Reports of exploding iPhones are fairly rare, but on those occasions when it does happen they can cause severe injuries - as a 36-year-old man in Australia just found out. Gareth Clear was burned so badly when his iPhone 6 ignited, he suffered third-degree burns that required skin grafts.
Clear, a management consultant from Sydney, was cycling through Manly Dam on Sunday afternoon when his foot slipped on the pedal, causing him to fall off his bike. Unfortunately, he managed to land on his iPhone, which was in his back pocket at the time.
Other than a few grazes, Clear didn’t suffer any injuries from the fall itself, but a few seconds after getting off the ground he noticed smoke coming out of his shorts. "I suddenly saw this incredible plume of smoke," he said. "And there was a searing pain that went along with it – as though someone had pushed a huge block of ice against my leg. It was pretty freaking painful."
The iPhone 6 melted through Clear’s thick cycling shorts before burning off three layers of skin on his upper right thigh. When he attempted to remove the shorts and the phone, which was now melting into his flesh, he burned his fingers, so he used his fist to punch the device off his leg. “It had to have been more than 100 degrees,” he added.
The iPhone continued to emit smoke when it hit the ground. Clear waited for it to cool before using two pieces of wood to pick it up and carry the blackened device back to town. His burns were so extreme that he had to go to the Royal North Shore burns unit for skin graft surgery. Clear will also be spending the next six days attached to a machine that sits inside the graft sucking out the dead, charred skin.
Clear said he has spoken to Apple about his injury and doesn’t blame the company for what happened, but he wants to make people aware that storing phones in pockets when engaged in physical activities can be dangerous.
"The more pervasive these are in our lives and the more people use them with a lack of apprehension that something might go wrong, the more that these things will happen," he said. "I want Apple to investigate, find out what was the cause and we need to educate people about this."
Apple said they are investigating the matter but gave no additional comment.