'Will my phone explode?' is a legitimate safety concern in light of some of the high-profile smartphone battery fiascos, but it's not just phones - tablets and laptops can be dangerous too. We've put together this guide on how to stop your battery overheating and your device setting fire.
Why do batteries explode and catch fire?
There are several reasons why a phone battery might overheat. Sometimes it's very much an isolated incident while others, like the Note 7, have a fundamental flaw.
There are two main causes of Lithium-ion batteries going wrong. The first is when one gets wounded, and by that we mean a break, piercing or similar. This could be caused by dropping your phone but, however it happens, the battery can short-circuit causing it to expand and potentially explode.
Heat is the other main cause of battery fires and is usually related to charging. Charging a battery will result in some heat generation, and if the temperature gets too high then an internal short-circuit can occur - it's not always because the battery itself is faulty.
If your battery can't cool down quick enough 'thermal runaway' can happen, whereby a chain reaction accelerates the increase of temperature - and that is a recipe for disaster.
With recent technology such as fast charging and the latest processors, there's more heat in today's phones than previously. The design of a phone may also be detrimental, especially when companies try to fit a large battery into a very thin phone without ensuring heat is sufficiently dissipated, or placing components too close together.
How to stop your battery exploding
• Use the correct charger – Ideally, use the supplied charger with your device.
• Unplug once charged – Try and be aware of when your phone is fully charged and unplug it to avoid unnecessary heat build-up.
• Charge in a safe place – it might sound silly but don't leave your phone charging under your pillow all night, for example.
• Remove cases – a case is like putting a jacket on and will restrict heat dissipation so take it off to charge or other heat inducing tasks.
• Avoid direct sunlight – your phone won't get a tan but the sun will heat it up so don’t leave it places like your car dashboard, especially when charging.
• Let your phone cool – whether you're charging, gaming or something else; let your phone cool down if it gets hot.
• Avoid pressure – you don't want the battery to get a puncture so don't sit on it or allow it to come under excessive pressure.
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