Apple is investigating how an AirPod exploded and very nearly injured its owner. A Tampa, Florida man was listening to music at the gym when he noticed smoke billowing out of his ear. Fortunately for him, he took the AirPod out before it ended up in tiny pieces.
AirPods are powered by miniature lithium-ion batteries — just like those inside your smartphone, tablet, and lots of other gadgets. Most of the time, they’re perfectly safe. But every so often, one of those batteries malfunctions and ends up in flames.
AirPods go boom
That’s exactly what happened to one of Jason Colon’s AirPods. “It’s the craziest thing I ever went through,” he told WFLA.
Colon was listening to a dance mix while working out at LA Fitness in St. Petersburg when he noticed something wasn’t right. “And then I saw white smoke start billowing out,” he explains. He was wise enough to take the AirPods out and place them down on gym equipment before seeking help.
When Colon returned, his right AirPod was no longer intact.
“It was already like this. It was already popped,” he said, clutching the tiny pieces of the AirPod. “I didn’t see it happen, but I mean, it was already fried. You can see the flame damage.”
Apple is investigating
This certainly isn’t a common problem. It’s the first time we’ve heard of an AirPod exploding since the wireless earbuds went on sale in December 2016. But Apple assured WFLA that it is investigating the report and will reach out to Colon in an effort to get to the bottom of it.
“I don’t know what would’ve happened to me ear,” Colon said. “But I’m sure since [the AirPod] hangs down… [my] earlobe could’ve been burnt.”
This kind of thing rarely happens with Apple batteries, but iPhones have been known to overheat and burst into flames in the past. You can’t avoid using lithium-ion batteries, so it’s better to just be prepared in case this kind of thing happens. Do what Colon did: put down the device and get away.