Conventional treatments fail to completely eradicate tumor or bacterial infections due to their inherent shortcomings. In recent years, photothermal therapy (PTT) has emerged as an attractive treatment modality that relies on the absorption of photothermal agents (PTAs) at a specific wavelength, thereby transforming the excitation light energy into heat. The advantages of PTT are its high efficacy, specificity, and minimal damage to normal tissues. To this end, various inorganic nanomaterials such as gold nanostructures, carbon nanostructures, and transition metal dichalcogenides have been extensively explored for PTT applications. Subsequently, the focus has shifted to the development of polymeric PTAs, owing to their unique properties such as biodegradability, biocompatibility, non-immunogenicity, and low toxicity when compared to inorganic PTAs. Among various organic PTAs, polyaniline (PANI) is one of the best-known and earliest-reported organic PTAs. Hence, in this review, we cover the recent advances and progress of PANI-based biomaterials for PTT application in tumors and bacterial infections. The future prospects in this exciting area are also addressed. © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.