Ap­ple probes re­ports of swollen iPhone 8 bat­ter­ies

We shouldn’t be too wor­ried though, writes Michael Si­mon

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

You might have seen a tweet or Face­book post over re­cent weeks with a pic­ture of some­one’s swollen iPhone 8 case. A hand­ful of such claims have sur­faced since the phone started ship­ping on 22 Septem­ber, and as ex­pected, they are mak­ing head­lines all across the web. But there’s no rea­son to worry yet.

Bulging bat­ter­ies are caused by a build-up of gases in­side the cell. It gen­er­ally af­fects older bat­ter­ies that are reach­ing the end of their life­span, but while it’s rare, it’s not com­pletely un­com­mon for it to af­fect new bat­ter­ies as well. In fact, if you search for ‘iPhone 7 bat­tery swelling’, you’ll find nu­mer­ous cases of Ap­ple swap­ping out new iPhones that ex­pe­ri­enced the very

prob­lem be­ing spread across so­cial me­dia. In to­tal, there have only been six re­ported cases of bulging bat­ter­ies, an in­finites­i­mally small num­ber when you con­sider the mil­lions of phones that were likely sold since its launch. Granted, there could be many more that haven’t been posted on so­cial me­dia or news sites, but if it was a wide­spread is­sue, we likely would have heard about it by now. Ap­ple has said it is look­ing into the claims. Faulty smart­phones bat­ter­ies re­ceive a lot of at­ten­tion th­ese days due to Sam­sung Galaxy Note7 re­call last year. Back in Septem­ber 2016, re­ports be­gan to emerge of Note 7s that were spon­ta­neously catch­ing on fire, with photo ev­i­dence.

But th­ese are dif­fer­ent prob­lems. In Sam­sung’s case, the is­sue was traced back to sev­eral man­u­fac­tur­ing de­fects. In the most com­mon in­stance, the neg­a­tive elec­trode wind­ings were bent within the bat­ter as­sem­bly, caus­ing in­ter­nal short cir­cuits. Other is­sues in­cluded im­proper weld­ing, sub­stan­dard sep­a­ra­tors, and miss­ing in­su­la­tion tape. In short, Sam­sung’s ven­dors supplied them with faulty bat­ter­ies, which weren’t caught be­fore they ended up in ship­ping phones.

But while there’s no ev­i­dence of iPhone 8 bat­ter­ies caus­ing any harm or prop­erty dam­age, a swelling smart­phone bat­tery is still cause for con­cern. Swelling can af­fect any lithium-ion or lithium-poly­mer bat­tery, and it can af­fect all prod­ucts, not just smart­phones. If your iPhone 8 (or any other phone, tablet, or lap­top) shows signs of swelling, don’t charge your de­vice or try to punc­ture the bat­tery. Take it to your near­est Ap­ple Store where they can prop­erly dis­pose of it.

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