Apple investigating iPhone 6 explosion in California

Posted:
in iPhone
Apple is investigating why an iPhone 6 owned by an 11-year-old girl in California 'exploded' while being used to watch YouTube videos, an incident that luckily avoided any serious injury to the child or property damage.

An iPhone 6 that caught fire in California in July 2019 (via 23ABC)
An iPhone 6 that caught fire in California in July 2019 (via 23ABC)


Kayla Ramos was using her iPhone 6 in a sister's bedroom when the fire took place, and was holding the device when it ignited. After seeing "sparks flying everywhere" from the iPhone, Ramos threw it away from her and onto a nearby blanket.

Ramos told 23ABC on Thursday she did burn herself, but the main damage was sustained by the blanket and bed, which now have burn marks and holes where the iPhone landed. The iPhone 6 itself has partially disassembled itself, with the display panel separated from the main body, showing a considerable amount of burn marks on the inside of the device.

Mother Maria Adata told the report "My child could have caught on fire and she could have been hurt more and I am glad she's ok." Adata added she would no longer sleep with it nearby, suggesting "I know we charge it a lot, maybe that caused it, maybe it overheated."



Apple advised to Adata there could be a few factors that could cause overheating, such as the use of unauthorized charging cables and chargers. Such accessories are suspected to be the cause of some previous fires, including one incident in British Columbia that destroyed a farmhouse in 2016.

Apple also said unauthorized Apple repairs and external damage to an iPhone may also cause a battery failure down the line. In these cases, the company strongly advises customers to get in touch with its support teams, an Apple Store, or an authorized service provider.

In Ramos' case, Apple is investigating the cause of the damage, having already requested photographs from her mother, and is willing to send a replacement iPhone once the damaged version has been sent off for inspection.

Fires from iPhones are relatively rare occurrences, but do happen given the large number of the smartphones are sold around the world, and the small risks involved in using lithium-ion batteries.

In November 2018, an iPhone X started to smoke and caught fire after completing an update to iOS 12.1 and being charged by Apple's official Lightning cable and wall adapter, but it is unclear if the software update actually triggered the ignition. Another iPhone XS Max caught fire in December of the same year, overheating while in an Ohio man's pocket.

More unusually, one January 2018 incident saw an iPhone battery explode in an electronics store in China during servicing, after a customer bit the battery.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,146member
    Perhaps the public needs to be better informed on these things:
    Simply demanding that "You use OUR parts and OUR services" obviously is not going to take care of the problem because too many people will ignore the edict for a variety of reasons.

    So, WHY does using a non-Apple charging cable lead to a fire?   What is so much different about an Apple cable vs the one you buy in drugstore?  Until or unless people understand that there IS a difference, they will go with the lower cost and convenience of picking one up at the drugstore as they check out.
    chaickamike54dysamoriachemengin1kuraimuthuk_vanalingamurahara
  • Reply 2 of 47
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,669member
    The iPhone 6 is an old model - first released in 2014 and sales stopped in 2016, so the phone is almost 3 years old at a minimum. The article doesn’t say exactly how old the phone was, but from the description, I would suspect that it was a hand-me-down device the kids were using to play games and watch videos. If this is the case, the battery was likely pretty old and may have been ‘abused’ somewhat. I’ve seen plenty of devices for which the battery is dead and kids just leave them plugged in constantly.

    iPhone fires are quite unusual so it makes me wonder if there was other damage and/or a defective charger being used - both of these could lead to the battery overheating. GIven the age, it’s also possible that it had a defective replacement battery installed. Even considering this, though, you never want to have a device explode like this.
    chaickaurahara
  • Reply 3 of 47
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,146member
    MplsP said:
    The iPhone 6 is an old model - first released in 2014 and sales stopped in 2016, so the phone is almost 3 years old at a minimum. The article doesn’t say exactly how old the phone was, but from the description, I would suspect that it was a hand-me-down device the kids were using to play games and watch videos. If this is the case, the battery was likely pretty old and may have been ‘abused’ somewhat. I’ve seen plenty of devices for which the battery is dead and kids just leave them plugged in constantly.

    iPhone fires are quite unusual so it makes me wonder if there was other damage and/or a defective charger being used - both of these could lead to the battery overheating. GIven the age, it’s also possible that it had a defective replacement battery installed. Even considering this, though, you never want to have a device explode like this.
    NONE of that is any excuse for a fire.   NONE.   ZERO.
    mike54dysamoriachemengin1beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 4 of 47
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,669member
    MplsP said:
    The iPhone 6 is an old model - first released in 2014 and sales stopped in 2016, so the phone is almost 3 years old at a minimum. The article doesn’t say exactly how old the phone was, but from the description, I would suspect that it was a hand-me-down device the kids were using to play games and watch videos. If this is the case, the battery was likely pretty old and may have been ‘abused’ somewhat. I’ve seen plenty of devices for which the battery is dead and kids just leave them plugged in constantly.

    iPhone fires are quite unusual so it makes me wonder if there was other damage and/or a defective charger being used - both of these could lead to the battery overheating. GIven the age, it’s also possible that it had a defective replacement battery installed. Even considering this, though, you never want to have a device explode like this.
    NONE of that is any excuse for a fire.   NONE.   ZERO.
    How is a damaged battery not a reasonable explanation for a fire?
    fruitstandninjaandrewj5790StrangeDaysradarthekatronnvirtualshiftapplesnorangestommikeleFileMakerFellercornchip
  • Reply 5 of 47
    chaickachaicka Posts: 148member
    Perhaps the public needs to be better informed on these things:
    Simply demanding that "You use OUR parts and OUR services" obviously is not going to take care of the problem because too many people will ignore the edict for a variety of reasons.

    So, WHY does using a non-Apple charging cable lead to a fire?   What is so much different about an Apple cable vs the one you buy in drugstore?  Until or unless people understand that there IS a difference, they will go with the lower cost and convenience of picking one up at the drugstore as they check out.
    Hahaha... Deja Vu. That's how some of my friends/relatives who had near fire incidents years ago which gladfully changed some of their mindset and behaviour to no longer buy cheap knock-off cables and chargers. One of the incident was a lightning cable melting right before his eyes before he rushed to switch the power off.
    virtualshift
  • Reply 6 of 47
    nhtnht Posts: 4,496member
    MplsP said:
    MplsP said:
    The iPhone 6 is an old model - first released in 2014 and sales stopped in 2016, so the phone is almost 3 years old at a minimum. The article doesn’t say exactly how old the phone was, but from the description, I would suspect that it was a hand-me-down device the kids were using to play games and watch videos. If this is the case, the battery was likely pretty old and may have been ‘abused’ somewhat. I’ve seen plenty of devices for which the battery is dead and kids just leave them plugged in constantly.

    iPhone fires are quite unusual so it makes me wonder if there was other damage and/or a defective charger being used - both of these could lead to the battery overheating. GIven the age, it’s also possible that it had a defective replacement battery installed. Even considering this, though, you never want to have a device explode like this.
    NONE of that is any excuse for a fire.   NONE.   ZERO.
    How is a damaged battery not a reasonable explanation for a fire?
    He’s hyper-critical of apple so any reasoned response is not to be expected.
    macplusplusStrangeDaysandrewj5790ronnlkruppGabyMplsPDuhSesameapplesnorangeschasm
  • Reply 7 of 47
    chaickachaicka Posts: 148member
    MplsP said:
    The iPhone 6 is an old model - first released in 2014 and sales stopped in 2016, so the phone is almost 3 years old at a minimum. The article doesn’t say exactly how old the phone was, but from the description, I would suspect that it was a hand-me-down device the kids were using to play games and watch videos. If this is the case, the battery was likely pretty old and may have been ‘abused’ somewhat. I’ve seen plenty of devices for which the battery is dead and kids just leave them plugged in constantly.

    iPhone fires are quite unusual so it makes me wonder if there was other damage and/or a defective charger being used - both of these could lead to the battery overheating. GIven the age, it’s also possible that it had a defective replacement battery installed. Even considering this, though, you never want to have a device explode like this.
    NONE of that is any excuse for a fire.   NONE.   ZERO.
    Perhaps avoid buying, owning, using any appliances/devices which has Li-ion/Li-Polymer battery inside (regardless removal or not). That means any smartphone, most electric toothbrush, laptops, tablets, power banks. Hmm...anything else I missed?
    edited July 14 MplsPradarthekaturahara
  • Reply 8 of 47
    chaickachaicka Posts: 148member
    MplsP said:
    The iPhone 6 is an old model - first released in 2014 and sales stopped in 2016, so the phone is almost 3 years old at a minimum. The article doesn’t say exactly how old the phone was, but from the description, I would suspect that it was a hand-me-down device the kids were using to play games and watch videos. If this is the case, the battery was likely pretty old and may have been ‘abused’ somewhat. I’ve seen plenty of devices for which the battery is dead and kids just leave them plugged in constantly.

    iPhone fires are quite unusual so it makes me wonder if there was other damage and/or a defective charger being used - both of these could lead to the battery overheating. GIven the age, it’s also possible that it had a defective replacement battery installed. Even considering this, though, you never want to have a device explode like this.
    I noticed a lot of kids (sometimes, even adults) love to charge while still using (e.g. playing PUBG while charging). Often, I notice the iPhones/iPads run rather hot (warmer than usual) when they do so. Is this not another potential higher risk factor that so many people are ignoring until some serious incident happens?
    mike54
  • Reply 9 of 47
    I noticed a lot of kids (sometimes, even adults) love to charge while still using (e.g. playing PUBG while charging). Often, I notice the iPhones/iPads run rather hot (warmer than usual) when they do so. Is this not another potential higher risk factor that so many people are ignoring until some serious incident happens?
    I haven't come across any advisories or instructions from Apple that suggest avoiding charging while using iPhones.
    mike54StrangeDaysgregoriusmGeorgeBMacdysamoriachemengin1urahara
  • Reply 10 of 47
    MplsP said:
    The iPhone 6 is an old model - first released in 2014 and sales stopped in 2016, so the phone is almost 3 years old at a minimum. The article doesn’t say exactly how old the phone was, but from the description, I would suspect that it was a hand-me-down device the kids were using to play games and watch videos. If this is the case, the battery was likely pretty old and may have been ‘abused’ somewhat. I’ve seen plenty of devices for which the battery is dead and kids just leave them plugged in constantly.

    iPhone fires are quite unusual so it makes me wonder if there was other damage and/or a defective charger being used - both of these could lead to the battery overheating. GIven the age, it’s also possible that it had a defective replacement battery installed. Even considering this, though, you never want to have a device explode like this.
    NONE of that is any excuse for a fire.   NONE.   ZERO.
    You are wrong. 

    From Wikipedia with cited references:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery

    “Lithium-ion batteries can be a safety hazard since they contain a flammable electrolyte and may become pressurized if they become damaged. A battery cell charged too quickly could cause a short circuit, leading to explosions and fires.”
    StrangeDaysradarthekatronnchasmuraharajony0
  • Reply 11 of 47
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,582member
    MplsP said:
    The iPhone 6 is an old model - first released in 2014 and sales stopped in 2016, so the phone is almost 3 years old at a minimum. The article doesn’t say exactly how old the phone was, but from the description, I would suspect that it was a hand-me-down device the kids were using to play games and watch videos. If this is the case, the battery was likely pretty old and may have been ‘abused’ somewhat. I’ve seen plenty of devices for which the battery is dead and kids just leave them plugged in constantly.

    iPhone fires are quite unusual so it makes me wonder if there was other damage and/or a defective charger being used - both of these could lead to the battery overheating. GIven the age, it’s also possible that it had a defective replacement battery installed. Even considering this, though, you never want to have a device explode like this.
    NONE of that is any excuse for a fire.   NONE.   ZERO.
    You are wrong. 

    From Wikipedia with cited references:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery

    “Lithium-ion batteries can be a safety hazard since they contain a flammable electrolyte and may become pressurized if they become damaged. A battery cell charged too quickly could cause a short circuit, leading to explosions and fires.”
    No, see, it only becomes an exercise in pearl clutching and moral outrage when Apple is involved. Doubt this guy was preaching on the pulpit during the Samsung Galaxy failboat. 
    radarthekat
  • Reply 12 of 47
    seanismorrisseanismorris Posts: 1,086member
    Apple advised to Adata there could be a few factors that could cause overheating, such as the use of unauthorized charging cables and chargers”

    How are consumers supposed to know if the cables or chargers are “unauthorized”?  I’ve bought 1/2 a dozen chargers, and 20+ cables on Amazon in the last decade for my iPhone and IPad.  

    No one intentionally buys an “unauthorized” cable/charger...  

    Does Apple actively police what’s being sold?  I assume they collect money to authorize accessories, part of that money should go to enforcement, otherwise no one is going to pay it.

    AI could ask.  If Apple doesn’t, their response is lawyer speak BS.  If they do, that would be useful and relevant info...
    GeorgeBMacdysamoria
  • Reply 13 of 47
    The interesting thing in this case is the parents did not blame Apple. In fact, the girls
    mother thought it might have been their fault. They aren’t at this time seeking any legal action against Apple. I think they want to know what happened just like Apple wants to know.

    The big problem with right to fix laws is that there isn’t any way of vetting the quality of the parts you use. 

    I’m saying this because I have a suspicion that this phone has a 3rd party battery in it. 
    Some third party batteries are made cheaply and do not have the same circuit protection nor tolerances for expanding as some of the brand named ones. Since everything is made in China, you can’t be sure if you are getting a quality battery or a knock off. 

    A $49, or even a $79 cost for a replacement battery at Apple is a safer alternative than doing it yourself or having a friend or independent shop do it.  

    Ifixit doesn't like to mention the number of fires created by someone replacing their own battery. Just look at the comments on their guides and you’ll see plenty of people who did not know how dangerous Li-ion batteries can be and the fact that there isn’t much protecting the battery except a thin wrapping of plastic around the battery. Plus the fumes will kill you faster than the fire will. 

    Some people might argue that it’s BS and they have replaced their own battery without any issue. That might be true for them, but there are a lot of people who own iPhones and don’t have any technical repair skills and shouldn’t be working on their devices. Those are the people who cut corners and make their device a potential safety hazard. 
    ronncornchip
  • Reply 14 of 47
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,146member
    nht said:
    MplsP said:
    MplsP said:
    The iPhone 6 is an old model - first released in 2014 and sales stopped in 2016, so the phone is almost 3 years old at a minimum. The article doesn’t say exactly how old the phone was, but from the description, I would suspect that it was a hand-me-down device the kids were using to play games and watch videos. If this is the case, the battery was likely pretty old and may have been ‘abused’ somewhat. I’ve seen plenty of devices for which the battery is dead and kids just leave them plugged in constantly.

    iPhone fires are quite unusual so it makes me wonder if there was other damage and/or a defective charger being used - both of these could lead to the battery overheating. GIven the age, it’s also possible that it had a defective replacement battery installed. Even considering this, though, you never want to have a device explode like this.
    NONE of that is any excuse for a fire.   NONE.   ZERO.
    How is a damaged battery not a reasonable explanation for a fire?
    He’s hyper-critical of apple so any reasoned response is not to be expected.
    LOL... No,  I didn't criticize Apple at all.   But neither do I make irrational excuses for them. 
     I was responding to the claim (and others) that the battery was defective because it was in an iPhone 6.   That's beyond nonsense, it's stupid.  

    But because you're a China hater, you attack me because I call out Trump's irrational, harmful trade wars for the stupidity that they are.  Go take your meds.   You must have forgotten them.


    avon b7dysamoriachemengin1urahara
  • Reply 15 of 47
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,146member
    MplsP said:
    The iPhone 6 is an old model - first released in 2014 and sales stopped in 2016, so the phone is almost 3 years old at a minimum. The article doesn’t say exactly how old the phone was, but from the description, I would suspect that it was a hand-me-down device the kids were using to play games and watch videos. If this is the case, the battery was likely pretty old and may have been ‘abused’ somewhat. I’ve seen plenty of devices for which the battery is dead and kids just leave them plugged in constantly.

    iPhone fires are quite unusual so it makes me wonder if there was other damage and/or a defective charger being used - both of these could lead to the battery overheating. GIven the age, it’s also possible that it had a defective replacement battery installed. Even considering this, though, you never want to have a device explode like this.
    NONE of that is any excuse for a fire.   NONE.   ZERO.
    You are wrong. 

    From Wikipedia with cited references:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery

    “Lithium-ion batteries can be a safety hazard since they contain a flammable electrolyte and may become pressurized if they become damaged. A battery cell charged too quickly could cause a short circuit, leading to explosions and fires.”
    Is there ANY evidence, anywhere that the battery was damaged -- or any of the other claims made by the poster I was respondng to?
    No?   So, your post is just nonsense.  It's like claiming an auto accident occurred because driving on a flat tire causes accidents.  

    Let's stick to reality here.
    chemengin1urahara
  • Reply 16 of 47
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,146member
    MplsP said:
    MplsP said:
    The iPhone 6 is an old model - first released in 2014 and sales stopped in 2016, so the phone is almost 3 years old at a minimum. The article doesn’t say exactly how old the phone was, but from the description, I would suspect that it was a hand-me-down device the kids were using to play games and watch videos. If this is the case, the battery was likely pretty old and may have been ‘abused’ somewhat. I’ve seen plenty of devices for which the battery is dead and kids just leave them plugged in constantly.

    iPhone fires are quite unusual so it makes me wonder if there was other damage and/or a defective charger being used - both of these could lead to the battery overheating. GIven the age, it’s also possible that it had a defective replacement battery installed. Even considering this, though, you never want to have a device explode like this.
    NONE of that is any excuse for a fire.   NONE.   ZERO.
    How is a damaged battery not a reasonable explanation for a fire?
    It is -- but since there is ZERO evidence that this battery was damaged why would you make such a claim?
    Nor is there any evdence for any of your other claims.
    Let's stick to reality.
    edited July 14 chemengin1
  • Reply 17 of 47
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,146member
    The interesting thing in this case is the parents did not blame Apple. In fact, the girls
    mother thought it might have been their fault. They aren’t at this time seeking any legal action against Apple. I think they want to know what happened just like Apple wants to know.

    The big problem with right to fix laws is that there isn’t any way of vetting the quality of the parts you use. 

    I’m saying this because I have a suspicion that this phone has a 3rd party battery in it. 
    Some third party batteries are made cheaply and do not have the same circuit protection nor tolerances for expanding as some of the brand named ones. Since everything is made in China, you can’t be sure if you are getting a quality battery or a knock off. 

    A $49, or even a $79 cost for a replacement battery at Apple is a safer alternative than doing it yourself or having a friend or independent shop do it.  

    Ifixit doesn't like to mention the number of fires created by someone replacing their own battery. Just look at the comments on their guides and you’ll see plenty of people who did not know how dangerous Li-ion batteries can be and the fact that there isn’t much protecting the battery except a thin wrapping of plastic around the battery. Plus the fumes will kill you faster than the fire will. 

    Some people might argue that it’s BS and they have replaced their own battery without any issue. That might be true for them, but there are a lot of people who own iPhones and don’t have any technical repair skills and shouldn’t be working on their devices. Those are the people who cut corners and make their device a potential safety hazard. 
    Now THAT is true....
    Unlike all the others here claiming that this was the result of a "damaged battery" or similar such as a junk, improperly installed 3rd party battery -- we just don't know.  It MIGHT have been.   But right now, not even Apple is making those kind of speculative claims.

    It's always best to wait for the facts -- which is what Apple is doing.
    And then, once it is determined, educate the public on how and why they should avoid that practice.
  • Reply 18 of 47
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 828member
    “Apple advised to Adata there could be a few factors that could cause overheating, such as the use of unauthorized charging cables and chargers”

    How are consumers supposed to know if the cables or chargers are “unauthorized”?  I’ve bought 1/2 a dozen chargers, and 20+ cables on Amazon in the last decade for my iPhone and IPad.  

    No one intentionally buys an “unauthorized” cable/charger...  

    Does Apple actively police what’s being sold?  I assume they collect money to authorize accessories, part of that money should go to enforcement, otherwise no one is going to pay it.

    AI could ask.  If Apple doesn’t, their response is lawyer speak BS.  If they do, that would be useful and relevant info...
    Any aftermarket cable or accessory  that is safe to use clearly has MFI on the box it comes in. I have used MFI cables in my car and my bedside for years without issue. 

    https://paracable.com/pages/what-is-apple-mfi-certification

    https://mfi.apple.com/MFiWeb/getAPS


    Here is some helpful info from Apple to help identify inferior knock off cables and accessories that may be unsafe for use. 

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204566


    applesnorangesFileMakerFellerurahara
  • Reply 19 of 47
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,312member
    All this points out is the chink in technology’s armor. Amazing technology but powered by primitive and dangerous chemical reactions. Battery technology has been absolutely stagnant for almost two decades now. We keep hearing that this or that revolution is coming but it has yet to materialize. Same goes for the electrical grid. The heat source may vary but it still comes down to boiling water to make steam that is converted into mechanical energy by a piston or turbine which then turns the shaft in a generator. This is technology that hasn’t changed in two hundred years. Simple laws of thermodynamics. 
    edited July 14 GeorgeBMaccornchip
  • Reply 20 of 47
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,948member
    The interesting thing in this case is the parents did not blame Apple. In fact, the girls
    mother thought it might have been their fault. They aren’t at this time seeking any legal action against Apple. I think they want to know what happened just like Apple wants to know.

    The big problem with right to fix laws is that there isn’t any way of vetting the quality of the parts you use. 

    I’m saying this because I have a suspicion that this phone has a 3rd party battery in it. 
    Some third party batteries are made cheaply and do not have the same circuit protection nor tolerances for expanding as some of the brand named ones. Since everything is made in China, you can’t be sure if you are getting a quality battery or a knock off. 

    A $49, or even a $79 cost for a replacement battery at Apple is a safer alternative than doing it yourself or having a friend or independent shop do it.  

    Ifixit doesn't like to mention the number of fires created by someone replacing their own battery. Just look at the comments on their guides and you’ll see plenty of people who did not know how dangerous Li-ion batteries can be and the fact that there isn’t much protecting the battery except a thin wrapping of plastic around the battery. Plus the fumes will kill you faster than the fire will. 

    Some people might argue that it’s BS and they have replaced their own battery without any issue. That might be true for them, but there are a lot of people who own iPhones and don’t have any technical repair skills and shouldn’t be working on their devices. Those are the people who cut corners and make their device a potential safety hazard. 
    Now THAT is true....
    Unlike all the others here claiming that this was the result of a "damaged battery" or similar such as a junk, improperly installed 3rd party battery -- we just don't know.  It MIGHT have been.   But right now, not even Apple is making those kind of speculative claims.

    It's always best to wait for the facts -- which is what Apple is doing.
    And then, once it is determined, educate the public on how and why they should avoid that practice.
    I've had an iPhone 6, which was slightly bent from carrying it in my back pocket, and an iPhone 7 Plus, that was not bent, with batteries that expanded enough to start popping the screen off. Apple replaced the iPhone 6 on AppleCare, and for the cost of the battery replacement on the 7 Plus. For the iPhone 6, I believe that the problem was that I carried the iPhone in by back pocket, as I did the 7 Plus, but 7 Plus I had all kinds of issues with battery life that I ignored until finally it quit working unless connected to the charger. The funny thing was, I didn't even notice the bulging battery until I removed the 7 Plus from the case. It seems be a good idea to remove an iPhone from the case every now and then just for an inspection.

    With the exception of the Parable that I use for daily charging, I don't use anything other than Apple for charging.

    The essential problem is that there are some 900 million iPhones in the field, a large number of which have been well used with long lives, and aged batteries. Of course there will be  fire events that happen that have nothing to do with anything but battery chemistry, regardless of the quality of the accessories. Until we see large scale production of solid state batteries, and implementation into consumer products, this will continue to be a hazard, but a very rare one.

    That fact that there are so few stories of smartphones, and specifically iPhones, catching fire is actually pretty amazing.
    fuzzylobesapplesnorangesStrangeDays
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