How Hot Is Too Hot?
You might be surprised by the recommended operating temperatures for Apple gear. Whether you’re talking about an iPhone X or a MacBook Pro, the company recommends staying under 95° F.
In the dog days of summer, it’s likely you’re regularly in danger of potentially overheating your devices – even sitting at the pool or outdoors watching a game or concert.
Keep in mind: the temperature in a car parked in the sun can easily hit 130º F in only an hour! Apple says its products shouldn’t even be stored—turned off—at temperatures over 113º F.
What’s the Danger?
As temperatures rise, performance can suffer, charging may get slower or stop, various components might be disabled and devices can become unreliable.
All electronic devices produce their own heat, so the temperature inside a device can be much, much hotter than outside. The CPU in an iMac can hit 212º F under heavy loads.
Some heat-related problems are temporary. In other words, when the device or component cools down, it will resume working correctly. But others, particularly drops in battery life—are irreversible.
What You Can Do
When a Mac gets too hot, it will spin its fans in an attempt to keep its internal components cool. This is your cue to quit apps you aren’t using, particularly those that might be CPU-intensive and thus creating a lot of heat. If that doesn’t make a difference, restart your device to make sure the problem isn’t a rogue process. If the fans come back on at full speed quickly, shut it down and let it cool off for a bit. In the worst case, an overheated Mac will start acting unpredictably or crash.
iOS devices don’t have fans, so they employ other coping mechanisms. If your iPhone or iPad gets too hot, the device will alert you.
How will you know if your device is overheated?
Apple says you might notice some of the following behaviors:
Charging, including wireless charging, slows or stops.
The display dims or goes black.
Cellular radios enter a low-power state. The signal might weaken during this time.
The camera flash is temporarily disabled.
Performance slows with graphics-intensive apps or features.
If you’re using Maps on an overheating iPhone for GPS navigation in the car, it may show a “Temperature: iPhone needs to cool down.” screen instead of the map. You’ll still get audible turn-by-turn directions, and the screen will wake up to guide you through turns.
How to Keep Your (Tech) Cool
For the most part, keeping Apple devices cool just requires common sense.
As Apple’s specifications recommend, avoid using devices when the temperature is over 95º F. If you can’t avoid it entirely, keep usage to a minimum.
If you leave your device in a hot place, let it cool before using it.
Don’t block ventilation ports in the back of desktop Macs, and don’t use Mac laptops in bed, propped on a pillow or under the covers. Consider vacuuming dust out of ventilation ports every so often.
Never put anything on the keyboard of an open Mac laptop.
Avoid stacking things on top of a Mac mini.
Monitor the temperature of server closets. If they get too hot, keep the door open, add a fan or run the air conditioning.
Be extra careful to keep your cool – and your devices cool – this summer!
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