iPhone screen dims when hot? Here’s what to do

It’s easy to overlook certain rad iOS features just because they’re not obvious. Nonetheless, we’re sure that without them, the premium nature of the iPhone would fall below expectations. On the other hand, if you are not informed about those features, they may appear to be a weird system issue or a 3rd-party app error.

One user on Apple’s community forum experienced something strange regarding screen brightness and we’re bringing you his/her experience below:

”I turned on the maximum brightness screen and I turned off the brightness mode but why when I turned on max brightness and I played the game for about 10 minutes then my screen light suddenly darkened To some extent but while the light bar in the control center is still the maximum. After I stop playing the game, the screen light will come back to normal after about 10 minutes! I do not understand what is happening on my device.”

You can find the explanation of why the iPhone dims the screen brightness below.

Why may iPhone dim the screen while gaming?

As you can see for yourself, this seems like a strange bug. But just at a first glance. This isn’t the problem but it’s rather a solution for overheating. If you have been using your device for an extended period, especially playing a demanding game, the phone will, logically, start to heat up.

To prevent overheating and possible hardware damage, iOS software regulates certain processes to ”cool down” the device. Even if you disable Auto-Brightness in Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size, your iPhone dims screen brightness to avoid overheating either way.

This is standard practice, so you have nothing to worry about. Just leave your phone for some time and everything, including the screen brightness, will restore to normal values and activity.

These are some features that will be affected by the changes iOS inflicts to prevent the device from overheating:

  • The camera flash will be temporarily disabled.
  • Cellular radio will enter a low-energy state which might affect your signal and Mobile Data.
  • The display will dim or turn black temporarily.
  • If the device is plugged into the wall socket, it will stop charging.

If the temperatures are above the norms, you’ll see the emergency prompt that informs you about the current state. To use your device, you’ll need to wait for the cooldown.

How to speed up the cooldown process or even avoid heating?

You can speed up the cooldown by unplugging your device from a charger, avoiding sun exposure, and just letting it be. On the other hand, if you’re keen to prevent overheating, it’s paramount to use your handset only when it’s not charging. This especially comes into play when is hot outside.

In addition, don’t expose it to sun or heat sources for an extended period. And, finally, if you run graphically demanding games, make sure to take a break from time to time.

We hope that this was a helpful read. What’s your experience with overheating? Please do share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in December 2021. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

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28 thoughts on “iPhone screen dims when hot? Here’s what to do”

  1. It’s 2022, I ended up switching to the new iPhone 13 from the 11. Didn’t want to wait for the 14 to come out in 3 months. The only reason I turned in my 11 was because I figured: “oh hey the brightness auto dims during some heat now. Interesting, let me get the latest and surely it will not have this issue.” First day same thing happened on a brand new iPhone, all I was doing was sitting outside in 90% degree weather NOT even in the sun and boom I couldn’t see anything on the screen after being out there for like 10 minutes. You’d think Apple would work on their thermal dissipation hardware after YEARS of the technology being incorporated into Android phones… smh. At this point apple is a cash grab machine that still forces you to realize you have zero control over your phone or any device configurations.

  2. No, it is a design flaw by having inadequate cooling. I’m on vacation and it’s about 95-100F here. iPhone becomes nearly useless for taking photos and videos as the screen goes nearly black in a few minutes of use. None of the other brands have this problem during “normal” expected use in warmer climates.

  3. when I increase the brightness level to maximum the screen turns to black and after ios restore it become working what is the problem and the solution?

  4. Are people really complaining about a feature that’s designed to protect your phone from overheating? Wow…go ahead a switch to Samsung then and see how far that gets you when your phone catches on fire while playing games not entirely designed or necessary for A PHONE…because they don’t care about the integrity of their products OR their customers. Wake up people, it’s a phone, not an Xbox. As a matter of fact, go ahead and turn on your game console and play COD or PUBG for about 30 minutes and feel the console. That’s called a computer. They get hot. It too has a feature to protect it from overheat. These PHONES are tiny computers that were not entirely built for live action, high video demand, FPS game play. You gotta do what you gotta do I guess but don’t complain about the $1000 iPhone doing everything it can to protect itself from total destruction due to your excessive gaming habits that are COMPLETELY unnecessary and unrelated to why the phone was built in the first place. Get an Xbox or PlayStation and quit complaining. Personally, I’m glad this feature exists. It means Apple is taking care of its customers.

  5. Turn-off the BACKGROUND Refreshing in the Setting This one making the phone getting hot and Apple lower the brightness in order to prevent the Phone X overheated.

  6. Thanks for the knowledge. It does blow while reking on pubg but I rather have a working phone then a block of cheese . I’ll find a way to cool it down

  7. the new 11 does this too. 10 or 20 minutes into playing PUB G the display maxes out at 50%. This is such a big design flaw and it’s really frustrating…

    • It’s not a design flaw. As stated in the above article, it is intentional so that the phone can cool down. If this feature wasn’t there, your phone may be damaged by the heat.

      • I’de rather my phone overheat and have to get a new one then interrupt my display during a game. They should have a way to turn this feature off, even if it has to come with a warning that violates warrantee or something.

        • I have the same problem with my iPhone and my iPad, I’m using outside in 18/ 20 degrees and the brightness keeps going low, so making both unusable, tbo I’m thinking of changing to another brand, Apple are taking the piss.

  8. I think I phone has a design flaw from what I’ve read it was intentional but for someone like myself who has trouble seeing what is on my phone when the phone warms up screen goes dim making it for me almost impossible to see I can’t help that I work in west Texas we’re it’s always hot outside but you need to send a fix for this

  9. I had a 6S Plus that did this frequently, so I traded it in for an XS Max thinking it would improve. It has, sort of, I usually have this happen when I have it plugged in charging in my truck. The quickest way I’ve found to cool my phone down is to take the case off, crank my AC as cold as I can get it, and stick my phone, on sleep, right in front of the vent until the back of the phone feels cold. It usually works within a few seconds…display back to its full glory!

  10. I just got back from the apple store with a new iphone!!!
    – multiple calls to apple over chat, phone and in-store appointments. I managed to take a video of this happening and they HAD NO IDEA. It was also escalated to 3rd line devs over the phone and they could not figure this out. Thanks for the new phone tho 😀

    Sucks that it cant handle long gaming sessions >:(
    I also found that 3rd party wireless charges cause over heating too.

  11. Here’s the funny thing (ha ha): APPLE SUPPORT DOESN’T KNOW ABOUT THIS and went ahead and tried to solve the “hardware priblem” over the phone. Finally, they told me to bring it in for repair or replacement. Idiots.

  12. You are right, this is a bug ! I loved the brightness of Apple products in the sun. Now this advantage has gone. After a few minutes the iOS device dimms down and the screen becomes unusable in so many situations. Full brightness only works in the dark ! Rudiculous!


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