An Australian woman has alleged that she got severe burns due to a charging iPhone 7. The woman shared the experience in a Facebook post and claimed that her recently bought iPhone 7 was on charging while she fell asleep on it.
"I recently purchased an Apple iPhone 7 and accidentally fell asleep with my arm on my phone whilst it was charging. I was woken up by sudden pain, pins and needles, numbness and shortness of breath," Melanie Tan Pelaez wrote in her Facebook post.
Notably, the reported incident occurred last month and Pelaez claims that she informed Apple's "executive team" through their website. Apple took the iPhone 7 for its internal testing though Pelaez is yet to hear anything from Apple.
Pelaez told Fairfax Media that she repeatedly wrote to Apple for taking some action in the case though received no response from the Cupertino-based company. The delay in response from Apple forced Pelaez to make the issue public. After the post became viral and was covered by media, Pelaez said Apple contacted her to find out how she was, but added that there were no answers that could be provided yet from the investigation. She added that Apple then offered a replacement phone, however, she refused one.
"I have been an iPhone user since the beginning and have never had an issue or concern, so it's really scary and disappointing that something like this happened and can happen to someone else," she added in her post.
Of course, it is not very wise to cover an electronic device - especially when it is charging. Most such devices without active cooling systems like fans are designed to radiate heat into the atmosphere. Also, prolonged exposure to even 'warm' devices can cause burns, making the entire case just an example of what not to do with a charging smartphone. Apple on its own iPhone user guide, in the Important safety information section, notes that sleeping or sitting on iPhone that's in use or charging, or on the Lightning to USB Cable while it is plugged into a power source.
This is not the first case where a user has received burns because of iPhone. Earlier this year, a man in New South Wales reportedly sustained severe burns when his iPhone 6 exploded in his back pocket. The burn was so severe that he had to undergo skin graft surgery. In 2014, an eighth-grade student in the US received burn injuries when her iPhone blew and caught fire in her back pocket while she was in her school classroom.
To be noted is that these incidents have been isolated, and no conclusive evidence has been provided that show the devices themselves to be at fault. Lithium ion batteries, the most ubiquitous sources of power for portable devices, are certainly not the safest technology. While there are usually multiple fail-safes built in, these batteries have been known to explosively discharge if they malfunction, are misused, or disposed off incorrectly. While the recently reported incident of the Australian woman sustaining burns is not directly attributable to the battery on the iPhone 7, it just serves to highlight that care must always be taken to handle modern electronic devices in manner recommended by the manufacturer.