iPhone 4 Cable Bursts Into Flame, Developer Blames It On iOS 5 Beta

iPhone 4 Cable Bursts Into Flame, Developer Blames It On iOS 5 Beta

Electrical fault or bug? We’d be willing to guess the former, but an iOS developer testing his software running iOS 5 Beta 2 says that the latest developer preview caused his iPhone 4 cable to erupt into flame.

Early this morning, Gus Pinto (who describes his trade as “Pioneering Mac Desktop Virtualization. iOS, Mac & Android Development”) tweeted:

My charging cable caught on fire while charging my iPhone 4 running iOS5. #fail

Luckily, Gus said he was about to put the fire out before it spread to his iPhone 4, so his actual device was unharmed… as well as his home.

Even so, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the iOS 5 Beta causing devices to run hot… even too hot. At the beginning of July, another developer’s iPad developed massive overheating issues that caused the entire device to meltdown. Apple replaced that unit under warranty.

MobileCrunch also reports that they have received many reports of overheating iOS devices running iOS 5 Beta 2.

To us, this sounds like a wiring issue that may have been exacerbated by the iOS 5 beta still not having worked out all the kinks with battery and heat management, causing devices to run hotter than normal. This sounds like a fluke, a perfect storm of unlucky coincidences. Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on your iOS 5 test device when it’s plugged into the wall, don’t you think?

  • Wayne_Luke

    One thing about the cables that come with out iOS devices… They have always been cheaply made and prone to break where the cable joins the 30-pin connector. Easy fix as well. Just extend the molded plastic half an inch down the cable to protect the joint.

  • prof_peabody

    It’s worth pointing out that in a really large number of these “iPod/whatever catches fire” cases, the culprit turns out to be a fine layer of cat pee on the connector. 

    Cats love warm laptops and mobile devices and they pee pretty much constantly although we like to pretend that they are housetrained.

  • CSMcDonald

    Well that’s a good theory except that Gus doesn’t have cats.

  • dcj001

    And, if he was eating a hamburger, and right after he put ketchup on it and took a bite, the flame occurred, maybe the ketchup was the catalyst for the ignition.

    Heinz is in big trouble!

  • Marcio Morgado

    I would keep an eye on it.

  • Annoynomous

    Uh oh.. I am running iOS 5 Beta 2. never experienced any overheating yet. Hope this doesn’t happen to me.

  • Yoda V

    mmm…Cats? Yes, let’s blame the small furry animal.

  • Rory Jones

    iPhones don’t burst into flames due to software. Nothing does.

    iOS devices shut down before they overheat, or at least they should. If you leave your phone in a hot car or on the dash for en extended period it won’t turn back on until it’s cooled down.

  • Deon Foster

    I am rather convinced that some moisture was involved here. 

  • Kevin Deodath

    I had a similar issue with my charging cable when it was plugged into Apple’s Digital AV Adapter. All I was doing was streaming Netflix through an HDMI cable that was also connected to the adapter. 

  • Rusty Greer
  • Rusty Greer

    you won’t dont worry

  • Bob Forsberg

    Stirring up the crap again, I see.

  • Noella Licandro

    Interesting considering apple just made their beta program http://bit.ly/oGml67 open to the public.

  • kavok

    The OS has nothing to do with the cable.  My cable did the same thing with my original iPhone in 2007.  The issue is wiring shorting out inside the connector right where the cable meets with the plastic dock connector.  The cable is vulnerable at this location, especially when people use their device for internet access while plugged in to charge, etc.  Apple was VERY concerned that no one was injured and nothing happened to the iPhone itself and sent me a replacement cable.  There hasn’t been any issues for me ever since.  I just make sure I don’t crush or bend the cable right at the connector to keep the wiring intact.

  • Karthik Ramgopal

    You’re charging it the wrong way

    -Steve
    Sent from my iPad

  • joewaylo

    or it used to. On Saturday, I left my iPhone 4 in the car. Mainly because I can’t take it with me on whitewater rafting. I know if I did, the phone would get wet and useless.

    When I got to my car 5.5 hours later (8:30-2), I pushed the sleep button to see if I received any calls. The screen’s brightness automatically set to it’s lowest in order to avoid overheating. But the iPhone could still be used including GPS when I had to travel from state to state.

    The temperature was around 95F outside roasting on the iPhone while it sat on my car floor. After a few minutes placed on top of a cooling vent with the AC defrost set to full blast cold temperatures, the screen resumed to full brightness.

  • mai duc chung

    The usual idea is that you would use NFC to set up the link between the two devices and then do an automatic hand over to a different protocol for doing the actual transfer of data – eg Bluetooth,iphone 5

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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