Apple blames third-party battery for exploding headphones


Apple doesn't say which batteries should be used with its devices.
Apple doesn't say which batteries should be used with its devices.
Photo: ATSB

Apple has blamed a third-party battery for the explosion of a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.

Apple does not specify which batteries should be used with its devices, and the owner, who was wearing the headphones when they blew up on a flight between Australia and China, is “disappointed” with the company’s response.

Batteries are known to be explosive if you abuse them, but sometimes they can combust spontaneously due to faults we weren’t aware of — as Samsung knows only too well. An Australian woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, found this out the hard way.

While wearing a pair of unspecified Apple headphones on a flight to China, the headphones blew up in her face after she dozed off.

“As I went to turn around I felt burning on my face. I just grabbed my face which caused the headphones to go around my neck,” she told officials. “I continued to feel burning so I grabbed them off and threw them on the floor. They were sparking and had small amounts of fire.”

An Apple representative explained that the company’s investigation “indicated the issue was caused by a third-party battery.”

The woman is “disappointed” with Apple’s response, and says that “nowhere on the headphones, or their packaging, does it specify which brand of batteries should be used”. The AAA batteries were purchased in Australia, but the make and model are unclear.

The headphones were purchased in 2014, and although they haven’t been identified, they are likely to be Beats Executive cans, which used AAA batteries for noise-cancellation. No Apple-branded headphones require replaceable batteries, though AirPods have their own built-in.

The woman suffered burns on her hands, neck, and chest as a result of the explosion, as well as damage to her clothing. She is seeking compensation from Apple, but it doesn’t look like the company has any intention of paying up.

  • jennyzeroo

    Best customer service in the world.

    • Jim

      How is this Apple’s fault? She should be calling on the battery manufacturer! They should be talking and paying up. So in your world if the 3rd party tires you put on your car fail and you crash, that is the car makers fault??

      • Ricardo Resende

        I shoot you with my gun, but the guilty is the gun

      • Ahmed J

        That is the worst analogy ever presented Ricardo.

  • Stetch

    I dont see why Apple should be blamed because of a third-party battery exploded that just happend to be in an Apple product. Like I should blame IKEA because I sat on one of their sofas when I hit my head with a hammer bought somewhere else.

    • OrionBeast

      You don’t see a thing because you’d need a brain for that lul.
      And that’s a very bad analogy. You should definitely blame IKEA if they give you a sofa that breaks as soon as you hump on it.

      • Jim

        That makes no sense because that’s not what happened here. A better analogy would be to blame the car company for the failure (causing crash) of the 3rd party tires you installed. We wouldn’t do that, we would blame the tire manufacturer. So this person should be after the battery manufacturer, not Apple.

      • stanhope the corner with that frequently worn fashion accessory in your closet the DUNCE cap

      • OrionBeast

        mkay lul-worthy comment

  • Anthony Velazquez

    Lmao, she wants to sue apple because batteries from a separate manufacturer blew up lmao…..god I hope my car battery blows up so I can sue the car company! SMH

    • Jim

      Yes, perfect analogy! The Apple hating trolls are out in force today with their no-logic nonsense. Here’s another one: Blame the maker of the water bottle for the led in the water I got from the tap. LOL, we could make many of these! ;-)

  • Bob Smith

    Samsung batteries for sure

  • TMMao

    if the headphones are designed to use AAA batteries, then it should work with ALL AAA BATTERIES, unless apple specifically stated in the owner’s manual that only certain brands of AAA batteries are approved. This is a cop-out on apple’s part.

    • Scr-U-gle

      Do they have to state not to use damaged or faulty batteries?

      If you read the article again, she used unidentifiable third-party batteries, she doesn’t know which batteries were use.

      What has this to do with Apple?

      If you put a defective Samboom battery in a Google Pixel and it blows up, who do you blame? I’m guessing Apple.

  • Scr-U-gle

    Did Samboom make the batteries? They have a long and well documented history of exploding stuff, fridges, washing machines, not-so smart phones!

  • Lillynyx

    The point is that there was nothing from Apple to indicate that ‘3rd party’ batteries should NOT be used…nothing to say what type/brand should be used. Typically when any device needs batteries replaced, people simply buy new batteries and replace them.

    • ResqDogz

      Actually, that IS the point: ANY 3-party battery that is used, bears the responsibility for the failure of THEIR product – NOT the Apple headphones they were deployed in!
      Interestingly, battery warranties usually carry a disclaimer that they are responsible for the replacement of their failed cells only – and their warranties specifically claim no responsibility for collateral damage to the device they’re used in (ie, their cell leaks corrosive materials that irreparably compromise the device they’re in – flashlight, adio, camera, etc). The difference in THIS specific circumstance appears to be that their cells overheats and exploded, causing the fire that subsequently destroyed the headphones AND injured the hapless woman wearing them.
      Any reputable legal counsel will confirm that the culpability lies with the battery manufacturer.
      Incidentally – Apple’s own branded rechargeable cells ARE “bullet-proof”,with incredible longevity (speaking from years of personal experience with them) – regardless of the device they are installed in.

      • Lillynyx

        Is there something on the Apple headphones that specifically states that their batteries only are to be used? If so, then I was wrong. I didn’t see that stated in the article.

      • ResqDogz

        Not to my knowledge, but it’s completely irrelevant, in any case: Using any battery from any manufacturer will result in a variety of differing performance circumstances – whether it’s merely shorter battery life from a “lesser” brand, or utter product failure and catastrophe from substandard manufacturing… the point being, the headphones themselves did not “fail” – the cheap batteries exploded and compromise them!

        The earlier analogies posed illustrate this quite simply – particularly the tire/car scenario: Would we hold the automobile manufacturer responsible for a roll-over, if an owner elected to “go cheap” and install inferior, defective tires or retreads – and THEY failed, blew-out, or a sidewall collapsed? Of course not – the onus would be on substandard tire manufacturer!

  • Selma cedraz

    O meu pegou fogo no meu bolso e nada fizeram até hoje