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5 Most Common Reasons of Cell Phone Fires (and How to Prevent Them)

In August 2021, an iPhone XR caught fire on a plane mid-flight after a passenger dropped it on the side of their seat (Corfield, 2021). In 2016, a teenager panicked, thinking that the plane she was on to get to Hawaii was going down after her iPhone 6 burst into flames (Boulton, 2016). These are two instances where phones have been known to combust into flames during flights. However, there are also events in which phones might overheat and explode (see Cohen, 2021). While the chances of your phone catching on fire is quite slim because modern phones usually have safety precautions nowadays, it might still happen to you. 



In this article, we’ll look at the five most common reasons for cellphone fires and how you can prevent them. 


1. Using counterfeit chargers 

Fake, cheap, or counterfeit phone chargers are the primary culprit for exploding phones (Gadgets Now Bureau, 2021). These inauthentic chargers may display a specific amperage on the box, in an attempt to mimic the original genuine product, but in reality, the actual output is a different amperage. Another problem with counterfeit chargers is that they are not made to industry standards, they usually have the metal pins exposed, there might be some live parts, and the insulations are usually just basic. 

In order to prevent your phone unit from getting damaged by counterfeit chargers, it is best to stick to the original charger that came with the unit. If the original charger is already broken, you can buy an authentic one. 


2. Using a phone that is heavily damaged 

Phones that are heavily damaged can function fine for weeks or months after the initial damage, but internally, there might be some damage to the internal system already. In fact, the main reason why phones explode is when the lithium battery of a phone is exposed to the air. 


In order to avoid your phone from exploding, it is best to replace your phone once it is already heavily damaged, or if you do not have the money to replace it immediately, then, it is best to just not use your damaged phone


3. Using your phone while it’s charging 

When your phone is charging, it has a tendency to overheat. Add the fact that you are using your phone while it’s charging will make it overheat easily. This is the case if you are using your phone for high-level activities such as gaming or watching videos. 

This will likely speed up the damage to your battery, which will make it explode or catch on fire more easily. In order to avoid this, it is best that you avoid using your phone while it’s charging


4. Getting your phone repaired from unauthorized services 

It isn’t always a good idea to have your phone repaired by phone technicians or repairmen that aren’t credited by the company that produced your phone. Oftentimes, these technicians have no training or knowledge in terms of the make and production of your phone and might damage it during the repair


Whenever you need to get your phone fixed, it is best to go to the authorized repairing services such as the Apple repair center. 


5. Production defect 

Another common reason which might lead to phones exploding is when there is a manufacturing defect. This is especially the case for the lithium-ion battery. When the battery wasn’t tested properly or when it is placed unsecured in the phone, it might lead to the battery exploding in on itself.


In these cases, phones usually offer a refund or guarantees that cover any manufacturing defect.




Bolton, D. (2016, March 21). iPhone 6 bursts into flames during flight prompting panic among passengers. The Independent.

Cohen, J. (2021, August 31). Exploding Phones: Why It Happens, How to Prevent It. PCMAG.

Corfield, G. (2021, April 20). iPhone XR caught fire after getting trapped in airline passenger’s seat. The Register.

Gadgets Now Bureau. (2021, August 26). 10 reasons why smartphones may catch fire. Gadgets Now.

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