The first public account on the battery that fails catastrophically in an iPhone XS Max has detected and can lead to legal steps after Apple refused to replace the device for free when the owner wanted to keep the corrupted device.
Front page of exploded iPhone XS Max (credit: Josh Hillard and iDrop News)
A three-week-old iPhone XS Max was reported fire and exploded in the pocket of a resident of Ohio on December 12. A man who identified as Josh Hillard said he was at lunch at 15:00 when he noticed a smell and felt a "large amount of heat" and then green and yellow smoke coming from his iPhone XS Max.
"A director of our company put out the fire with a fire extinguisher because he heard me shout," Hillard told iDrop News. "When the phone was turned off, I was left with a hole in my pants, fire extinguisher on my pants / shoes, and some pain / irritation in my leather area where my pocket pants pocket was located."
The back of exploded iPhone XS Max (credit: Josh Hillard and iDrop News)
Hillard says he later took the damaged phone to a Apple Store. While the store apparently offered him a replacement phone, he refused it unless he could also keep the injured. He then contacted the Apple Care guide and, after giving pictures of the injuries, reported that an Apple security department manager "mainly offered a new phone."
Hillard says this is not sufficient and he also wants Apple to reimburse him for his damaged pants plus the cost of his cellular plan while unable to use the phone. The man also considers due to the legal opportunities available about the incident.
It is not clear why the battery broke and flushed flammable electrolyte. A battery membrane is designed to swell instead of spreading in the event of a cell failure, and most of the swelling and fractures occur during a thermal condition when the device is charged. Based on the account, when it was in the man's pocket, it seems unlikely to be charged.
One likely scenario is that the device bent while lying in the wallet because it cited the pain and the irritation was in the "hams region." This bend, if deep enough, can permeate the battery membrane resulting in what the man described. Another possibility is a fault in the cell for other reasons, such as a production problem that is not caught by quality assurance.
When reviewing AppleInsider s total service data, there are no events of the iPhone XS Max catastrophic battery failure. Given that our selection is not the whole set of Apple repairs, plus the rarity of battery usage, it is possible that there have been other errors in such a way – but this is the first public account.
Apple has not yet commented on the incident, but the description of green and yellow smoke is consistent with the failure of a battery. In February 2018, two Hong Kong Apple Store employees were hospitalized after inhaling smoke from an iPhone battery during a repair.