Apple Acknowledges iPhone 8 Swollen Battery Issue

Apple on Friday said it is “aware and looking into” the matter concerning battery problems that were reported on some units of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. It isn’t clear if the issue has plagued a whole batch of iPhones like it was with the Galaxy Note 7 or just a handful of them. Unlike the Galaxy Note 7 though, there are no reports of batteries explosions.

Early reports came in from Taiwan and Japan where the iPhone 8 was said to “split open”, pushing the display out of the chassis. The only component of the phone that is capable of such an expansion is the battery. While the Taiwan incident happened while charging (from the bundled charger and cable), the iPhone 8 Plus buyer in Japan got a swollen iPhone 8 Plus out of the box.

When Li-ion batteries become old, they outgas a flammable electrolyte mixture to prevent it from reacting to cause fire, which in turn causes the battery to swell. You might have seen this happening with old phone batteries. But batteries may swell up to twice their size and because of other reasons as well.

This may also happen when the batteries are over charged or over heated. But swelling is a failsafe mechanism that prevents batteries from exploding, and swelling of the iPhone 8 battery is in fact a proof that the mechanism is working fine.

But a new iPhone will have a new battery. Apple doesn’t overdo charging speed of the battery and infact it’s charger puts out much less current than we have seen on Android phones shipping with fast chargers. The battery capacity of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus is also less than that on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus respectively. So what could be the possible reason?

Li-ion batteries are inherently less stable compared to other battery types because of their high energy density (packing charge in smaller form factor). It could be that Apple wanted the batteries to be smaller still, to incorporate for wireless charging and glass back, while maintaining its slim (7.5mm) figure. Compared to the Galaxy S8, the iPhone 8 is 0.7mm thinner.

Apple is in possession of the swollen iPhones and is looking in to the matter. Batteries on the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus are being supplied by Amperex Technology Limited (ATL), The next web citing unconfirmed reports claims. ATL was one of the two suppliers of battery for the Galaxy Note 7.

The explosion on Note 7 was caused due to bent electrodes or a blow to the battery exposing its negative electrode, both of which happened either due to a faulty design or manufacturing techniques that neglected the safety of the battery.

This is not the only problem that the new iPhone models face. A few iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus users reported that the earpiece on the phone made a “crackling” sound while they were on a call. Though the recent iOS 11.0.2 update from Apple has fixed the problem. The phones went on sale on September 30 in India, and no issue has been reported so far.

This year’s iPhones have no big design change when it comes to packing a bigger display in the same size, like it is with the iPhone X or Samsung and LG flagships that are nearly bezelless. That has disappointed many fans who were looking forward to some ‘worthy visible upgrades’ to the next model. Though Apple has put most of the core hardware specific features of the iPhone X on the iPhone 8 models, the design remains nearly the same as what phones wear since four years now. 

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