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Android 12 beta combats overheating phones by throttling recharge speeds

Google Pixel 5a review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Android 12 betas have shown off a bunch of new features, among them are some changes to how your phone will handle fast charging — including throttling it due to high temperatures. Thankfully, Android 12 beta 5 will warn you about that.

First spotted in code by 9to5Google, Android 12 will flash up a notification explaining it has to “limit charging to preserve battery health” when your phone starts to get too hot.

Heat and batteries don’t really go together, and the hotter your battery gets while it’s recharging the worse it is for overall battery health. Poor battery health reduces capacity, and over time you’ll start noticing a loss of battery life.

So while you may want your phone to recharge faster in certain situations, it could be detrimental to its longevity. Which is why previous Android 12 betas introduced the throttling feature in the first place. 

The key difference here is that your phone is now warning you about what’s going on. The feature also includes a ‘learn more’ button redirecting you to a support page about what Pixel phones do when they’re starting to overheat.

Previous Android 12 builds introduced a feature that caps charging at 80% if a phone is plugged in for long periods of time. General advice given to people hoping to prolong battery degradation is to keep charge between 80% and 20%. Anything more or less and you wind up with too many lithium ions on a single side of the battery, which causes strain and increases the speed of degradation.

However, the details on how this throttled charging is going to work aren’t entirely clear. The phone could continue charging, albeit at slower speeds, or it could halt entirely until the phone starts to cool down. It’s also not clear whether that 80% cap would also come into play in these circumstances.

Hopefully we should be able to find out pretty soon. Not only is Android 12’s full release coming pretty soon, we are still experiencing summer temperatures. And with the overheating issues reported on the Google Pixel 5a, it’s likely a lot more beta users are going to end up with this notification sooner or later.

Tom Pritchard

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.