A good old iPhone 4, over ten years old, recently caught fire while quietly being charged in a family’s kitchen, and the explosion was caught on camera. An event that could have been dramatic, the fire having broken out during the night while the family was sleeping. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
An incident under control
If you thought that recent iPhones were more prone to catching fire because of their fast charging and large battery, know that this can happen with an iPhone 4, a model released in 2010. This incident is an opportunity to recall this which can cause a battery to explode.
Details of what happened were revealed in a Facebook post by Ohio residents Brian and Jennifer Leisgang. The family claims the video was captured by a Google Home in the kitchen that was set to always record.
The family explains how the scenario could have turned into a nightmare:
Avoiding a fire in the house was a great stroke of luck. Our kids were using the Apple charger to charge our old iPhone 4 when it exploded and caught fire in our kitchen last night while we were sleeping.
There are usually a lot of school books and papers on the counter, but luckily we had cleaned all that up yesterday. This morning the counter was covered in small pieces of the phone and black soot.
Why can an iPhone battery explode?
Although lithium-ion batteries are frequently used in electronic devices with a very low fire hazard, it is not impossible that overheating will lead to an explosion. Manufacturing defects, puncture damage, power surges or exposure to high heat are common causes.
In this case, although the charging cable appears to be in good condition, cheap chargers are often the cause of battery fires.
Another factor to consider is the age of the iPhone. Older iPhones are not especially a higher fire risk, but battery maintenance is very important. An iPhone that’s been in use for 12 years will either have a replacement battery or almost constantly plugged into a charger. And in this case, overheating may be more frequent.
Also, as they age, lithium-ion batteries can grow in size. The energy is generated by a chemical reaction that takes place inside the battery, but over time the chemical reaction can weaken and produce a gas. As a result, the battery swells and is much more likely to catch fire.
Conclusion, if you want to use an iPhone that is starting to age, consider having the battery checked. You can also check its capacity in the iOS settings, and if necessary, go to the Apple Store to have the battery changed. For a few tens of euros, you will leave with an iPhone in great shape. Otherwise, do the sales to find the latest iPhone 14 on sale.