The iPhone 15 Pro's overheating problem probably just needs a software update to fix, but you might not like it

iPhone 15 Pro
(Image credit: Apple)

If you've used your brand new iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max since that September 22 release and thought that it got a little too toasty at times, you aren't alone. The good news is that it should be fixable via a software update, but that might not be the whole story.

With fingers already starting to point at the new A17 Pro chip that now powers Apple's best iPhones one analyst has sprung to its defense. They say that the A17 Pro and TSMC's 3nm fabrication process aren't to blame for overheating issues and that Apple will fix things by releasing a software update. The problem is what that software update might have to do.

If things go the way they very well could, Apple might have to limit the performance of your new iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max to keep it cool, and that's just bad news for all of us.

Lower performance = lower temperatures

This is all according to supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who posted on Medium that his supply chain checks indicate "that the iPhone 15 Pro series overheating issues are unrelated to TSMC’s advanced 3nm node." He goes on to say that the "primary cause is more likely the compromises made in the thermal system design to achieve a lighter weight."

Those compromises are thought to be a reduced heat dissipation area as well as the use of a titanium frame which impacts thermal efficiency. That's all to say that Apple's new A17 Pro is nice and fast, but the heat it generates can't be removed quickly enough because of Apple's design choices.

Shades of the 2013 Mac Pro's infamous "thermal corner," to be sure.

The good news is that this can all likely be fixed in software, but Kuo has a warning, adding that "improvements may be limited unless Apple lowers processor performance."

That's something Apple will not want to do, especially as it continues to laud the iPhone 15 Pro's gaming capabilities and so-called console-quality titles. In reality, the  A17 Pro might not feel much slower in use, but we can perhaps expect Apple to choose to throttle the chip sooner than it currently does, impacting performance over longer periods of time — like when playing a game, for example.

For now, all eyes will be on Apple to see what happens next. But it's worth noting that two iMore writers have iPhone 15 Pro Maxes and haven't had any issues with overheating whatsoever. Anecdotal? Sure, but a huge and widespread issue this temperature situation might not be just yet.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • aergern
    My 15 Pro Max was warm(er) than normal only when streaming videos in Instagram, other than that it wasn't horrible. This condition resolved itself after about 24hrs, which is probably when the indexing and other background ops were finished. It never got hot when charging via USB-C cable or really any other time than streaming videos. It's now about the same temp as my 13 Pro.
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