Another iPhone 4 Self Combusts Just Inches From Its Owner’s Face

Another iPhone 4 Self Combusts Just Inches From Its Owner’s Face

An Australian airline revealed in a press release last week that one of its cabin crew was forced to extinguish an iPhone 4 that very nearly burst into flames shortly after the plane touched down in Sydney. As it turns out, that certainly won’t be the last iPhone to self combust.

An iPhone 4 user in Brazil has experienced a similar scenario with his own handset. While charging just inches away from his face, the device began emitting plumes of smoke and caught fire.

As you can see from the photo above, his iPhone is now in pretty bad shape. It’s a very similar scenario to the one reported by the Australian airline, but in this case it would appear to have been more dangerous, with the device allegedly just a foot from its owners face when it went up in flames. As Redmond Pie reports:

The iPhone in question was on charge just a foot from its owner’s face when it apparently began to smoulder, a sure sign that something isn’t right if you ask us!

While all we can do is speculate at this point, it seems the iPhone’s battery is almost always at fault when these devices combust. As I mentioned in my previous report, except for the device that started smoking on a plane, this issue appears to happen when the iPhone is plugged in and charging.

What’s worrying is that millions of us stick our iPhones on charge before we get into bed at night — often right next to the bed — and with no idea what causes this issue, we have no idea how to prevent it.

Apple is yet to respond to any of these reports, and to be honest, we don’t expect a response from the company at this point. While the issue is indeed a serious one, it has only affected a handful of people since the iPhone launched back in 2007. It’ll need to be far more widespread before Apple decides to comment.

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  • Gordon Pavlovic

    Any reports of 4s doing the same thing?

  • McRCN

    Wonder if people with this problem are using an Apple charger or a knock off.

  • Jordan Stocker

    i am guessing that the cases people are using is not letting the heat dissipate.
    and if you are really worried buy a li-po safe bag. they are designed to hold in the fire when a li-po battery fails

  • FriarNurgle

    Dito

  • prof_peabody

    Well that’s 2 phones out of how many hundred million?  

    Must be a crisis!!!! Write an article!  Phone the cops!  Apple is eeeeevvvvviiiiiilllll!!!!!!

  • Nicholas Pausch

    I have certainly changed my charging habits (i charge in the morning @ work) also it seems like these phones are in cases and covered with screen protectors etc perhaps allowing the phone to be a lot more insulated causing higher temperatures?

  • Nicholas Pausch

    I think you would be speaking a different tune if it was your phone that nearly exploded in your face ;)

  • dmchose

    Welcome to the realm if Lith. Batteries. Every manufacturer be it auto, cell, power tools and such  has the same issue. The problem is that they are the best we have at the time. If you use Lithium then understand the issues. They have gotten a lot better in the last 5 years but problems such as this do arise from time to time. Look at it like heating and cooking with gas. It works well but there is always the chance even with all the safety of an explosion or fire. Happens every year.

  • CharliK

    “It’ll need to be far more widespread before Apple decides to comment.”

    Wow what an asshat comment. Of course Apple will comment, when they have a comment to make. But they aren’t going to just pull replies out of thin air same as when there is a bug in this or that software etc. They will comment when they have data with which to make an informed and correct comment. At this point they likely don’t even have the serial numbers of said two phones to start researching the component batches. Certainly they don’t have full reports about how the phones were being charged, with what exact chargers etc. 

    And yes it is true that this has happened perhaps 100 times over the life of all the iPhones. You were responsible enough to point this out. Pity you have to follow it up with the nasty comment and not a reality check that this is something that can and has happened to a variety of items with a rechargeable, especially Lithium based, battery and it’s not actually a uniquely Apple product. 

    It’s such bias and nastiness that has turned this site from a respectable news site to just another hit foddering gossip rag blog that occasionally posts a useful tip etc. Frankly I’d rather have the old Cult of Mac back. 

  • CharliK

    Yep. And again there is the question of user tampering.  That needs to be eliminated from the checklist. 

  • CharliK

    the one on the plane last week was a 4s. But that’s one phone out of millions sold worldwide. And there’s been no verification that the phone wasn’t tampered with (which could have resulted in the battery casing being pricked in the process), or use of a non certified charger etc. 

    So while it is possible that perhaps a small batch of batteries did suffer a microscopic hole that wasn’t visible during QA which then expanded and were ignited by oxygen or moisture, it’s also possible that something totally outside of Apple was the issue. 

    The real trouble is that sites like this rely on page hits and ad income to survive. And they publish these articles because they are heavy hit fodder especially when Apple is involved. And then they get republished and emailed around and suddenly you have Joe Q Public running around screaming about how the iPhone is dangerous and everyone should return theirs right away etc. And screaming lawsuit when it was 1 out of a million or perhaps 100 out of millions. and there is no proof that the iPhone or Apple are to blame. And it’s not an Apple only issue. Most of the common world has no idea that there have been half a dozen non Apple laptop fires. They think this is just an Apple thing thanks to the sites hyping it up for the hits. 

  • GH

    Wow, This jerk had a plastic screen protector on his iPhone, You don’t need those, and if you are on your phone for a while, it doesn’t allow it to cool properly.  *facepalm*

  • GH

    true, it would change to “3″ and “i’m an idiot for  having a plastic screen protector on my beautiful iPhone”

  • Hampus

    Hardly effects the cooling…
    Also, some people very well might need it depending on how careful the are with their device, some like having it in the same pocket as their keys without any extra stuff like a leather case (like i use) in which case the screen protector might be a good idea both for the front and back side of the device…

  • Hampus

    Indeed, I’m pretty sure you can find similar things happening with devices of all kinds and from all manufacturers, but we don’t often see a comment on it as it’s a very rare issue and the likely don’t have much more to say than “Yeah, we know about it and are looking in to it”…

  • GH

    Actually, it does.  At one point Apple banned the sale of them in Apple Stores.  

    Also, unless you own an iPhone, iPhone 3g, or 3gs, your screen is great and scratch resistant without additional protection.

    <http: apple=”" apple-ban-screen-protector=”" gigaom.com=”"></http:>

  • CharliK

    Exactly. Except that you can drop the ‘pretty sure’ as it has happened already. But those other times rarely get the page hits that having Apple in the headline gets. 

  • Barton Lynch

    seriously? I’m a fanboy but this is a problem and blaming it on the screen protector is ridiculous. 

  • lrd

    Sounds to me like the mobile industry is trying its best to spread FUD about iPhones. Must be the red hot selling iPhone 4S sales figures plus Siri that has them worried.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the UK. He has an interest in all things tech, but most enjoys covering Apple, anything mobile, and gaming. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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