iOS 17 update should help fix iPhone 15 overheating — what you need to know

iPhone 15 Pro Max shown in hand
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple has responded to the widespread but intermittent reports of the new iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro handsets overheating. 

The company insists that the issue is not hardware related, despite some previously speculating that the titanium shell and new A17 Pro chip on the Pro handsets might be responsible for at least some of the reports. Instead, Apple says, it’s down to three distinct software related conditions.

“We have identified a few conditions which can cause iPhone to run warmer than expected,” the company wrote in a statement, shared by MacRumors

Firstly, handsets may “feel warmer during the first few days after setting up or restoring the device because of increased background activity.” This is fairly standard advice with any phone: if you’re setting it up for the first time, it’s likely updating settings, downloading updates and generally working in the background — something magnified if you’re eagerly using your new pride and joy at the same time.

iOS 17 Update coming 

“We have also found a bug in iOS 17 that is impacting some users and will be addressed in a software update,” Apple continues. The company highlighted to Forbes that this isn’t a euphemism for throttling performance to bring temperatures down, which is good news for buyers sold on the raw speed of the new handsets.

Editors' Note: Apple released iOS 17.0.3 on October 4, and the update is said to address the overheating issue.

Finally, Apple says, there are a handful of specific third-party apps where updates are “causing them to overload the system.” The company namechecked a few: Uber, Asphalt 9 and Instagram, and Apple says it is “working with these app developers on fixes that are in the process of rolling out.” Indeed, Instagram’s update for this arrived on September 27.

The specific third-party software issues may explain why some users were complaining of overheating, while others were seemingly unaffected. 

Indeed, when we used thermal imaging to measure the heat of iPhone 15 handsets in the office, we found our test iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Max handsets staying well under 95°F, but Kate Kozuch’s own Pro Max model reached as high as 104.1°F. Given she had been on Instagram Reels at the time, it certainly fits Apple’s explanation.

So hopefully we’ll see iPhone 15 handsets cooling down over the next week or so as initial setup activities complete, apps get patched and iOS gets fixed. That’s one iPhone 15 problem off the list…

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.