iPhone 8 Exploding? Bulging Batteries Actually a Safety Measure

Apple is investigating reports of a major defect.

Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

Apple is investigating reports that some iPhone 8 devices have swollen and split apart under mysterious circumstances. The company has yet to explain the possible reasons behind two reports of bulging phones — one of which arrived to its new owner split apart in the packaging.

It is unclear at this stage why the phones broke apart, but a swollen device isn’t generally a sign of imminent explosion. In fact, it’s typically a sign of good smartphone safety design. Lithium-ion batteries can run into problems because of manufacturing defects, issues with the charger, and internal failure.

Many smartphone batteries, including the one in the iPhone 8, are designed to swell up rather than explode, giving the user enough time to immediately switch it off and take it back to the manufacturer. A swollen phone is a sign something has gone wrong with the battery, but the alternative is much worse.

In an incident in Japan, Mashable reports the buyer of a brand-new iPhone 8 Plus discovered his device splitting open from the moment it came out of the box. An Apple representative told the publication that it is investigating the two incidents, but did not comment on specifics.

Twitter user Magokoro0511 has shared images of the bulging phone on social media:

The company’s latest smartphone is not going down well. A number of lukewarm reviews described the iPhone 8 as a “niche” upgrade with a “dated” design prior to its launch. On September 22, the phone hit shelves and it was the turn of the consumer to decide for themselves. Unfortunately, these incidents may not be quite what Apple had in mind.

For now, it seems that with just two incidents, it’s too early to call it a problem on the scale of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, whose batteries very much did explode. That led to a mass recall and a long-standing investigation. Hopefully, in the case of Apple, this issue doesn’t swell up any further — though, the fact it’s swelling up at all is actually a good sign.

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