A Misplaced Screw Caused That iPhone Plane Fire

A Misplaced Screw Caused That iPhone Plane Fire

Remember that iPhone that caught fire on an Aussie plane? The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has now identified the problem: a misplaced screw that punctured the battery casing.

Here’s the full ASTB explanation:

The technical examinations found that a small metal screw had been misplaced in the battery bay of the mobile telephone; the screw puncturing the battery casing and causing an internal short circuit leading to heating and thermal runaway. It was probable that the screw had been misplaced during an earlier repair carried out on the telephone. That repair had not been conducted by an authorised service provider.

In other words: the screw was in the wrong place because the screen had been replaced, a scenario that’s not exactly uncommon with iPhones. So if you do have a repaired iPhone, make sure you carry it with you and don’t check it in hand luggage. Flying has enough hassles without emergency landings because of a burning handset in the hold.

ATSB [via ZDNet]


  • When you have an iPhone and will eventually break its screen, you go to unauthorised repair.
    When you go to unauthorised repair, you’ll get leaked battery.
    When you have leaking battery from your iphone, you’ll set a fire in a flight.
    When you set a fire in a flight, you may kill hundreds of people.

    Don’t kill hundreds of people. Don’t buy an iphone.

    Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCuPyLeDzng&feature=relmfu

  • I wonder how much they paid for the repair? Apple have a good policy for out of warranty “repairs” as such. My wife’s iPhone 4 had a swim, we took it to apple (after trying putting it in rice to dry it out) and they replaced the phone for $180 and it comes with a 90 day warranty.
    We thought it was a good deal. Apple could have simply said stuff you and we would have been up for another phone.

  • I wonder about the screen replacements the local shopping centre iPhone case shop does… It’s one of those shops in the middle of the walkway. The signs they have are in Engrish. Hmmm…

  • So was it a screw that was just in wonky or was it a screw that they just dropped in the battery bay and left there?

    Looking at the teardown http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPhone-4-Teardown/3130/1 I can only see 4 that get anywhere near the battery.

    1) The one just below the tab in the middle photo of step 7 (removal shown in first photo of step 8)
    2-4) The three shown on the right of the phone in the photos (top shown in 3rd photo of step 8, and front shown in first photo of step 12)
    Then looking at the big first photo of step 5…
    1) looks too far away to be an issue, and 2-4 look like they would have to be almost completely unscrewed to touch the battery.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!