In a recent post we told you the story of a very unlucky eighth-grade girl whose iPhone exploded in her pocket due after the battery ballooned inside the device. When we said it wasn't an isolated innocent, we weren't kidding. In fact, our tech manager has experienced and dealt with a similar problem.
It started with the manager discovering that the backplate of his iPhone was being forced open from within. He decided to do a diagnostic test and removed the battery cover. The result was literally explosive, with the battery bursting and spewing smoke all over the room. Since our manager hadn't done anything to the battery immediately preceding its combustion, he concluded that the battery had merely reached its last straw. It left him with charred marks on his hands and clothes, but he thankfully escaped before getting second-degree burns like the eighth-grade girl.
Getting to the root of the problem
Our tech manager is a smart guy. When the explosion happened, he knew better than to prioritize his device over his personal safety and ran out of the room. But, once the explosion had completely played out, he got busy with his diagnostic test – albeit a postmortem diagnostic this time. First, he took the battery out of the iPhone body to protect the phone from further damage. This was a difficult feat given the amount of smoke emanating from the device, but he managed to do it. Once the battery was removed, he took stock of the device. It was completely kaput. It is important to note that when assessing the device, our manager was wearing gloves and a mask. Because he is qualified to repair Apple devices, it was safe for him to examine his device. For other people in this situation, that course of action is not recommended. If you choose to go the DIY route after an explosion, though, be sure to wear protective gear, and remember that prolonged smoke exposure can be detrimental to your health.
Sometimes a battery just runs its course, as our tech guy discovered. There are certain factors that can put a battery at greater risk for swelling, including accumulated overcharging, overheating and physical pressure placed on the battery. If you start to see your iPhone's back beginning to burst at the seams, you can protect against needing a complete iPhone repair by instead just getting an iPhone battery replacement. Apart from that, make sure to practice good iPhone home maintenance by not leaving it charged all the time and never putting it in your back pocket.