Exploding iPhones in China? Not our fault, says Apple

Apple has shut down rumours of exploding iPhones, blaming “external physical damage” for fires experienced by a handful of users in China.

Yesterday, a Shanghai consumer watchdog issued a report that highlighted complaints from a number of iPhone owners who claimed that their handsets had spontaneously combusted. One woman was quoted as saying that her iPhone 6S Plus exploded four months ago, shattering the screen and leaving the phone blackened. The report said: “Apple should be responsible for consumers. A large amount of consumer complaints are not solved effectively.”

But in a statement given to Agence France Presse, Apple says that the iPhones aren’t spontaneously combusting after all, explaining away the fires as a product of damage to the handsets. The statement reads: “The units we’ve analysed so far have clearly shown that external physical damage happened to them, which led to the thermal event.”

It continued: “We treat safety as a top priority and have found no cause for concern with these products.”

Apple also denied that it had been slow to respond to complaints, after the state-run Shanghai Consumer Council suggested that Apple wasn’t doing enough to address user’s concerns. The Council said that it had received a “sixfold surge” in total complaints against Apple over the past two months, according to the AFP (via Yahoo) – although it’s not clear if all the complainants were based in China.

It’s no surprise that Apple has issued a statement that appears to clear the company’s name. Samsung faced a similar (but far more significant) problem this autumn, when it was forced to recall the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 just one month after it was launched. An internal investigation uncovered a battery flaw that was causing some users’ handsets to catch fire. After seemingly fixing the issue, it turned out that even repaired handsets were combusting, leading to a second and final recall. Samsung no longer manufactures the Note 7, and urges all owners of the phone to turn their devices off indefinitely.

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