Get ready for a slew of reports saying the iPhone 8 Plus is Apple’s Galaxy Note 7 because reports of swelling batteries are coming out of Taiwan. Unlike the Note 7, however, there aren’t any reports of fires from Apple’s new smartphone and the problem doesn’t appear to be widespread.
TNW found Taiwan news reports saying week-old iPhone 8 Plus units have batteriers that swell during charging. iPhone 8 Plus owners shared photos showing the phone’s screen pushed away from the body, which is typical when a battery swells.
At least one iPhone 8 Plus owner said they were using an Apple-supplied charger when the battery went Violet Beauregarde, but it’s unclear if others were using third-party chargers. It looks like the swollen batteries are isolated incidents, at least for now.
There are two likely causes for the swollen batteries: The battery itself is defective, or the charger is substandard and defective. At least one of the swollen phones is on its way back to Apple for analysis now, so we’ll likely know more in the coming days.
Swelling batteries can potentially catch fire, making them a serious safety hazard. That’s a lesson too many Samsung Galaxy Note 7 owners learned last year when their phones caught fire, causing injuries and property damage.
In Samsung’s case, the batteries had defects, and the cavity in the phones for those batteries was too small. That was the perfect combination to make the batteries explode and in the end Samsung had to stop production and deal with public fallout that included FAA flight bans for the phone.
So far it looks like this swelling battery issue is limited to a few iPhone 8 Plus phones in Taiwan, and we don’t know yet what caused the problem. For now iPhone 8 Plus owners should watch their phones for signs of swelling when charging just to be safe until we know more.