Is your iPhone 'Charging On Hold'? Here's what it means and what you should do

iOS 16 added a new warning for iPhone users to worry about in the form of "Charging On Hold." Here's what you need to know.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Reviewed by Min Shin
iPhone 14 Plus on wooden background

Charging a battery when it's too hot -- or too cold -- is a surefire path to avoidable battery wear.

Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

It's getting hot out there, so hot the iPhones are feeling it.

But fear not, Apple has a lot of safety mechanisms built into the iPhone to protect the battery from conditions that might damage it. High on that list of things that can damage a battery is heat.

In fact, heat is the number one premature killer of rechargeable batteries. Charging a battery when it's too hot -- or too cold -- is a surefire path to avoidable battery wear.

Also: 5 ways to keep your smartphone working like new, for longer

Apple has a lot to say on the subject of heat: The iPhone (and iPad, iPod, and Apple Watch) all operate best at 32° to 95° F (0° to 35° C). The company warns that it is "especially important to avoid exposing your device to ambient temperatures higher than 95° F (35° C), which can permanently damage battery capacity."

Apple has built in a mechanism that kicks in when the iPhone gets too hot, but it seems that with iOS 16, the company has taken this further.

This is mentioned in Apple's support page -- What happens when an iPhone or iPad gets too hot or too cold -- which notes that "charging is put on hold when your iPhone becomes too hot or too cold to charge."

But there's more information to be found in Apple's support documentation. In a different document covering iPhones and iPod touch devices that won't charge, Apple says that "software might limit charging above 80 percent" if the battery gets too warm, and this is done to "extend the lifespan of your battery." 

iOS 16 "Charging On Hold" notification on the lock screen with charging paused at 80%

iOS 16 "Charging On Hold" notification on the lock screen with charging paused at 80%.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The notification states that "Charging will resume when the iPhone returns to normal temperature."

There's also a message that can be found if you tap on Settings > Battery:

Settings on an iPhone

Message shown in Settings > Battery.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Once charging has resumed, the message changes to "Charging was on hold due to iPhone temperature." 

Here's something I do find odd: The battery indicator at the top of the display continues to show the battery as charging. 

Also: Which MagSafe battery pack is best? 6 Expert Picks

It's a mixed message that adds to the confusion.

Arrow pointing to battery charging on iPhone

The notification still shows the battery as charging, even though charging has been disabled.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

If you see this message, rest assured that it is normal, and your iPhone is working to protect your battery from damage and prolong its life, and not some bug or sign that your iPhone is damaged.

Is there anything you can do?

Well, you have a few options. The best one is that you could just let iOS 16 and your iPhone do their thing. But don't do some of the things I've seen recommended online to "fix" this issue, such as putting your iPhone into a refrigerator or freezer, or dunking it into ice or ice water. All these methods risk damaging the battery or the device (especially the device's waterproofing).

Also: 5 iOS 16 features I can't live without now (and how to use them)

If you are in a rush, there are a few things you can do to help cool down your device safely and get it charging again

How to safely cool down your iPhone

  • Move the iPhone to a cooler location.
  • Remove the iPhone from its case.
  • Lower the brightness of the display.
  • Stop running power-intensive apps while it is charging.
  • Put the iPhone into Airplane Mode.
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