A phone-based VR headset to be used with Samsung Galaxy smartphones, the Gear VR had been quite popular in its day. Unfortunately, it has now been discontinued by Samsung. But you can still expect to find some in Amazon.
If you already own one and are facing heating problems, you are not alone. Here are a few ways to deal with Gear VR overheat issues.
1. Use a cooling fan (duh!)
You can do what PC and laptop manufacturers have been doing for years, and attach a cooling fan to your device. You can find some rechargeable Gear VR cooling fans online that will fit right on the headset over the phone. It might make the headset a bit heavy. But since the fan is an external attachment, you can always take it off once the device cools down.
2. Use a cold compress
This sounds more like a solution for ‘how to reduce inflammation’ and not ‘how to keep Gear VR cool’ – yet, it is. It looks pretty silly too. But this method is useful. You can buy an ordinary gel cold compress and use tape to attach it on top of your headset. Alternatively, you can also hold it in place with a large headband or soft belt.
3. Make your heat sink at home
If you can’t find a suitable fan or cold pack, get innovative at home. A heat sink helps distribute the heat out of your phone to the foil (conductor). Create a heat sink with these simple steps:
- Cut a strip of non-stick aluminum foil. The length depends on the size of your phone, so take approximately 10-12 inches. Make sure it is long enough that about 3 inches stick out from both sides of the phone.
- Fold it twice. Make sure the width fits the width of your phone.
- Place it at the back of your phone and attach it to the headset using tapes.
- Do not place it on the cover of the headset.
If your device heats up too much, the foil will also be hot – be careful when taking it off.
4. Use VR on a fully charged phone
With a low battery, your phone’s CPU struggles to concurrently carry out the multiple functions it needs to operate on VR. This struggle makes your device heat up. So make sure your phone is fully charged before you attach it to your headset.
5. Adjust the brightness of your screen
Light and heat go hand in hand. A higher screen brightness, like any other function, takes up more of your phone’s power. This puts pressure on the device’s processor, which in turn, makes it heat up. The brighter your screen is, the hotter it will feel.
So it’s best to keep your brightness at a moderate level. You can adjust it from your phone’s quick panel. It is recommended that you reduce the brightness level of your VR headset as well. On your Gear VR, the brightness is usually set at 7 by default, but 3 to 5 can be a comfortable level for you to work with.
6. Go on Airplane mode
Another function that constantly keeps your phone working is the cellular network. This keeps running even if no apps are open in the background. If you are at a location where the network is weak, your phone has to work harder to catch the signal. It doesn’t matter what you are using the phone for, this activity is constant.
So when you are watching a movie or playing a game on VR, it would be wise to turn on Airplane Mode. Then your phone does not have to focus on the network at all. You can access this option from the quick panel. When you are done with your game or movie, just tap on the button to turn it back on.
7. Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Unless you are streaming, it might be wise to turn off your Wi-Fi for the same reason you enable Airplane Mode. The same goes for Bluetooth.
8. Close background apps
In addition to keeping your network off, it is also a great idea to close other applications when you are not using them. This is also a common and useful tip to save battery life. It reduces the pressure on your phone’s processor and prevents excessive heating. Just keep the apps you’re using active and close the rest.
9. Turn off notifications
Even when your apps are closed, your notifications remain active until you manually deactivate them. One of the times you might face multiple Gear VR problems is when you are running a game or a movie and two or more different apps are receiving notifications. These often wake up inactive apps and those start running in the background.
Turn on the Do Not Disturb mode on your device. This means your phone will hold notifications until you turn it off. You can access this option from the quick panel above. You can also modify the settings and allow emergency calls and messages if you need to.
10. Do not use the headset during downloads
You don’t need to see the progress of downloads. When your phone is attached to the VR and is downloading content simultaneously, it strains your phone and battery. It is not the same as downloading a file and using another app; VR headsets use a lot of power. So put it down, let the downloads finish first.
11. Use an ordinary fan
This seems like an obvious solution but it works. Although your headset or phone heating up is an internal issue, it can be balanced by cooling the air around it. Many users have found that sitting in front of a desk fan while using the VR headset is a plausible solution.
12. Leave the cover off
Your headset is designed to hold your phone in place. Your phone attaches quite firmly to it. So you can use the headset without putting on the cover. It would not make much of a difference to your virtual reality experience unless you are outdoors. If your phone is not enclosed from all sides, it can let off some heat.
13. Take frequent breaks
If you can’t be bothered trying any of the other fixes, just take frequent breaks when you feel the headset starts heating up. Pause whatever you were doing and lock the phone screen. Give it about 5 minutes to cool down and give your eyes some rest too. Then put it back on.
Here are some other hacks that users have tried but haven’t always worked.
14. Factory reset
A factory reset and cache clearing can remove unwanted apps, files, and data from your phone. This often has a great impact on a phone’s performance and battery. There may be malware or unwanted apps running in the background using up battery power and heating your phone. If you’re willing to try, it’s pretty easy to do:
- Go to Settings and find Backup and Reset. Remember to backup your data to your Google account or external memory card,
- Select Factory data reset
- To confirm, tap on “reset device”
- Read through what Factory Reset means and then tap on “erase everything” to confirm
Give your phone some time. It will reset and reboot on its own.
To clear the cache on your Samsung phone:
- Go to Settings
- Select Storage
- Then select Cache
- Then tap on “delete cache”
15. Use a charger
Do not charge your phone while using Gear VR. Some Samsung phones heat up while charging (and let’s not forget the Note 7 incident).
You can charge the headset while using it. The headset and your phone both run on battery. If you use an external source of power, like a power bank or portable battery, the power usage gets distributed. It reduces stress on the headset’s battery and helps it cool down.
However, many people have reported that this hack made no difference. This may or may not work, but you can give it a try.
All gadgets require good maintenance if you want to use them long-term. You may also have fogging issues with the Gear VR. So,
- Keep your headset clean and wipe it after every use
- Get some no-fog wipes to clean the lenses
- Store it in a dry place (as you should do with all electronic items)
Although Samsung VR overheating has been reported as a common problem, it is a great piece of technology built with both power and comfort in mind. It was praised for both the hardware and software design. If you own one, you probably wouldn’t want to give it up. So try these hacks to cool your headset and make the most of it while you can.