Apple Watch owners sue for injuries caused by swollen batteries

Apple Watch owners sue for injuries caused by swollen batteries


Apple Watch battery repair
Apple didn't leave enough space for expansion, plaintiffs claim.
Photo: iFixit

Apple faces a class action lawsuit from Apple Watch wearers who claim to have been injured by their device after its battery swelled and cracked its screen.

The plaintiffs say Apple, in its efforts to make Apple Watch as thin as possible, doesn’t provide enough space for potential battery expansion. So, when this happens, the display pops out and can leave “razor-sharp edges” exposed.

Apple Watch supposedly injures some wearers

Apple builds almost all of its products to be as thin as possible. It carefully and painstakingly designs every component to intricately fit together inside incredibly small spaces, leaving little to no room for anything else.

That’s certainly true with Apple Watch. To keep the device from being big and bulky, its battery is tightly packed in between the wearable’s display and chassis, so if the battery fails and expands, it usually forces out the screen.

That is not the way Apple Watch should be designed, according to a group of owners who are suing Apple for injuries they’ve suffered as a result of this problem.

“Knowing the battery inside the Watch can suddenly swell, Apple allocated insufficient room inside the Watch for it to freely expand without affecting the Watch screen face,” reads the lawsuit.

‘Razor-sharp edges’ that lead to ‘personal injuries’

“The swelling creates considerable upward pressure on the Watch face, causing detachment, shattering, and/or cracking of the screen through no fault of the wearer, exposing its razor-sharp edges and leading to operational failure of the Watch and/or personal injuries resulting from unintended bodily contact with the detached, shattered, or cracked screen.”

One of the plaintiffs, Chris Smith, who owned an Apple Watch Series 3, was riding a golf cart when he reached down and his three-year-old device’s detached screen “severely sliced” his forearm and cut a vein.

Others are also seeking general, special, incidental, statutory, punitive, and consequential damages for injuries they sustained from the same Apple Watch issue. Ironically, they also want money back for buying new Apple Watch units.

The lawsuit includes all Apple Watch models, with the exception of new Series 7 units, and claims the devices are “unreasonable safety hazards to consumers.” It also says Apple “uniformly failed to disclose … the defect.”

Not the first time

Battery swelling is a rare but real Apple Watch problem that we’ve heard about before. In fact, this isn’t the first a lawsuit has been filed against Apple over the issue. A 2019 case accused Cupertino of fraudulent business practices and breach of warranty using many of the arguments outlined in this one.

Apple also launched a repair program for swollen batteries in Apple Watch Series 2 back in 2018. Eligible devices were fixed free of charge.


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