iPhone 7 catches fire and destroys an owner’s car, Apple investigating

By , Oct 21, 2016

Molten iPhone 7 image 001

As local outlet 7 News reported, Australian surfing instructor Mat Jones said he had left his iPhone 7 under clothes in his car while taking a surf lesson. Upon returning to his vehicle, he was shocked to discover it filled with smoke and burned up in the same area where he’d placed the phone.

“His pants, which he had wrapped the iPhone 7 in before heading to his lesson, were still on fire when he got to his car,” Fortune added. Could Apple have a massive iPhone 7 overheating problem on its hands akin to Samsung’s exploding Galaxy Note 7?

The guy bought his iPhone 7 just one week ago and says he hasn’t dropped it or used a foreign charger. He thinks though the phone was to blame for the incident and shared images and video showing the molten remains of the device and the damage it caused.

“Ash was just coming from inside the pants, which then once you wrapped open the pants, the phone was just melting inside of it,” Jones told 7 News.

Apple is aware of his complaint. In a statement to Fortune, an Apple spokesperson said the firm is “in touch” with Jones and investigating the matter.

Molten iPhone 7 image 002

Lithium-ion battery technology does not react well to heat.

Temperatures in Australia can run so high that the sun can melt the plastic interior components of cars. As Jones left the phone in his car, it’s entirely possible that the device became so hot that the heat caused the battery to burst into flames.

Could this be an isolated incident or a sign of things to come?

9to5Mac’s Ben Lovejoy explains it succinctly:

That there have been a number of iPhone fires over the years is in no way surprising. The overall failure rate of lithium batteries is around 1 in 10 million.

When you have a billion active iOS devices, you’d expect around 100 of them to catch fire, so a handful of isolated cases is not evidence of any issue specific to the iPhone.

In comparison, the Note 7 has suffered 94 known fires in just a few weeks with only about five million devices shipped. In the meantime, even President Obama is making fun of Samsung’s discontinued and exploding Galaxy Note 7 phablet.

In a speech today, Obama compared Obamacare to a smartphone, saying when a law has a few bugs, you fix it rather than just throw it away.

Unless it catches fire. Then you pull it off the market. But you don’t go back to using a rotary phone. You don’t say “well, we’re repealing smartphones.” We’re just gonna do the dial-up thing. That’s not what you do. The same basic principle applies here. We’re not gonna go back to discriminating against Americans with pre-existing conditions.

What do you guys make of this?

Source: 7 NewsFortune

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  • Haraesh Jayalingam

    First the Note “7” and now the iPhone “7”. 7 really is an unlucky number :p

    • craig

      and to think my lucky number is 7…… hope i dont go exploding :/

      • Haraesh Jayalingam

        Ha ha… You should be fine as long as you are not running on a lithium battery 😉

  • Rodney Coleman

    Waiting to see one do this in Texas…. then I’ll believe it..

  • Likely a counterfeit charger caused the fire, not iPhone.

    • Blip dude

      Claims he did not use a counterfeit charger though (Yes, I know, keyword: claims).

      But I do wanna say that leaving it in the car in such climates may be what have caused this mess. He shouldn’t have left his phone wrapped around in all those clothes inside a hot car.

      • george

        You’re right he should of taken it surfing with him? You guys are ridiculous. I leave my iPhone 7 in my car all the time not expecting it to catch fire.

      • Blip dude

        You came to a “Black and White” conclusion?? You’re ridiculous, leaving it in bag turned on or at the absolute very least, in the glove compartment turned off would’ve been suffice.

        And the very fact that you don’t expect a lithium battery to catch fire under extreme heat say really says a lot.

        Sure taking a bag along, leaving the phone turned on in the bag wihile taking his surf lesson would have risked theft and a minimum $800 loss, but leaving the phone in his car has now resulted in more than just an than just an $800 loss. So explain how you’re “Black & White” conclusion makes sense here??

      • Ummm this is Southern Beaches in NSW. It’s not the middle of Summer (Only around 22 deg c on the day). If you look closely as well the guy has his car parked in the shade under a tree and most surfers go out early morning when the water is glassy smooth. This is hardly an extreme condition for a phone to handle when left in a car.

  • Hot car in direct sunlight certainly didn’t help matters.

  • Delric Thomas

    This is amazing. I recently received an iPhone 7+ in the very first day of usage I had 2 issues. The first was there was a continuous sound emanating from the back of the phone. The second was that after initial set up (maybe 2-3 hours) it got extremely hot. So I power the phone down and call Apple. They had me take my phone to a retail store to exchange

    • The sound was just glue and for me was gone after a couple days, has nothing to do with the battery. And the heating up has been common among all iPhone models, it’s when you initially start using it and it indexes and creates databases, it uses a lot of CPU.

    • JulianZH

      it’s normal for first setup.

  • Agneev Mukherjee

    In a speech today, Obama compared Obamacare to a smartphone, saying when a law has a few bugs, you fix it rather than just throw it away.

    He’s still the President, so President Obama!!

  • therealjjohnson

    “Could Apple have a massive iPhone 7 overheating problem on its hands?” Well…are there a massive number of fires being reported? Calm down on the hyperbole. There will be no Pulitzer Prize winning for smartphone coverage.

  • My 7 does get notebly warmer/hotter than any previous iPhone I’ve ever owned while charging. 3G, 3G S, 4, 4S, 5, 5S, and 6 to be exact lol, I haven’t heard the hissing but the temp while charging is pretty hot..

  • Any Apple/iPhone news is massive news, so that’s just what this is. Trying to create a stir.

  • 9C1

    Who buries their phone underneath a bunch of clothes and leaves it in their car in one of the hottest climates in the world?

    I don’t know. Kinda sounds like user error. I’m sure it was warmer than the recommended operating temperature in that car.

    • Impreza

      Australia is not experiencing high temperatures yet in and around major capitals, give it another month or two.

  • Moe

    The other day, I left my iPhone 7+ under my pillow before I slept and had my alarm on. When I woke up, my phone was burning hot with the temperature warning. That shit was scary, never doing that again! I was glad it didn’t explode while I was asleep. The temperature thing is an issue because I’ve noticed it happen 10x more than my previous iPhone 6 and 6s.

    • Blip dude

      “I’ve noticed it happen 10x more than my previous iPhone 6 and 6s.”

      What else have you been doing to your phones?? What are you doing that’s even making the temperature warning pop up to begin with??

      Of all the iPhones I have owned, only the 6S Plus has given me the temperature warning. . . only twice. . . under direct sunlight on a hot day. . . While driving.

      • YaBoyLilMayo

        My 5s used to give the temp warning all the time throughout the summer

      • Jose Rivera

        I have only seen the temperature warning sign on an iPhone 3G way back in 2009. Haven’t seen it ever since and all my phones do get warm when under heavy usage such as opening and closing apps (which I need to stop), and constant video streams from Vine which has to load a lot of videos to render them one by one. It’s even worse on older devices which try to keep up with the apps.

      • Moe

        I’ve been doing the same thing just like with my previous iPhones. Temperature warning never came on my 6 and 6s. I also have been putting my previous iPhones under my pillow with out any problem. For some reason this one just gets hot on its own. If you own a 7 or 7+ try it under the pillow and see if it gets hot. Also obviously don’t sleep with it under the pillow or you’ll wake up in hell lol

  • Eisenhorn1976

    This is user error. Leaving your iPhone inside your car that’s parked under the sun — and swaddled in your jeans to boot — is a pretty good way to get it to overheat and possibly explode.

    I mean, try leaving your iPhone under your pillow overnight and it will almost certainly be a bit warm — or worse — when you wake up. How much more if you wrap it in thick denim cloth and leave it in a car in a very hot area like a beach — and in a country like Australia where it can get really toasty at times? That’s practically like putting your device in a microwave!

    The truth is that stories like this are getting a lot of mileage because of the negative press from the Note 7 — but these are clearly different issues. I’d get worried if reports emerged of the iPhone 7 suddenly melting/catching fire while powered down — like the incident when a Note 7 did just that and caused a plane evacuation.

  • Rob

    It’s common sense to not leave your phone in a place that’s likely to get really hot. Lots of products with batteries warn not to expose to extreme temperatures.
    Oh no I think I left my toaster in the bath again, why am I tingly all over I think I need to tell the press & complain to the toaster company.

  • Rowan09

    Common sense is not too common.

    • Kaptivator

      At all.

  • Bugs Bunnay

    Anyone wanna bet google will want in on this trend?

  • The thing that makes me laugh about what the editor has written and the majority of these comments is that they haven’t done any homework on location and time. Southern Beaches in NSW is only reaching peak temps of around 22 deg c. The car was parked under shade, the phone was under clothes in the centre of the car away from direct sunlight and most surfers go out early morning when the water is glassy smooth. Hardly extreme conditions for a phone to handle when left in a car. No doubt this is still an isolated problem and nothing for Apple to be concerned over, but don’t make excuses that aren’t relevant.

    • Bacillus

      Appologists don’t do homework, they defend until there is no more reasoning left (which seems as of now…)

    • Sleaka J

      Oh please. Don’t pretend that the temp inside the car was also 22 degrees. Animals and children can DIE when locked inside a car when the air temp outside is 22 degrees and these people would be charged and taken to court.

      • Did I say it was 22 in the car??? Nope!!!! All I am referring to is that this is hardly what you would call middle of Summer temperatures (Which would generally be more than double this). Considering the car was under shade, and the phone was wrapped in clothing and placed in the centre of the car out of direct sunlight, then this is hardly something that should have stressed the iPhone.

        Now it seems to me that you must have a real emotional attachment to your phones if you are referring to an electronic device as people/animals and saying that they can DIE and that you can be charged and taken to court for doing such a thing???? NEWSFLASH an electronic device is not a living creature.

        Seriously, your rebuttal is one of the most stupidest things I have ever read. And honestly speaking, if an iPhone can’t handle that sort of temperature in someone’s car and under those conditions then Apple may need to look at redesigning their phones or the OS to handle such conditions.

      • Sleaka J

        Since you bring up stupid comments…

        There’s absolutely no mention here or in any other reports about this of the following :

        1. Where the car was parked. No other report says anything about the car being parked in the shade.
        2. Whether the phone was placed out of sunlight or not. (If the car was parked in the shade, then the bundle being in the sunlight or not is irrelevant, but you decided to point that out TWICE).

        Since you were making that up, it’s a safe bet you’re completely wrong about how hot it can get inside a car which could easily have been parked in the sun after all.

        Grats on your stupid comment.

      • Check the vudeo

      • Sleaka J

        The video shows the car parked in the sun. There’s literally the shadow of the cars doors on the ground. Sure there are trees nearby, but they’re not providing any shade over the car. The front bonnet is in the full sun.

      • Sure, believe that if you want. However the pictures tell a different story – Oh look, I see shade on the car and on the ground, and I wonder why every other car is parked near those trees?
        Yes parts of the car are exposed to direct sunlight, but lets be real, this car is not going to be scorching hot inside. This is not the middle or summer nor is the car parked in direct light in a desert somewhere. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5067ede63484903dfd5c2db3c30f5c500afb7321b9c8c2ef153548cc672f868f.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2edb1ceae61b2879e9131e69b6603b2918d799317c3c9223920c560311b8ef76.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/62ee4cd8e586e81e3b8994c5dddd52b643612d03525ee70a2ebd7ba7a005a3a4.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c19b578fda4e471be89151a34feda6397bf1148b63125f36a514ab34b5252f67.png

      • Sleaka J

        You make a lot of assumptions and pretend that they’re facts.

      • My assumptions are based on reality. Not sure what you are basing yours on though, maybe wishful thinking.

      • taki

        From Australia – it’s rather cold in the middle of spring this year (summer is Dec – Feb). Lit-ion can sometimes catch fire under too much use when the phones are so slim today.
        That’s why iPhones charge 2x slower than the other top smartphones, as the fast charging increases the temperature.
        Samsung had too many extreme conditions, fastest charging, USB-C, waterproof, too many components…

        That’s why I’ll keep my excellent 2y old Note 4 with replaceable batteries, IR remote…as long as I can. The best ever smartphone I had since 2001.

  • Francesco Suarez

    I leave my phone next to my pillow (Galaxy S7) and used to get hot due to charging now with the (iPhone 6s) no heating at all !!! And no warning of temperature ever in any phone I’ve owned

  • Mr_Coldharbour

    Summer is almost in full swing in Australia now. He probably left it in immense trapped heat under his pile of clothes for hours on end in his car. There’s a lot of missing information in this article as to the exact condition of the environment surrounding the iPhone. One can only assume what I just said is what exactly happened. What’s the surprise here?

  • GaugePrower

    We have been told numerous times and it’s common knowledge to NOT wrap your phone up in things! These little tiny CPU’s and GPU’s don’t have fans, they need some freakin’ air. There have been numerous news stories about fires caused by people charging their phones while smothered in clothing, towels, or under a pillow. Note 7’s are just blowing up, period. That’s due to faulty battery technology and too much current draw. This issue is completely different, as this is user error/stupidity, and not a design flaw. Go ahead and turn all the fans off in your desktop and tell me how that goes. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy though.