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What to do if your phone battery is swollen
As impressive as modern smartphone technology is getting, batteries still rely on chemical reactions. This means these units are prone to some issues, one being battery swelling. It’s not a common issue for most, but the topic pops up from time to time. Apple, Samsung, and even Google devices have had problems with this in the past. It’s not only an annoyance, but a swollen phone battery can be dangerous. This is why today we’re showing you what to do if your phone battery is swollen.
If you find out your phone battery is swollen, you should be very careful with it, as it may be dangerous and is technically a fire hazard. The best you can do is stop using it, turn it off, and go to a professional to get the battery replaced. This may cost money, unless your phone is still under warranty or covered by insurance.
If the phone is no longer worth fixing, you should recycle it safely. You can find recycling centers at call2recycle.org.
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What causes a swollen phone battery?
There are multiple reasons why a lithium-ion battery may swell. There is usually one underlying cause for this to happen, though. Batteries usually swell because gas builds up, creates pressure, and expands them.
With that in mind, we must consider the more common causes for a battery to store gas. Manufacturer defects can happen. If the battery maker doesn’t make the battery correctly, gas can slowly build up during the charging process. This essentially means simply charging your phone enough times could be an issue, especially considering juicing up your phone also creates heat.
Heat commonly speeds the process, too. You should probably make sure not to leave a phone in the sun too much, or next to very hot items.
Additionally, physical damage to the battery can be a very common cause of battery swelling. Have you ever dropped your phone? Maybe you accidentally punctured the battery? This could be why your battery is swelling. Not to mention, batteries get old, too. Chemical reactions can change, and parts weaken.
By the way, this shouldn’t be a common occurrence. Unless there’s a severe manufacturer defect, most batteries should last the couple or few years most users keep a device.
How to know if your phone battery is swollen
It’s much harder to tell if your battery is swelling these days, as handsets with removable batteries are becoming very scarce. We never really see our batteries anymore. This makes it harder to identify a swollen or damaged battery.
The easiest way to tell if a battery is swollen is by inspecting the device (or battery, if you can). Are there any bumps? You may notice an unusual wobble when you lay it on a flat surface. Also, look for warped shapes or signs of the phone disassembling itself. Smartphone backplates start to come off as the battery’s swollen shape puts pressure against them.
While not as safe, the smell can also be a sign of a swollen battery. We wouldn’t advise that you actively try to inhale chemicals, but this is something you may have accidentally noticed already. Does your phone smell odd? People describe a bad battery smell as metallic, and sometimes even sweet.
Even simple things like battery performance can be a dead giveaway. If your battery is charging too slowly, or the charge isn’t lasting as long as it should, this may be a cause of concern.
What to do if your phone battery is swollen
So you’ve found something odd with your smartphone’s battery. Is it safe to use a swollen phone battery? Definitely not! A swollen lithium-ion battery can be very dangerous. The pressure can make gases escape, and the battery can even catch fire or explode, especially if pierced.
Your first step should be to turn off the device immediately, and keep it off. Don’t plug it in or mess with it, either. Leave it in a safe place and keep it there, preferably away from anything that can burn.
A swollen lithium-ion battery can be very dangerous!
If it’s possible, and safe to do so, you should probably remove the battery. Just be careful not to mess with it too much in the process, and try to avoid smelling any fumes it may give off. We actually recommend taking the phone to a professional instead. Technicians will have the necessary knowledge and tools to do this easily. They can also find a suitable replacement for you. This will likely incur some charges and require replacement purchases, though.
How to dispose of a swollen phone battery
If you remove the battery yourself, you should get rid of it safely. You shouldn’t just dump it in the trash. A swollen phone battery is a fire hazard, and no one wants that at home.
If and when it’s safe, you should take your smartphone battery to an authorized battery collection center or a recycling location. You can find your nearest one at call2recycle.org. You can ship them, but we wouldn’t recommend that either. Shipping usually entails a lot of movement, banging around, and packages being around plenty of flammable materials.
If you have a Best Buy around you, these retail locations always have recycling bins. They are usually somewhere around the entrance. You could just go drop off devices there for recycling. You can learn more about Best Buy’s recycling program here.
Swollen batteries are very unsafe to keep using. These can release dangerous fumes, catch on fire, or even explode.
Swollen batteries are a fire hazard. They are dangerous to throw in the trash and you should take them to a recycling center or battery collection location.
The best way to tell if a battery is swollen is by looking for physical manifestations. Look for any areas of the phone morphing, or coming apart. See if there are any bumps around, or if buttons are harder to press.
Batteries should operate efficiently for about two to three years.