addressed it.

The company will release a software update to fix the iPhone 15 Pro/Max overheating issues. Apple explained that the iPhone 15 setup process and third-party apps might be responsible for the overheating incidents. Crucially, it confirmed that the software update will not throttle the performance of the A17 Pro to reduce the risk of the phone getting too hot while under heavy load.

But what if Apple can’t fix the overheating issues in one go? What I mean to say is that there are various types of overheating experiences out there. Including the kind that a software fix might not be able to fix as long as chip throttling isn’t part of the update.

Why does the iPhone 15 Pro/Max overheat?

As a reminder, here are the three conditions in which the iPhone 15 Pros get hot, according to Apple’s recent comments on the matter:

  • iPhone setup – the handset might get warm in the first days of use
  • an unspecified iOS bug – Apple said iOS 17 contains a bug that will be addressed in the coming software.
  • third-party apps – Apple has gone ahead and actually named third-party apps that might lead to overheating. Instagram and Uber are among them.

What’s not causing overheating:

iPhone 15 Pro on a table.
iPhone 15 Pro on a table. Image source: Jonathan Geller, BGR

Apple also noted that it won’t reduce the top performance of the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max via the update that should fix overheating.

The iPhone 15 Pro/Max overheating reports that appeared online in the past few weeks detailed three cases of overheating.

First, the A17 Pro chip can overheat during intensive game sessions. Such an instance is normal, according to Apple documentation. As is the iPhone getting warm while charging wirelessly or video streaming.

Then, we saw the iPhone 15 Pros overheat while they were charging.

Finally, using the iPhone 15 Pros while charging might lead to overheating.

How can Apple fix it?

It’s unclear when Apple will release the software update and what it’ll do. But given what Apple has said and the overheating incidents that users reported, I’d speculate that Apple can fix some issues. For example, it might add protections to prevent overheating while charging via USB-C. Like maybe reducing the top speed to the advertised 20W.

As a reminder, the iPhones can recharge slightly faster than that with larger power bricks. It’s been a secret feature of all iPhone 13, 14, and 15 models.

Also, Apple might find a way to prevent overheating while the iPhone 15 Pros are charging and are used for apps that do not involve lots of processing power. Maybe these are instances where throttling the A17 Pro or reducing the charging speed is acceptable to improve the overall experience.

But if the iPhone 15 Pro/Max suffer from a heat dissipation issue, Apple won’t be able to prevent excessive overheating during intense gaming session.

The only solution might be throttling the chip more aggressively to improve the heat exchange, but that’s something that Apple might not be willing to do. After all, the A17 Pro is such a powerful chip, and Apple made a big deal about its gaming abilities.

Gaming on iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max.
Gaming on iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. Image source: Apple inc.

Let’s say that Apple does end up throttling the chip, the iPhone 15 Pros might still get warm during intensive operation. That’s because all smartphones do.

It’ll be up to iPhone 15 Pro/Max owners to determine whether the software fix is working. If Apple can reduce the frequency of overheating events, that would still be a win for the company. If overheating persists, Apple might have to do the unthinkable and reduce the A17 Pro’s performance.

Whatever happens next, one thing seems certain. Apple won’t recall the iPhone 15 Pros for overheating. The phones are still safe to use. And Apple said in its comments concerning the overheating issue that the higher temperatures won’t affect the long-term performance of the new Pros. Apple has built-in protections to prevent that.

What can you do?

If you own an iPhone 15 Pro model and have experienced overheating, all you can do is wait. You can consider not using the handset while charging to prevent overheating. Also, you might want to use chargers that aren’t more powerful than 20W.

As for gaming, you could use the handset while it’s propped up in a dock and connect a gaming controller to it. Or maybe use one of those large fans that you can attach to the back of the handset to provide active cooling during more intensive game sessions.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

More Tech

Latest News