Your iPad is getting hot thanks to one of three factors. The good news is that you can easily fix it, and all it will take is a slight change in your usage habits and the ability to pay attention. The bad news is that an overheating iPad can cause battery damage.
We’ve all been there. A dead iPad battery means a dead iPad and that beautiful, sleek slab of precision-crafted glass and metal suddenly becomes a bulky paperweight. Of course, you don’t need to throw it out because there are lots of options. You could pay to get the battery replaced or sell it online to a reliable company like us.
But you’re not there yet.
You can stop your iPad from getting hot and save yourself a lot of headache (and money). First, you’ll need to understand why your iPad is getting hot. Once you know why you can learn how to fix it. But most importantly, you’ll also learn what not to do when your iPad overheats.
Let’s dive right in!
Why Is Your iPad Getting Hot?
You’re right to be concerned about your iPad overheating. The normal ambient temperature for an iPad is between 32 Celsius and 35 Celsius (89 F – 95 F). If you’ve noticed that your iPad’s temperature shoots up into the 40s (or over 100 degrees Fahrenheit) then you’re dealing with heat issues. You’ll most likely notice this heat in the corners of the device, especially in the new iPad Pros and iPad Air. That’s because heat rises and with nowhere to go it pools in the edges.
So what’s causing this abnormal iPad heat?
For starters, your iPad is a computer with a powerful processor, but it has no fan. Unlike a laptop or desktop computer, which have cooling fans and radiators built-in, your iPad has no way to dissipate heat. Furthermore, the vents on the bottom of the iPad are too small. Plus heat rises, so unless you use your iPad while hanging upside down, the internal heat needs to build-up to the point where the only place to vent is the bottom.
That’s kind of inefficient.
Then you add a variety of factors to these cooling issues, and you’ve got an iPad that overheats.
Another thing that can result in an overheating iPad is your charger. If you’re using a fast-charger, particularly a 98-watt charging brick, then you could be causing massive heat build-up in your iPad’s battery. Fast charging is good now and again, but if that’s the only way you charge your device, in the long term you may cause damage.
Also, using third-party power supplies that aren’t certified by Apple could cause the battery to overheat. As we learned earlier, this heat has nowhere to dissipate, and now you have a cooked iPad.
Do you play a lot of games on your iPad? Do you edit video or render graphics? Heck, do you binge on Netflix for hours at a time? If so, you could be causing processor exhaustion.
This happens when your iPad’s processor has been running at full capacity for a long time, and the heat build-up from all those firing circuits overwhelms the system. Remember, the iPad doesn’t have a fan like your computer. But it also lacks a dedicated GPU, which means the single processor onboard has to handle everything you throw at it.
That said, newer generation iPad Pros (and the 2019 iPad Air) pack that powerful A11 and A12 bionic chips, which are beasts. In pure performance, they outperform even standard desktop PCs. But without a dedicated graphics card and a proper cooling system, they’re hobbled by heat. Which means no matter how powerful your iPad is, throw too many graphics and video at it, and your iPad is getting hot.
What Happens When Your iPad Overheats?
By now you’re probably aware of what happens when your iPad gets too hot. You’ve seen it first hand. The video starts to buffer, apps need to redraw as your RAM dumps memory, and for some reason, the flash doesn’t work well. That begs the question: why are you taking photos with an iPad? We’ll save that for another day…
If your iPad is getting hot, you’ll notice that all of your apps start to slow down. YouTube videos take forever to buffer, your games become laggy, and Instagram is constantly refreshing. The same thing happens on a computer that overheats. Here’s what’s going on:
At the most basic level, the processor is trying to save itself. When it gets too hot, it’s programmed to slow everything down in order to dissipate some heat. After all, it doesn’t want to melt. So it starts shutting down cores, and reduces draw from RAM, and does everything it can to slow down the amount of electricity powering through it. All of this translates into a crappy experience for you, the user.
Another thing the processor will do is dim the display. It will do this by shutting off some pixels, reducing power to others, and basically stopping the flow of energy through the entire chassis of your iPad. If you’re rocking an iPad Pro then you have a gorgeous OLED display, which can manage power much better than the LCD displays of other iPads. That means you won’t notice too much dimming.
If your iPad is getting hot because of charging, that’s where your processor will cut power. In order to cool off, it will reduce the flow of energy into the unit. That means your iPad will take longer to charge. If you’re fast-charging an iPad that’s overheating, then good luck!
iPad needs to cool down warning
If it gets real bad, you’ll get this iOS warning
The internal temperature is monitored and once it exceeds a set threshold the operating systems safeguard locks all functions until it cools down.
Don’t worry, although this message is intimidating it will go away once you give it some chill time and sort a few efficient usage and charging habits we’ve listed below.
Thankfully you can’t damage the processor or screen if your iPad gets too hot. But the bad news is you can damage your battery. This is particularly true if you’re fast-charging a hot iPad. Your lithium-ion battery can take a lot of punishment, but it has its limits. Replacing an iPad battery can cost anywhere from $50 to $250. And let’s be honest here, the iPad is never the same again once you start replacing parts.
How to Cool Down Your iPad
Believe it or not, but in most cases, you can cool down your iPad. Even better, you can stop your iPad from getting too hot. Now that you know why your iPad is getting hot, it’s simple to fix.
For starters, don’t sit in the sun on a hot summer day with your iPad! This should be common sense but sometimes you just want to have your tablet with you. If you do need to bring it outside, keep it in the shade. You want the air outside the iPad to be cooler than its ambient temperature. Think in the 20s (or low-80s). Aside from that, there are other things you can do to cool it down.
Close all the apps
The more apps you have open, the more draw you’re putting on the processor. And remember, that processor gets hot! So if you notice your iPad is getting hot, close all the apps. Take some of the strain off the processor and let it cool down before you start again.
Another thing you can do to cool down your iPad is to stop charging it. If you’ve got it plugged in and it’s getting hot, unplug it and let it cool down. You’ll save the battery from wear and tear and keep the processor firing on all cores.
Remove the case
Also, if you have a case on your iPad and you notice it’s getting hot, take the case off. You’ll help let some of the heat dissipate through the walls of the iPad and it will cool down faster.
Turn off background refresh
Did you know that your iPad is constantly refreshing apps in the background so that they’re ready for you to use? Even if you close an app, iOS will keep part of it running so you can quickly open it again. This is called a background refresh, and it causes the processor to devote power to this task.
You can turn off background refresh like this:
- Open settings
- Go to General
- Go to Background App Refresh (sixth or seventh down the list)
- Turn Background App Refresh to “off”
You’ll see a list of each and every app that is refreshing. You could pick and choose which ones to turn off, but if your iPad is getting hot, simply use the top button to turn them all off.
Check charging cables
Because improper charging can result in a hot iPad, you should check your charging cables for damage. Do you see any exposed wires or bent teeth on the USB end? If so, stop using it immediately. It could be a fire hazard or worse.
Also, if you have a third-party charging cable, check to see if it’s MFI-certified. This means that Apple has tested it and certified it to work to its strict standards. If it’s not MFI-certified, then it could be the cause of your iPad getting hot. Get rid of it and buy a proper charging cable.
What Not To Do When Your iPad Overheats
Now that you know what to do when your iPad is getting hot, make sure you’re not doing anything that can damage it. Many people have destroyed their beautiful iPads because they tried to cool it down the wrong way.
Let’s take a quick look.
DON’T put it in the freezer
Have you ever taken a warm glass of water and put it in the freezer? If so, then you know what happens. That’s right, it shatters. Now imagine that glass was your $1,200 iPad Pro. Never put your iPad in the freezer or the fridge, or a snowbank for that matter.
The’res also condensation which can pose a real water damage risk. So freezer is a no go.
DON’T put it in front of the air conditioner
You may be tempted to quickly cool down your iPad by placing it in front of an air conditioner, but this can cause damage. Not only can cold air blowing across a hot screen cause the glass to shatter, but it can cause internal damage to your processor and battery.
That said, placing the iPad in a cool, air-conditioned room is not a problem. In fact, if your iPad is getting too hot, this is one thing you should do. Just keep it away from the vents.
DON’T put cold water on it
Believe it or not, but someone actually dunked their iPad in a pail of cold water. You can guess what happened. It shattered and shorted itself out. You should also avoid pouring water on it, and never ever wrap it in a wet towel. If you need to clean it, there are safe ways to do so.
In fact, don’t wrap it in any towel. Why would someone do that?
How to Prevent Your iPad Overheating
Guess what? You can stop your iPad from getting too hot. Best of all, it’s really easy to do. Simply build a few new usage habits and you’ll be good to go. Check it out.
Use only Apple-certified chargers
You already know to use MFI-certified cables and chargers. The best are the ones sold directly by Apple. If you need help deciding which ones to use, contact Apple Support. They’re friendly and extremely knowledgeable about Apple products.
Reduce screen brightness
Did you know that you only need brightness on full power when you’re outside in the daylight? It’s true! The rest of the time you can keep your screen dimmer and you’ll reduce the amount of heat building up inside your iPad. Try it out!
Use wifi and Bluetooth only when needed
Wifi and Bluetooth cause the processor to devote energy to constantly scan for a signal. If you’re not using your iPad, turn the wifi off. And unless you’re pairing your iPhone or AirPods to your iPad, you don’t need the Bluetooth on. You’ll see an immediate drop in temperature.
Give your iPad a break
The best way to reduce the amount of heat generated by your iPad is to give it frequent breaks. If you’re binging Netflix for six hours, try putting the tablet down every hour or so. Take a break. Let your eyes rest and let the iPad cool down.
Do You Need a New iPad?
What if nothing works? Sometimes your iPad is simply toasted, pun intended. If your iPad is older and has reached the end of its life, it may be time to consider parting ways. After all, everything should be stored in iCloud, so all you need is a new tablet. Sometimes if your iPad is getting hot, it just might be too old.
What do you do with your old iPad? The most environmentally-friendly (and economically-friendly) thing to do is to sell your old iPad to a company that will refurbish it and pass it on to someone who needs it. You can check out Gizmogrind, who give you an upfront quote right on their website, and who help plant a tree for every device sold to them.