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Over the course of an evening and night, a man’s Apple Watch battery expanded, overheated — and eventually “exploded.”
An apparent battery failure caused an Apple Watch Series 7 to overheat and subsequently explode, according to a story from one Apple Watch owner.
The owner told 9to5Mac that he had noticed the Apple Watch had felt much hotter than usual, and the device displayed a high-temperature warning. Upon inspection, the owner noticed the back of the Apple Watch had cracked.
He then called Apple Support, where the call was escalated to a manager who created a case for further investigation. Apple Support advised the owner not to touch the watch until Apple contacted him again.
The following day, the owner awoke to find that the Apple Watch was rapidly heating up, and the display had been shattered. The owner then picked up the device, which began to make “crackling noises.” The user claims it exploded just as he threw it out the window.
The man said that he sought medical attention for lead poisoning — which was unnecessary given the incredibly small mass of lead that might end up in an Apple Watch from manufacturing. It’s not clear if the man was burned from the incident.
He proceeded to alert Apple to the situation, who told him they would escalate the case further.
According to the owner, Apple sent a document requesting that he not share the story. However, he declined to sign the document.
On Wednesday, the company arranged a delivery pickup to take the device to its labs for further testing.
In May 2021, a man sought a class action suit against Apple for selling defective batteries and violating its warranty promises after his iPhone exploded in his face in 2019.
In March 2021, an Australian man who landed himself in the hospital after his iPhone X exploded in his pocket. He too sought compensation from Apple.
It’s not clear how old the man’s Apple Watch Series 7 was. Early, catastrophic failures of lithium ion batteries in Apple products are rare and notably lower than the average failure rate across the mobile device industry.
What to do if you’re in a similar position
Lithium ion batteries are generally safe. Issues can evolve from what the industry calls a “runaway” thermal condition in the battery, or by severe impact or other physical damage to the device battery casing.
The cracked back and high-temperature warnings on the Apple Watch from the previous night were clear indications that there was something dramatically wrong with the battery. If you are ever presented with similar, remove the device from the inside of your vehicle or house, and contact Apple’s — or the applicable vendor’s — support.