iPhone Battery Fail: Korea taking ‘close look’ at Apple phones

South Korean technology officials are “mulling over an investigation” into the iPhone 6S, according to a new report.

The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) has admitted to taking a “close look’ at the iPhone 6S, following recent reports from users about random shutdowns. That’s according to the Korea Herald, a local new agency that says that problem “could potentially be a safety issue”.

KATS is a government standards organisation in South Korea, falling under the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. It has the power to force a national recall, if it feels one may be necessary.

“The agency is well aware of recent iPhone issues and is taking a close look at it,” a KATS official is quoted as saying, adding: “However, this does not mean that an investigation was launched.”

Users have bemoaned an ongoing design flaw with the iPhone 6S that causes some handsets to randomly shut down, even when they have sufficient charge. However, while Apple has already admitted that the iPhone 6S problem exists, it denies that the issue poses any risk to customers:

Apple has determined that a very small number of iPhone 6S devices may unexpectedly shut down. This is not a safety issue and only affects devices within a limited serial number range that were manufactured between September and October 2015.”

To appease consumers, Apple recently launched an online tool that lets users enter their handset’s serial number to see if they own an affected iPhone model. If so, customers are eligible for a free battery replacement.

This is the second time Apple has been under fire in East Asia in as many weeks, after a Shanghai-based watchdog recently complained that Apple’s response to user reports of exploding iPhones had been slow. The report, published last week, said: “Apple should be responsible for consumers. A large amount of consumer complaints are not solved effectively.”

But Apple denied any wrongdoing in a statement given to Agence France Press, which read: “The units we’ve analysed so far have clearly shown that external physical damage happened to them, which led to the thermal event. We treat safety as a top priority and have found no cause for concern with these products.”

Apple will likely be keen to keep a lid on reports of iPhone battery issues, given Samsung’s recent recall of the Galaxy Note 7. The Samsung handset was recalled just one month after launch due to a battery issue that was causing handsets to spontaneously catch fire. The phone is now no longer on sale, and Samsung urges all customers to turn off their devices for good.

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