iPhone 5s reportedly catches fire while on charge

Amid Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 troubles, reports of other devices spontaneously combusting have been plentiful. While close rival Apple is expected to enjoy a sales boost after the cancellation of the Note 7, reports of Cupertino devices also going up in smoke have become a worryingly frequent. In the latest, an iPhone 5s apparently caught fire while on charge. 

Per a report over at MyDrivers, iPhone 5s owner Jinan Liu placed his device on charge during the early hours of October 16th after the battery had died. He then left the device on his bed and went off to the toilet. Upon his return, he saw smoke billowing from the device, which burned the bedclothes as can be seen in the gallery below. 

He swiftly doused the device with water, but had the fire really picked up, the damage could have been much more significant. Apparently, there were elderly people and children in the next room, and had Mr. Liu not caught the fire early, lives may have been at risk. 

From what we understand of the report's translation, Liu owned the device for two years and bought it directly from an Apple retail outlet. It seems he's currently in discussion with the fruit company, though it's unknown what kind of resolution has been reached. 

There's no telling, in this case, whether the device was being charged using an official Apple power cable. Fakes are ubiquitous, often poorly made, and thus increase the potential of a mishap such as this. 

Still, given what we've seen over the past couple of months from many manufacturers, seemingly no device is 100% safe from a potential explosion -- legit cable or not.


source: MyDrivers (translate)

Related phones

iPhone 5s
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A7, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 1570 mAh(10h 3G talk time)



1. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

Feel the Cr@pple!

2. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

What i think is the following. Owned easily 12 or more android in past 6 years. Never used the cable in the box because my charging plug at home is far from my bed so i use super long cheap cable i got on eBay and i use various charger. Not a single device heated or exploded ( only owned the Samsung S3 as a Samsung and not a single iPhone but i had htc , lg , Motorola and even 1 blackberry lol ) So stop with the crappy excuses about cables. If the phone battery and charging system inside the phone is well made its can handle those voltage change ect easily if cheap part or battery are used then its will have issue if not specific charger. So the moral of this story? Apple and Samsung use cheap battery and or charging part.

24. AlikMalix unregistered

I actually agree... I use cheap $3 cables for charging all my devices as well as the ones that can e with the phone. Had iPhones since 3GS, and an iPad that was mad in 2012 (still using) - never an issue. It's been a rare accurance in the world before the recent Samsung failure with note 7 design flaw. It's just the nature of the modern battery tech, that a few defective ones come thru. As long as they compact these things so tightly against other components - it will continue to happen here and there. Hopefully no one will ever experience what Samsung went thru recently - screw fanboyism, screw manufacturers, screw profits, that was too many people that were put at risk - and I don't care which brand it was - that should not happen!!!

32. PrYmCHGOan

Posts: 335; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

I agree and disagree. PA posted an article that asks about using chargers and cables from different OEM's to charge a phone. The article basically said, if you use a certified UL Listed charger from any brand, you should be able to safely use it with any brand of phone. The charging components are suppose to be able to handle any fluctuations in current and voltage. Why? Because the current and voltage in the wall socket, always fluctuates based on how many items are plugged into it. With Samsung phones. I have used my S3, S4, S6, Note 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 chargers with any Samsung and iPhone with no issue. Not once have they gotten too hot or caught fire. I have bought second handed branded chargers from Duracell, eBay, Amazon, Belken, truckstops, and other places; and I've still never had any issue. Apple likely is using cheap parts, but Samsung does not. In the past when Samsung phones have caught fire while charging, it was because most of those peopel were using cheap batteries from questionable sources. Now that youi can't remove the batteries, could it be the cable and charger? Sure it could, but less likely. what is the issue is fools placing charring phones on combustible surfaces and leaving them there for long periods. Leaving charging phones in hot cars, inside pockets, inside bags and more stupid things. The Note 7 was an exception in that all those people appear to have been using the stock charger, the phone wasn't on a flammable surface and more. The iPhone however, has been the obly phone in history, where using a non-OEM charger from Apple caused it to catch fire. Even with that fact, with the iPhone being the phone that has caught on fire more than any brand of phone on the market, yet has neer been banned, has caught fire on a plane more than once, has burn people, burned down homes, burned up cars, caused serious injury and even death; shows that the USA simply has it out for outsiders like Samsung, because they don't want their products here anyways. Also, even Apple admitted that the battery inside the iPhone basically has a 2 year cycle depending on how often you charge it. If an iPhone is more than 2 years old, for each day you keep it, you put yourself at a higher risk of being injured or even killed.

33. PrYmCHGOan

Posts: 335; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

To add, Apple is making a big stink about unlicensed 3rd party chargers, not because of the risk of using them, but because Apple won't get paid for licensing them. Apple wants you to believe that using a license Apple charger from a 3rd party is a better buy, yet facts have shown they have still caught fire using chargers from Belken and other. Its just Apple trying to close the money bleeding line.

3. lyndon420

Posts: 6883; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Legit cable or not...the phones should have safeguards to prevent overheating. A thermal cutoff switch right at the charge port to kill incoming power...something at least. So far it looks like the two biggest phone OEM's should be avoided until they get their sh!t together.

7. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

And the crazy push for thinnest in smartphones abets overheating, resulting in explosion incidents.

34. PrYmCHGOan

Posts: 335; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

Being to thin and now waterproofing them too. Eliminating places where heat could escape is now trapped inside the phone where the battery, CPU, GPU, camera and more are all reaching thermonuclear heat caps.

20. miket1737

Posts: 3092; Member since: Mar 17, 2013

All smartphones, well 98% of them have failsafes for li ion batteries

31. PrYmCHGOan

Posts: 335; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

Really? 100% of them do. The problem is, if you place a charging phone on a combustible surface, the fail-safes aren't design to save the phone from stupidity. The fail-safe don't work anyways. The current controller is suppose to not allow the charger to provide more voltage to the device. Its a voltage regulator. Another controller, tells the phone when the battery has reached it charging peak and tells it to turn off charger, even if still plugged in. This doesn't always work either. Humans need ot be their own fail-safe! Start by, not charging phone son combustible surfaces. I think he did it on purpose. Then again, I use to think their weren't that many stupid in the world. But the vast majority of them by iPhones.

4. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1348; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

Aren't iPhones designed to not charge of you use unofficial chargers? I remember buying chargers and then the next year's models showing a message about not liking last year's secondary market chargers.

5. bucky

Posts: 3795; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

It will take official chargers from apple and the major players like belkin but not the fake ones anymore. A message does pop up.

25. AlikMalix unregistered

I use a non brand $3 ones all the time - no issues.

35. PrYmCHGOan

Posts: 335; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

No they are not. But all phones should be. But I think the reason they don't do this is because, if you leave a charger at home and then you go buy one, you should have the choice to buy whatever you want and not be forced to pay he extra high cost for an OEM charger. As long as a charger meats the UL Listed qualifications, it should never cause an issue. But it seems anyone can pay for a UL Listed certification on products. Hvaing said that, Samsung phones will refuse to charge if the cbale is not the right type. Liek for example, I used the cable from my Gear S2 charger and when I plugged it into my PC, the PC wont recognize the phone, it will connect and disconnect constantly. When when I put it on the charger for the phone, it won't charge. It will show a message saying I need to use the proper cable. iPhone's have never done this. But then again, it could be because Ive always used branded chargers with iPhones. I've charged them with Blackberry, HTC, Samsung and even Sony chargers with no issue. I just simply used the original iPhone cable. With Samsung, there are some cheap cables I've bought on eBay before. They simply just didn't work. Since day one, I've been stilling using my Note 5 charger and cable, along with the Note 7 USB Type C adapter to MicroUSB with no issue.

6. ebilcake

Posts: 1231; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

It happens to all devices, it's just the failure rate is usually very low. Given the huge number of devices Apple and Samsung ship it's not that surprising they feature more than any others. If anyone thinks this is exclusive to Apple and Samsung, then they're deluded.

9. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

^^ I second that. And such incidents involving the major brands is manna for the media.

10. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

I entirely agree which is why it frustrates me how the media slaughtered Samsung, yet have basically let off Apple, find it a bit disgusting.

11. ebilcake

Posts: 1231; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

It's a title concerning as whose to say somebody couldn't fake one of these fires by tampering with the devices? I'm not suggesting that's the case, it's just alarming the amount of damage a few people with a little nohow could intentionally do to a huge corporation.

16. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

I agree with this, especially since Samsung is saying they cannot reproduce it, and saying "We do not know what went wrong" is MUCH worse for them then saying anything else. So yeah, if you ask me, finding 100 people that would want to sabotage/attack Samsung, does not seem unlikely as long as they have a method for doing so. If this is happening, I do not know, but I simply wouldn't be surprised if it turns out to be the case.

12. McLTE

Posts: 922; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

What is exclusive is the press coverage for Samsung. I see on the TV news reports about the Samsung phone and I even saw a piece on the case for the iPhone case that looks like a fried Note 7. Funny how they don't talk about the Apple phones that are burning up.

15. ebilcake

Posts: 1231; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

I only saw it on the news here in UK when they announced the recalls, I don't think they ever covered any stories of burning phones as I don't think there have been any here, which suggests to me the failure rate wasn't high enough for a recall. US media seemed to jump all over all it after the incident on the flight.

17. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Well it doesn't really surprise me, and this not meant as a jab at American's but it doesn't surprise me that an American product gets defended by america, and a foreign product gets attacked.

19. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

I am American and I agree with you.

28. AlikMalix unregistered

That's bull. I specifically remember iPhone fires reported on TV. Or the bending with iPhone 6+. Or the celebrity cloud attack (even though google users got the same exact attack - just most celebrities use iPhones). Samsung fiasco was/is huge compared to random and rare defective units from other companies.

29. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

occasional report, vs all out media panic? There is a difference, there has also been those occasional reports for all other phones so yeah... 100 units or so 'huge' is not.....really so but alright.

36. AlikMalix unregistered

When it's the same model, over and over, it's unprecedented, and if it was some software glitch, or problem with battery, it wouldn't be a big deal, but this issue was dangerous to its owners - this a BIG DEAL. It's. It media panic, if the manufactuer was forced to recall, TWICE, and outright told its users to power down their phone and NOT use it!!! Samsung had issues with ram management - some devices still do - that is not much of a big deal - just poor experience for some - you don't see media panic or covering it at all (apart from few tech sites). Most probably don't know that their phones are behaving improperly. And all the coverage worked out well, because lately everyone has heard about it and either returned it for good or using it very very cautiously, the explosions (actually i hate that they use the word "explosions" - when it's just fire and toxic smoke), nevertheless, the daily fires have became extremely seldom - great for Samsung, great for consumers. Why are you bitching about the coverage. If it happened to Apple and there were just as many negative articles and news coverage - you and the usual suspects would be bitching that media isn't covering it enough. You gotta see thru your own bias at the least.

40. PrYmCHGOan

Posts: 335; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

The coverage was not equal. In fact, 3 users here posted 3 stories of iPhone that caught fire, that weer posted on other sites, but not PA. And then afterwards, PA only posted 2 of the 3. Sorry, the coverage was simply not the same. Should it have been? All I can say is, Samsung issue made the issue more apparanet. So when it happened to other OEM's like Apple, every single one should also have been reported. PA didn't even report most of the Apple ones, but went digging for Samsung ones, no one had even heard of until it showed up on PA. So no it wasnt the same, no matter your claim.

38. PrYmCHGOan

Posts: 335; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

More than 6 iPhone have caught fire, in just the first 6 months of 2016. That is fairly regular. Sure its not the same as 6 happening in a week. But it is still an alarming rate. Please list any other company who has has such? That's right ...no one. One day, because Apple has never been pinned for their wrongs, is going to release a product, and millions are going to buy and millions are going to get injured and one of them could be you. We will see what people will be saying then! After Apple purposely made Macs without heatsinks and they caught fire or ruin the motherboard, and aApple charged for the repair, and then had to be sued into covering their fault via warranty, is why I stopped buying Macs. After the iPhone 4 issue, where APple knew about it and lied, then tried to sell the fix as an acessory, that was enough for me. Tehn when I did consider the iPhone 5S, they were reported to come in the box, damaged and bent. Then I considered the iPhone 6 Plus, and it bent, and injured people and Apple refused at first to even replace the devices. I watched videos of people with bent phones being sent away and laughed at. So I'm done. I have an iPad pro which is garbage and I've used less than 20 times since buying it. I have an iPad Mini for the kid. Both are going to the Philippines this year and they will be the last products ever to enter my home with an Apple logo...EVER! if Samsung doesn't make a Note in 2017, I wont being buying their phones either. Will use what I have until they stop working. None of these phones really have been worth buying. I liek the Galaxy S, but I prefer the Note. I don't like any other Android brand. So if no Samsung, then I wont be buying any other options unless they get much better than they are.

37. PrYmCHGOan

Posts: 335; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

They were. But none were banned. And iPhone has caught on fire on a plane more than once. In fact it happened 3 times, with one plane being forced to land. Still its never been banded from planes. The phone bent in peoples pockets and ruptured the battery and caused serious 3rd degree burns where people required skin grafs. Still the phone even when it was proven to be faulty in its design, was not banded. Sissy is right. Samsung was literally crucified by the media and rightfully so. But, when Apple was in the same situation, they were given a pass. With Smasung, no one was injured. NO ONE SINGLE PERSON. Only damage to property. It was even found some people were scamming too. I don't know what an overheating phone looks like. How do you know its overheating? Being hot to the touch is not a sign as people have different tolerances to extreme temperatures. In order for a phoen to even feel hot, it would have to exceed the temperture of your own body. So a person who lives in central Florida would not find a phone at 05 degrees to be overheating, while a person who live in Maine, may cry and say its too hot at a mere 90 degrees. Only 26 phones in the USA actually caught first out of a total shipment of 2.5M, where 1.5M camera to the USA. That means the problem was small. What made the problem a disaster is, there wasn't a known variable for the issue. What we do know now is, its not the battery. Could it be the adhesive? The controller for the voltage failing? The display? The waterproofing could be to tight causing the heat to not have an escape? Who knows!

39. AlikMalix unregistered

Are you replying to me? I'm not gonna read anything past your first paragraph. It's half truths and half bulls**t, anyway. And I know that you know it's all bullshit. For example: you stated tha tiphones burned up - is it same model over and over... and over? Nope, it's isolated. Those that got electrocuted to death (by the way I can only find one article in China) - has been investigated and has been determined that the charger that she used to charge killed her, not the device she plugged it into. That cord would have electrocuted her if she touched the metal end of it. But let's say the iPhone killed her! Why recall the entire line if this happened with ONE device. If it consistently happens at least TWO OT THREE times to the same model - yeah - that's a problem with design. This happens to one phone, in China, with a knockoff charger! Yeah, Apple should stop making phones completely, right? /s. Tldr: there are cases involving several iPhones yes - non of which tied to one model device, and same consistent problem - like Note 7!!!

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.