Samsung Gear VR: Tips, Tricks, & Fixes for Overheating Devices

Samsung took a leap a few months ago when it released the consumer version of the Gear VR. The device allows users to experience videos and games in virtual reality thanks to a nifty headset and a compatible phone for a great price. Reviews and sales figure estimates have generally been positive but, unfortunately, there’s always a catch or a bit of bad news mixed in the with the good.

A common complaint across many reviews of the Gear VR has been the issue of overheating. Phones are overheating and shutting down the VR experience in under an hour of use, in some cases. The future is here, but it apparently needs some time to cool-down.

Thankfully, enterprising early adopters have figured out a few ways to prevent overheating. Below are various tips, tricks, and fixes fans have discovered so far. Though none of these are guaranteed (and some are beyond what Samsung itself might recommend) if you're looking for ways to make your Gear VR experience last longer, here's what you can try. 

Airplane mode

Switching on your phone’s “airplane mode” will shut off every one of your phone’s wireless connections and, in this case, not suck up your phone’s battery life or tax its performance. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to stream anything either (unless you activate your WiFi inside airplane mode) so you’ll be stuck watching videos and playing games you’ve previously downloaded.

"Do Not Disturb" mode

Galaxy phones come with a neat feature known as “do not disturb mode.” It’s a selective version of “airplane mode” that allows users to choose what alerts, calls, and other notifications they want to receive. You can enable this feature inside the Gear VR's menu. Use this wisely, keep your phone quiet, and enjoy.

Download content outside of VR 

Streaming and downloading content strains your device. Be patient, young grasshopper, and download all the basic necessities, games, and apps that you want to try out via your normal phone interface, before diving into virtual reality.

Use an external power source

This tip appears to be hit-or-miss. Some users have noticed a huge difference in overheating while using a portable battery charger or plugging into some other power source. Attaching a charger to the headset offsets the amount of power used by the phone, such as the headset’s head tracking sensor.

Oddly enough, some users noticed no change at all or even worse overheating issues. It’s still worth a shot though!

Lower the brightness

A number of folks online have suggested lowering the Gear VR’s brightness setting as well as your phone’s brightness setting. The Gear VR’s default setting is at 7. The recommended setting is from 3 to 5.

Use a fan

There are two ways to do this. The first is to physically modify your Gear VR and install a small fan (which is pretty complicated). The second is (prepare to laugh) to literally sit in front of a fan while wearing your Gear VR.

Close all programs and apps before using VR

Outside of the world of VR, friends of mine have complained about their phone’s weak battery life. These friends are the same ones who run multiple apps on their phone simultaneously. It’s the same situation when using the Gear VR. Shut down everything before jumping into the world of 3D like the Lawnmower Man.

Remove the cover

Let the Gear VR go au naturale and remove the plastic back cover. Let that baby breathe the cool night air and prevent any heat from getting trapped between it and your phone.

Build a DIY heat sink

Head to the kitchen and grab some tape and some aluminum foil. Three minutes later, voila! You’ll have your very own non-electronic, passive heat sink! Check out this reddit thread for more details and images like the one above. 

Did we miss anything? What have you tried that works? Feel free to add your own tips in the comments section.