Protect your tech: how to keep your gadgets cool during hot weather

It's not just people suffering in the heat, here's how to protect your devices too

Hot weather, phone in pocket on sunny beach
(Image credit: Carol Yepes / Getty Images)

To paraphrase one Bob Marley: 'the sun is shining, the weather is sweet, yeah'. Except, actually, the weather is so ragingly hot that you don't want to put on your dancing feet, you want to pull down the shutters, crank up the fan and hide indoors. 

It's not only people who suffer the heat, though, as your gadgets can also get too hot and go into shutdown mode. Which is why you need to keep an eye on them, how you're using them, and where abouts too. 

In this how-to guide I'll suggest some of the best ways to keep your phones, laptops, PCs and consoles in shipshape during the heatwave.

How to keep your phone cool during the heatwave

Overheating phone on fire

(Image credit: Chonticha Vatpongpee / EyeEm / Getty Images)

We're all phoneaholics, but during a heatwave it's all too easy for these glass-and-metal slabs to get dangerously hot, which affects battery life and may cause the device to temporarily cease to function. Here's how to keep your best phone from overheating: 

1. Keep it out of sunlight

This goes without saying really, but keep your phone in the shade. I've been guilty of not doing this in the past, however, such as when meeting friends in the pub of plonking my phone on the table. Just a few minutes of direct sunlight can cause your phone to massively overheat, so keep it stowed away. 

2. Put on battery saver mode

Point one above also forces a step change in how you use your device: less. Which is the second way to reduce the impact of heat, by keeping the screen off and engagement with the device reduced. In addition you can activate battery saver mode to limit app functionality, which will in turn see you using fewer apps and going easier on the processor. 

3. Remove covers and cases

It's not winter, so don't treat your phone like it needs an extra coat on. Free that handset from the shackles of any additional case of cover, which should aid airflow and prevent temperatures rising to higher levels. But also be careful: you don't want to drop, scratch or smash your device by being careless. 

How to keep your laptop cool during the heatwave

Overheating laptop

(Image credit: alphaspirit / Getty Images)

Many of us have to use laptops all day long as part of a job, so there's perhaps no escaping this necessity. However, there's some steps you can take to ensure things don't get too fiery under the keys and your best laptop will remain in a good, operable condition.

1. Give it a clean

Not all laptops use fan cooling systems, but many do. If that's the case there'll be small openings (vents) somewhere on your machine, and it would be wise to give these a thorough clean to remove any dust that's built up over time. That'll help air circulation and permit their in-body cooling systems to work as efficiently as possible. Also don't use your laptop on a surface that will block these vents (any material surface, really) in order to maximise its longevity in the heat. 

2. Reduce screen brightness

More screen brightness equals more energy equals more heat, so sit in the shade, avoid the sunlight, and bring the screen brightness down to a sensible level. Furthermore, especially on Windows machines, you can select the battery setting from the lower bar and opt for 'Best battery life' which will do this for you and throttle the processor too. 

3. Limit number of apps

Got a habit of opening dozens of apps and within those dozens more windows? That's heavy going on the RAM, so try to declutter, open fewer apps and tabs/files to avoid stressing your system and causing it to further overheat. 

How to keep your PC/consoles cool during the heatwave

Overheating PC tower

(Image credit: nullplus / Getty Images)

As static bits of kit in the home, it's less often you're likely to run a cleaning and maintenance routine on your PC or console (be that PS5 or Xbox Series X). Now's the time to give it a bit of extra care and attention to avoid overheating. 

1. Do away with dust

Dust is your enemy: as any PlayStation owner will no doubt know, these machines eat dust to the point it creates a furry blockade around the fan vents. Get your duster out, do away with the dust and open out airflow, which will allow your machine's internal cooling system to function better and resist increased heat. 

2. Reposition

Got your console in an AV cabinet like I have? While that may look nice, you should break it free temporarily, allow that airflow to circulate around it, even if it means popping it onto a desk or a hard surface floor as to not get too hot. 

3. Take a break

The one you don't want to read, right? But, seriously, switch it off for a bit or take a break where you exit and allow your console or tower to reset back to ambient temperature, which will put less strain overall on the system. 

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike has been writing about consumer technology for 15 years and is T3's Tech Editor. As a phones expert he's seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone products (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech aficionado his beat for T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a stone unturned that he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for a full decade, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.