iPhone battery explodes in Maine 8th grader’s back pocket

“A middle school student’s iPhone blew up when she sat down with the device in her back pocket,” Joel Landau reports for The New York Daily News. “”

“A class at the Middle School in Kennebunk, Me., had to be cleared out Friday morning when a female eighth grade student said her pants were burning her after she sat down and heard a pop, principal Jeffrey Rodman told the Daily News Saturday” Landau reports. “Though the student was understandably panicked the rest of the class came quickly to her aid. A female teacher came into the room, as the boys in the class waited outside, Rodman said. The student quickly raced to the corner and took off her pants, he said. The phone fell out of the pocket and she rolled on the ground thinking she may be on fire, he said.”

Landau reports, “The student was treated for minor burns and is expected to return to school Monday.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Do not place stress on your iPhone in any fashion that would cause it to bend or break. iPhone is a battery-powered electrical device. Bending or breaking your iPhone is not among intended use cases and doing so may cause loss of device functionality and/or personal injury.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Lynn Weiler” and “silverhawk1” for the heads up.]

68 Comments

    1. Am I the only one who picked up on the word… “explodes” here??? You know, like the explosion blew up the house, it could be heard for miles, the shock wave broke windows for thousands of feet……??????

      While I am totally happy that the girl is unhurt, a swelling, crackling and hot unit did NOT explode. The NY Daily News is obviously in serious need of selling papers and faking headlines.

      Now I have a better idea about why everyone thinks that Apple is in such dire straights. “Samsung Galaxy XX sells billions of phones in minutes” “Apple is failing (to dominate the world)”, yep, it makes more sense now. LOL

    2. To be fair, Jobs never said to consumer that he holded iPhone 4 wrong. After back and forth mailing with advises and replies, as the last advice Jobs wrote “try hold [iPhone] differently”.

  1. I’m sure sections of the media, particularly the Daily Mail in the UK, will try to spin this as a flaw in Apple’s design or construction, rather than someone putting a Li-ion powered device into the back pocket of a tight pair of jeans, sitting down, and causing the device to fracture, causing a short-circuit, something Li-ion batteries are very susceptible to.
    No fault of Apple’s, and it would be even more of an issue with a humongous Samsung phablet.

    1. Actually this would have been less of an issue with a Samsung phablet as the humongous size is actually a safety feature, making it next to impossible to put said phone in the back pocket of tight ass skinny jeans.

    1. Curiously enough, the energy density of modern batteries such as those used in phones is getting up to the sort of levels associated with explosives.

      It’s a well known thing that if you mechanically damage a lithium battery, they can catch fire or explode. There are loads of YouTube videos of people doing that on purpose.

  2. Uhm, there is actually a flaw in the current release of iOS7 where it sometimes fails to properly switch networks and as a result will completely lock up and run increasingly hot. Had this happen several times where I just discovered it in time to prevent real harm. I can see how being buried in a backpack in this situation might lead to the explosion of the battery.

      1. I’m actually more OK with iOS 7 than I thought I’d be, and more OK than I am with Mavericks. That said, I don’t hate Mavericks released with some irritating things that I hope are corrected in the future. Some already have been.

    1. Buildingautomator, I do not have any data with which to assess your statement regarding the alleged flaw in iOS7. However, I do not see how it could have been the root cause of this incident. First, you would think that the student would have felt the heat buildup from an iPhone running “increasingly hot” in her back pocket. Second, under this situation, I would expect Apple devices to shut down when reaching a defined thermal limit.

      This event was accompanied by a “pop” and seemed to happen fairly quickly. Regardless, if the student had quickly removed the offending iPhone from her back pocket, then I doubt that we would even be discussing “minor burns.”

      1. I have had several iPhones shut off when exposed to extremely high ambient temperatures for a period of time. Such as being outside in direct sunlight or too close to a heat source. All phones are designed to shut down when over heated. It’s just a basic safety function. I suppose it could be a battery issue that would not be affected by the device shutting off? When you make millions and millions and millions of devices anomalies happen. However my guess is that abuse plays a factor here. Student and cell phone in the back pocket just sounds like a recipe for disaster. It’s a cell phone! Don’t sit on the damn thing!

    2. Theres one flaw in your argument. The iPhone when it overheats will shut down automatically. I have seen mine do it. It will not just keep heating up till it lights on fire or explodes. I left mine in the sun on a very hot 105 degree day and had it shut down. It even tells you on screen that it is shutting down and is too hot.

  3. How nice for MDN to share their professional guidance with us! Fair to say that MDN’s guidance and instructions also applies to Samsung? MDN sure has a field day whenever another manufacturer?’so phone start a fire or explode etc….

    1. The question is, will Apple require that the 8th grader and/or parents of the 8th grader, to sign a document that protects Apple against any legal action, resulting from the iPhone battery exploding, before Apple will replace said iPhone? Samsung has required such a document be signed in the case of the Samsung S4 overheating and got fire.

    2. While we are at it, it is also not a good idea to be standing in a bathtub full of water while holding an iPod, a MacBook Pro running Microsoft Word, a toaster, and a hair dryer plugged into the wall.

      I only know that because I read it in a manual.

    1. What kind of dimwit sits down with *anything* in the back pocket, like a wallet? Oh wait, that’d be a surprisingly huge number. Never understood what’s wrong with the front pockets.

      1. That’s actually a really good point. I don’t carry anything in my back pocket, including wallets, because it’s generally uncomfortable to do so.

        It also makes me more open to theft, and that’s not even sitting down, which isn’t at all good.

        It sounds bit fishy because if her jeans were so tight that they were like a second skin, let’s say, wouldn’t having a phone in her back pocket be really, really unpleasant?

        Besides, I haven’t seen a young person that could actually keep a phone in their pocket long enough to sit on.

        1. My niece broke her iPhone glass the first day she had it. Sat down with it in the back pocket. Now this might be an argument in favor of developing a curved screen!

          1. Or maybe that you shouldn’t carry a sensitive electronic device in your back pocket, especially if you weigh enough to break it–I have accidentally left my iPod touch in my back pocket, and only knew that it was there when I sat down.

            Never broke it though, though I made sure that I didn’t do it again.

            1. It doesn’t have much to do with weight as with the pressure to bend/flex placed on the iPhone in the jeans pocket against a hard surface like a school desk chair. Throw in the very high likelihood that an 8th grade girl was wearing jeans too tight for the phone to move in, and you essentially put the iPhone in a vise and applied pressure to one side.

            2. But for that to happen wouldn’t–for the person wearing them–have to wearing some really tight pants (loose pants would probably allow the phone to shift, which might have saved it)?

              Assuming that to be the case, I can’t see how they could even sit comfortably in the first place, before noticing the phone, and removing it.

            3. Kids do the dumbest things as the saying goes! And expecting logic—well you’re really asking a lot! Glad mine is 18 and graduating this year, praying for adult logic to kick in soon.

        2. My chiropractor finally broke my “wallet in the back pocket” habit. I’m so much better off now. Nothing ever in the back pocket again for me. And the money clip I now use instead of a wallet was my Dad’s. Double win!

  4. Ok. Take the phone to an Apple Store and lets see if it has the original battery or a replacement from somewhere else. Until then its just a story the papers will print without bothering to get to the truth

  5. These batteries will do that if they get broken or punctured. I for one never carry my phone in my back pocket because of that or the display could break. The back pockets on jeans are pretty tight and when you sit down it gets even more tight. All that pressure is now on your device.

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