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.