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iPhone 15 Pro owner reports battery swelling but no overheating

Published Sep 29th, 2023 6:50AM EDT
iPhone 15 Pro profile shows the Action button.
Image: Jonathan Geller, BGR

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An iPhone 15 Pro user posted images on Reddit showing the new device bloating after the battery started swelling. That’s a normal security behavior of batteries, as it should prevent fires and other accidents. The battery in question did not catch fire, nor did the iPhone 15 Pro overheat before the accident.

The user has already contacted Apple support for guidance and will have their device swapped. It’s unclear what caused the accident, but some people likened the iPhone 15 Pro incident to the infamous Galaxy Note 7 battery swelling and fires that led to a recall. This incident isn’t anything like that.

Smartphones do catch fire, and those unfortunate incidents are rare. But the Galaxy Note 7 experienced a larger than expected number of fires and explosions/swelling incidents.

The iPhone is also a battery-powered gadget. Some models will swell up. The older the battery, the higher the chances of that happening. On that note, we saw last year a report showing that Samsung Galaxy devices tend to swell up as they age.

The iPhone 15 series just launched, however. There should be no reason for these iPhone models to experience battery swelling. However, given the large number of units Apple produces, quality issues with some batteries might lead to swelling.

The Reddit user said he used the swollen iPhone 15 Pro for a few days before realizing the problem:

Picked up the phone on Monday and didn’t notice it then. Put on a case a couple days ago and noticed it didn’t fit right. Was going order a new case but then realized the phone is actually swelling. Still works for now.

A Reddit user shared an image of a swelling battery inside the iPhone 15 Pro.
A Reddit user shared an image of a swelling battery inside the iPhone 15 Pro. Image source: Reddit

Responding to questions in the thread, the iPhone 15 Pro owner said he did not drop the handset, as a physical impact might always lead to battery issues. He posted additional images to show the handset did not sustain damage.

Moreover, he did not experience overheating before the battery swelling. Not that overheating is mandatory.

“I haven’t done anything abnormal to make it hot nor have I dropped it,” Redditor Leather_Cheerio_402 said. “I haven’t noticed my phone being unusually warm either. Just smells like bad electronics lol.”

The overheating question is important right now for a simple reason. The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max have overheating issues, according to various reports since the 2023 iPhones went on sale last week.

The iPhone 15 Pros are the only ones to feature the powerful A17 Pro chip. The chip can overheat and throttle while the iPhone 15 Pro runs games or other intensive tasks. It can also overheat while the battery is charging. And the new Pro handsets might overheat while they’re lightly used during charging. Apple has yet to address these issues with a fix.

The iPhone 15 Pro has contacted Apple, and he’s been instructed to go to Verizon, where he bought the unit, to sort out the problem. Apple will surely investigate the battery swelling incident, which appears to be an isolated case.

Again, there’s no point in comparing this case with the Galaxy Note 7. The iPhone 15 Pros probably outsold the Galaxy Note 7 in the first week of preorders. It’s very likely that there are more iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max in circulation already than Galaxy Note 7 units at any point in the latter’s short history.

That said, Apple still needs to fix the iPhone 15 Pro’s overheating problem. The excessive heat will hurt the iPhone’s battery health in the long run, impacting the user experience and possibly hurting iPhone 15 Pro sales.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.