My test iPhone 3GS running iOS 6 spontaneously exploded the other day (27th Jan 2014) suffering what can only be described as “death by excessive battery swelling” from the inside out. “Explode” might seem extreme but the actual swelling takes place very quickly so it sounds like it exploded.
The device was sitting on a shelf on standby with my other test iOS devices not too far away from my left shoulder. I heard a loud “crack and pop” noise and turned to see the iPhone 3GS screen half pop out of it’s casing.
I quickly picked up my iPhone 5S to video the event but sadly wasn’t quite quick enough to capture the actual popping.
I observed the iPhone 3GS for a few hours before deciding I couldn’t have it in my studio any longer and so decided I must dismantle it and get the rotten battery out. This was quite scary but also fun. The immense pressure build up inside had bent a circuit board, completely ripped out whole screw housings and almost torn various ribbon cables inside.
I managed to successfully dismantle the phone with appropriate dinky tools. I’m not sure it will ever work again, though. R.I.P. “Trinity” the iPhone 3GS, R.I.P.
I’ve not had a minute to contact Apple about the issue yet. Will they repair it?
Update note: Last week I noticed what can only be described as a very small “wet patch” on the inside of the iPhone 3GS screen. This wet patch was THE warning sign. I can only imagine it was the beginning of the battery swell. Days later the whole phone exploded open to devastating consequences.
Update: Seems this has happened to a few other people too and it’s made the news at TUAW [direct link].