Does the iPhone 15 have an overheating problem? Here’s what we know

The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max's camera module.
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Last fall, Apple unveiled the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro series, which generated a lot of excitement among consumers. However, some users who got their hands on the devices early on expressed dissatisfaction by taking to social media to complain about overheating issues.

Apple addressed the issue somewhat quickly by releasing a software update. Months later, some iPhone 15 users still complain about overheating problems with their handsets.

Here’s where things stand on the iPhone 15 overheating issue.

What were people saying about iPhone 15 overheating issues?

Someone holding the iPhone 15 Pro Max outside.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Early iPhone 15 adopters took to Apple discussion groups to express their dismay with the battery life on their new handsets. Messages last fall were also left on Reddit and elsewhere.

One Redditor said “If it’s true, Apple’s QA has gone down hill quick.” Another Redditor jokingly commented, “Apple doing its part to make PC gamers feel more at home.” On Apple’s community forums, one user reported that their iPhone 15 Pro Max was “heating up even when I’m not using it.” Someone else reported having the same issue, commenting, “My 15 Pro Max is getting hot and battery draining too quickly.”

Upon initial use, some Digital Trends writers, including myself, experienced extreme heat from our new phones, which seemed to resolve the problem after 24 hours.

What did Apple do?

A natural titanium iPhone 15 Pro (left) and a green iPhone 15 on a Haunted Mansion wallpaper placemat.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

On October 7, Apple released an update to iOS 17 that it said would resolve the issue, which it blamed on initial startup issues and a bug. Before the update release, the iPhone maker explained to CNET:

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

Did it really work? What can you do?

iPhone 15 Pro Max lying on the ground surrounded by leaves.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Despite multiple iOS 17 updates, some iPhone 15 users still reported overheating problems. Perhaps more interestingly, Apple has indirectly confirmed this. According to Notebookcheck, Apple considers iPhone 15 Pro models running warmer than previous iPhones to be “expected behavior.” A major design change is coming to the iPhone 16 series to (finally) address this issue. Apple is rumored to be exploring the “use of graphene to mitigate lingering thermal issues.”

I haven’t encountered any overheating problems with my iPhone 15 Pro Max except on the first day. However, if the rumors are true and Apple intends to use graphene in the iPhone 16, it implies that data indicates that some iPhone users are still experiencing this issue. Unfortunately, that could also confirm that Apple cannot fully resolve the issue using software on the current models.

As Graphene-Info explains: “Graphene is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity and has interesting light absorption abilities. It is truly a material that could change the world, with unlimited potential for integration in almost any industry.”

If your iPhone 15 is overheating, contact Apple for assistance. Every new Apple phone comes with a year of free hardware support, so take advantage of this. At the minimum, Apple support might offer some new advice on what to do or give you a new phone for your troubles.