Apple Watch battery blowout sends man to emergency room

Posted:
in Apple Watch
Over the course of an evening and night, a man's Apple Watch battery expanded, overheated -- and eventually "exploded."

The Hermes Apple Watch Series 7
Apple Watch Series 7


An apparent battery failure caused an Apple Watch Series 7 to overheat and subsequently explode, according to a story from one Apple Watch owner.

The owner told 9to5Mac that he had noticed the Apple Watch had felt much hotter than usual, and the device displayed a high-temperature warning. Upon inspection, the owner noticed the back of the Apple Watch had cracked.

He then called Apple Support, where the call was escalated to a manager who created a case for further investigation. Apple Support advised the owner not to touch the watch until Apple contacted him again.

The following day, the owner awoke to find that the Apple Watch was rapidly heating up, and the display had been shattered. The owner then picked up the device, which began to make "crackling noises." The user claims it exploded just as he threw it out the window.

The man said that he sought medical attention for lead poisoning -- which was unnecessary given the incredibly small mass of lead that might end up in an Apple Watch from manufacturing. It's not clear if the man was burned from the incident.

He proceeded to alert Apple to the situation, who told him they would escalate the case further.

According to the owner, Apple sent a document requesting that he not share the story. However, he declined to sign the document.

On Wednesday, the company arranged a delivery pickup to take the device to its labs for further testing.

In May 2021, a man sought a class action suit against Apple for selling defective batteries and violating its warranty promises after his iPhone exploded in his face in 2019.

In March 2021, an Australian man who landed himself in the hospital after his iPhone X exploded in his pocket. He too sought compensation from Apple.

It's not clear how old the man's Apple Watch Series 7 was. Early, catastrophic failures of lithium ion batteries in Apple products are rare and notably lower than the average failure rate across the mobile device industry.

What to do if you're in a similar position

Lithium ion batteries are generally safe. Issues can evolve from what the industry calls a "runaway" thermal condition in the battery, or by severe impact or other physical damage to the device battery casing.

The cracked back and high-temperature warnings on the Apple Watch from the previous night were clear indications that there was something dramatically wrong with the battery. If you are ever presented with similar, remove the device from the inside of your vehicle or house, and contact Apple's -- or the applicable vendor's -- support.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    MadbumMadbum Posts: 313member
    Pretty sure investigation will find this to be fake
    williamlondonlolliverlkruppkillroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 42
    The odds of 2 apple products exploding for 1 person seems highly unlikely. Would be really interested to see if he was using 3rd party chargers. 
    williamlondonkillroyravnorodomwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 42
    XedXed Posts: 1,526member
    The odds of 2 apple products exploding for 1 person seems highly unlikely. Would be really interested to see if he was using 3rd party chargers. 
    I only see one Apple product with a faulty battery mentioned per owner. Also, how would a 3rd-party inductive Watch charger result in a faulty battery? I'm not saying it can't happen, but I'd expect the charging pad to overheat long before the Watch if there was an issue.

    Madbum said:
    Pretty sure investigation will find this to be fake
    Why assume they are lying?
    napoleon_phoneapartronnelijahgwilliamlondonbloggerblogmuthuk_vanalingamsandorcharlesatlasMplsPCluntBaby92
  • Reply 4 of 42
    sbdudesbdude Posts: 173member
    If the back my apple watch cracked, it would be staying in my house for whatever was going to happen next. Also, treatment for lead poisoning?!? That alone sounds scammy.
    lolliverkillroyravnorodomwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 42
    Fred257Fred257 Posts: 210member
    All of Samsungs Galaxy phone batteries expand after or around two years. This is a rare occurrence with Apple but not surprising and nowhere near SamsungGalaxy phones. If you don’t believe me just type into YouTube Samsung Galaxy battery expansion 
    lolliverAnilu_777CluntBaby92jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 42
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,420member
    I'm sure they will also file a lawsuit...in 3...2...1....
    lolliverkillroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 42
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,180member
    Apple Watches save more lives than they ruin, so it's okay.
    edited October 5 appleinsideruserkillroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 42
    Lead poisoning!? Sounds like someone looking for a payday from the get-go. In my experience, if you report a problem straight away Apple will make it right. Watch should have gone to the nearest Apple Store at the first sign of trouble. No waiting around to see what would happen next. 
    williamlondonronnlolliverbloggerblogAnilu_777ericthehalfbeekillroyravnorodomhammeroftruthjony0
  • Reply 9 of 42
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,551member
    Pretty much anything ever built or born can fail and will fail with some level of probability. Apple Watches are no different.

    The one thing that is obviously disturbing here is the "According to the owner, Apple sent a document requesting that he not share the story. However, he declined to sign the document." Did the owner make this document available for an impartial party to review? It's quite possible that Apple would send some sort of written response with guidance on how to proceed, but the insinuation here is that Apple was trying to cover this up or somehow suppress the incident. Let's see that letter.

    I hope there's a followup to this story including more details about how the device's initial state, how it was handled, and sequence of events once it was found to be in a compromised state. Telling the owner not to touch the watch may not have been the best advice if the failure progressed to what is described as an "explosion" the next day. It may have made more sense to tell the owner to move the watch to a safe location outside of the house, away from people, pets, and property. Perhaps putting it in a metal trash can or bucket outside living space would make more sense. 

    Someone needs to separate fact from fiction and dispense with the speculation until someone qualified to figure out exactly what happened digs into this incident. 
    Anilu_777twokatmewkillroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 42
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,266member
    The odds of 2 apple products exploding for 1 person seems highly unlikely. Would be really interested to see if he was using 3rd party chargers. 
    "In May 2021, a man sought a class action suit ..."  It said, "A man..." obviously talking about a separate incident with a different man otherwise it would note "the man" if it was still talking about the man with the exploded watch.

    However, the story just doesn't add up. First, if you notice a bulge and the watch warned of high temperature, common sense should tell you that you shouldn't do anything but shut down or leave it alone. There are plenty of mechanisms built to prevent explosion. Virtually all well built electronic devices have switches that will automatically shut down, even without notice if it detects potentially dangerous explosions or overheating about to happen. 

    His claim that Apple sent him a document to not tell the media about a defective product is dubious and sounds like a paranoid/delusional person would say. Show us the letter. 


    Anilu_777killroyjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 42
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,317member
    No electronics can prevent or mitigate a runaway thermal condition once it starts. You’ll just have to let it burn out, best thing to do is put the device in a safe place and let it do its thing. 
    Having said that, the story does read like someone is looking to cash out. 
    killroyjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 42
    Good thing they didn't take the TikTok "Swallow Your Apple Watch" challenge!
    mac daddy zeekillroydarkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 42
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,007member
    I suspect ambulance-chasing lawyers are calling him as we speak.
    killroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 42
    I had the battery bulging issue on my first Apple Watch. I took it for service, out of warranty. Since the technician accidently snapped the tape wire and pulled the watch apart, they replaced it for free.

    My gen. 2 Apple Watch had another issue wherein it was completely out of charge and would just not charge at all. Again, it was out of warranty so nothing could be done and I had to get a new one.

    I'm currently on the one that first had the always-on display. It works perfectly fine. My next one will be the Ultra - either the first gen., or maybe the one that comes next. I am in no hurry.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 42
    petripetri Posts: 107member
    Fred257 said:
    All of Samsungs Galaxy phone batteries expand after or around two years. This is a rare occurrence with Apple but not surprising and nowhere near SamsungGalaxy phones. If you don’t believe me just type into YouTube Samsung Galaxy battery expansion 
    To be fair there’s a big difference between battery expansion and battery explosion, and the former doesn’t necessarily lead to the latter.     Samsung does indeed seem to have a problem with expanding batteries but (aside from that one notorious Note model) that hasn’t been linked to any particular issue with fires or explosions yet.

    The problem all electronics companies including Apple have, is that Li-ion batteries are only safe if if they’re manufactured and installed 100% correctly, and nothing involving people is ever 100% accurate 100% of the time.  People make mistakes, and when you’re producing devices like these in the millions, one or two of those mistakes are going to literally blow up in someone’s face occasionally.  It’s a risk we all take until some better battery technology comes along.
    muthuk_vanalingamtwokatmewAppleZuluMplsPjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 42
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,444member
    This issue right here is almost certain to be one of the reasons Apple uses sealed batteries in its portable devices, to assure safety of their customers through quality control and a very low rate of battery failures. 

    If users could easily replace batteries themselves, many would buy cheap aftermarket replacements, significantly increasing the likelihood of catastrophic failures. Apple would be mentioned first in all reports of those failures, and the aftermarket battery brand last, or in much less publicized corrections later, or mostly never at all. 
    edited October 6 h4y3skillroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 42
    Tough comments here this AM.

    Also a lot of uninformed blather. 

    I had a lithium ion battery self-combust. It was packed in a carry-on suitcase and stowed in the overhead bin of a flight destined for Germany. As the cabin crew was making final boarding preparations the bin started smoking. They quickly removed the bag and carried it off the plane to the tarmac where it proceeded to burn (despite the efforts of at least half a dozen firemen and assorted extinguishers). The flight finally departed about an hour late. Some months later I got a summons from the FAA (I think) proposing to fine me several thousand dollars for the incident notwithstanding the bag had passed several layers of federal scrutiny before I boarded the airplane.

    LI batteries can, and do, self-immolate. They may be "safe" 99% of the time. But that 1% is a bear. There may be no warning whatsoever and, once it starts, almost nothing you can do about it except let it burn out. I can say with 100% conviction that my battery wasn't damaged, hadn't been subjected to any blows (sharp, dull or otherwise) or unusual temperatures. It was also relatively new -- not more than 6 months old.

    I'm pretty sure that this kind of incident -- LI batteries self-immolating -- is far more common than any governmental agency will admit.

    So all of the comments here about "scam" and "his own fault" etc. are, in my experience, pretty ignorant.
    retrogustomuthuk_vanalingamdewmebeowulfschmidtdarkvaderjony0grandact73macgui
  • Reply 18 of 42

    One further comment:

    It's pretty naive to say: "surely Apple wouldn't ask for an NDA"!

    Maybe Timmy wouldn't ask, but Apple's lawyers sure as heck would -- standard procedure.

    NDAs are abhorrent. Usually they are used to try and suppress information that should be public (despite Fifth Amendment protections). 

    But, so long as NDAs are legal, Apple's Directors would be negligent if they didn't require the lawyers to cover the company's behind.
    MplsPkillroy
  • Reply 19 of 42
    Watch should have gone to the nearest Apple Store at the first sign of trouble. No waiting around to see what would happen next. 
    That would be a six-hour roundtrip for me. I would probably put it outside and wait around to see what happened next. 
    killroylkruppwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 42
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 1,307member
    Xed said:
    The odds of 2 apple products exploding for 1 person seems highly unlikely. Would be really interested to see if he was using 3rd party chargers. 
    I only see one Apple product with a faulty battery mentioned per owner. Also, how would a 3rd-party inductive Watch charger result in a faulty battery? I'm not saying it can't happen, but I'd expect the charging pad to overheat long before the Watch if there was an issue.

    Madbum said:
    Pretty sure investigation will find this to be fake
    Why assume they are lying?
    I agree...  My GF's Series 2 had an issue with the battery expanding and pushing the rear of the watch completely off. I took it into the Apple Store and it was replaced immediately without issue. She didn't claim to he hurt and we didn't mention any compensation since the watch had been replaced no questions asked. I had also purchased Applecare+ but I think it may have been past that 2nd year and they still replaced it without question. I thought they handled it very well..

    I think when people report a story to news agencies or get a lawyer seeking compensation, is when the assumption of lying comes into play. I think Apple sending him something asking for it not to be reported is a little suspect in my opinion. Replace the watch take care of the customer then worry about who finds out.

    cornchipkillroycoolfactorgrandact73watto_cobra
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