Apple finally addresses the iPhone 15 Pro overheating problem

Cal Jeffrey

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A hot potato: Almost immediately after launch, customers began complaining that the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max were getting very hot to the touch during charging. Just days ago, Apple poo-pooed the complaints, saying that it was normal for the phones to get hot while charging and that the problem would disappear after a few days of use.

Apple dropped iOS version 17.0.3 on Wednesday. The update comes only a week after 17.0.2, but it was a somewhat pressing patch since it contains a fix for the overheating issue that iPhone 15 Pro owners have experienced since launch. Cupertino went ahead and released iPadOS 17.0.3 as well for consistency.

"We have identified a few conditions which can cause the iPhone to run warmer than expected," Apple said over the weekend. "The device may feel warmer during the first few days after setting up or restoring the device because of increased background activity."

However, FLIR tests revealed that the phones were running as hot as 40C (118F) on their surface, which is not typical of past iPhones or handsets from competitors. Apple said that iOS would execute a notice if the phone overheats, and some users reported that it did just before shutting down.

Apple acknowledged that it had identified a bug affecting a few users that caused the phone to get too hot and promised a patch. The company indicated that another problem caused by third-party app developers was contributing to the troubled launch. Some of the offending apps include Instagram, Uber, and others.

"We have also found a bug in iOS 17 that is impacting some users and will be addressed in a software update," Apple said in the same statement. "Another issue involves some recent updates to third-party apps that are causing them to overload the system. We're working with these app developers on fixes that are in the process of rolling out."

MacRumors notes that initially, some users speculated that the iPhone 15's titanium frame caused the overheating, but Apple denied that as a contributing factor. It said the titanium frame offered better heat dissipation than the stainless steel chassis on previous models.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo hypothesized that the problem was with compromises designers made with the thermal design. If true, Apple would have to throttle the new A17 processor to get the issue under control, but the company promised the fix would not affect performance.

Now that it is available, I'm sure we will hear about it loud and clear if the phone's performance is affected in any way.

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I find it interesting that with a little bit of online research I was finding conflicting information in regards to Titanium vs Steel for heat dissipation.

One article I read stated that Steel has higher thermal conductivity than Titanium which makes it more suitable for applications that require heat transfer or rapid cooling.

Titanium has a higher Melting point than Steel (~220 C / 400 F), but that's pretty irrelevant.

I'm curious to know what tests they did to compare the Steel vs Titanium differences.

Titanium has the obvious benefits of being a stronger material, but it's much more expensive.
 
I find it interesting that with a little bit of online research I was finding conflicting information in regards to Titanium vs Steel for heat dissipation.

One article I read stated that Steel has higher thermal conductivity than Titanium which makes it more suitable for applications that require heat transfer or rapid cooling.

Titanium has a higher Melting point than Steel (~220 C / 400 F), but that's pretty irrelevant.

I'm curious to know what tests they did to compare the Steel vs Titanium differences.

Titanium has the obvious benefits of being a stronger material, but it's much more expensive.
That’s because there are a million possible combination of alloys that are actually used in the real world and affect their properties. You can be guaranteed that Apple isn’t using pure, elemental titanium but a more optimal alloy. Steel itself is one such alloy, and even then there are so many possible combinations that are used in products. You would have to compare the specific alloys used in Apple’s products to verify their statement.
 
I find it interesting that with a little bit of online research I was finding conflicting information in regards to Titanium vs Steel for heat dissipation.

One article I read stated that Steel has higher thermal conductivity than Titanium which makes it more suitable for applications that require heat transfer or rapid cooling.
Higher thermal conductivity also means it gets hotter, by absorbing heat. Titanium deflects heat better, so it stays cooler.
 
Higher thermal conductivity also means it gets hotter, by absorbing heat. Titanium deflects heat better, so it stays cooler.
You don't want to deflect the internal heat, you want to expel it. For that purpose alone, titanium is a poor material choice. That is not admitting that Apple have not accounted for this in their thermal design but it makes it more challenging.
 
Higher thermal conductivity also means it gets hotter, by absorbing heat. Titanium deflects heat better, so it stays cooler.
And that - deflecting heat - is actually (deflecting heat) in general undesirable property for any electronic application. What is the point of being cool outside if inside is boiling and CPU is throttling?
On the other side, titanium frame have no impact of heat transfer - it is just phone frame for Christ sake, so contemplating that it impacts cooling is crazy.
 
But isn’t the frame made of aluminium on the inside that “transition” into titanium on the outside? I’m sure I heard / read about it somewhere, that Apple came up with a new method of “melting” the two together (or whatever their PR is calling it) so that it is strong and scratch proof on the outside while inside thx to aluminium it is much lighter than it would be if it was pure titanium. So if that’s the case, them how aluminium comes into the heat equation? ;-)
 
But isn’t the frame made of aluminium on the inside that “transition” into titanium on the outside? I’m sure I heard / read about it somewhere, that Apple came up with a new method of “melting” the two together (or whatever their PR is calling it) so that it is strong and scratch proof on the outside while inside thx to aluminium it is much lighter than it would be if it was pure titanium. So if that’s the case, them how aluminium comes into the heat equation? ;-)
If titanium is on the outside, then that is what will be dissipating heat. Having aluminum on the inside does not change that fact.
 
Looks like Apple finally made it into the Big Leagues.
(meaning @ weekly software updates vs monthly)
 
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