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iPhone 3G catches fire in Europe, burns car seat

updated 11:50 pm EDT, Thu July 30, 2009

iPhone 3G catches fire?

An iPhone 3G in Europe has reportedly caught fire while sitting on the passenger seat of a person's car, according to The owner of the iPhone Pieter, a man living in the Dutch city of Leiden, reportedly returned to his car after leaving it unattended for a few minutes and discovered that his iPhone had caught on fire and completely destroyed his passenger's seat. When he left the iPhone it was sitting inside a Belkin hard-case where it had gone into standby mode and was not connected to a car charger.

After the incident occurred Pieter contacted both Apple, and the exclusive iPhone carrier in the Netherlands T-Mobile, but both companies have refused to take responsibility over the device catching fire.

This is only one of the many times an Apple mobile device has been reported to have caught on fire. After an incident in November 2008 that resulted in a burn caused by an iPod shuffle, a company by the name of KIRO 7 began an investigation which discovered over 800 pages covering 15 different fires spanning from 2005 to 2008. In those cases Apple seemed to take the same approach by allegedly feigning ignorance when contacted by customers.

In some cases however incidents have resulted in possible lawsuits towards Apple, one of them taking place in March of 2009 where a mother attempted to sue Apple after an iPod touch apparently caught fire in her 15-year-old sons pants pocket, scorching his leg and causing physical and mental distress. Additional cases range all the way to Japan, where in August of last year a pair of iPod nanos overheated resulting in a burned up straw mat and paper, which also surrounded another incident from March of the same year where an iPod nano began erupting in sparks.

In order to deal with some these situations Apple has both published patents to address physical problems inherited in the batteries in electronic devices, as well as provided a set of guidelines for the iPhone and iPhone 3GS, to help prevent users from overheating their mobile devices. The recently added guidelines deliver information on what temperatures the handsets should be operated in, and includes a warning message that will pop up if the iPhone is going to overheat.

by MacNN Staff



  1. TiberiusMonkey

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple Fanboy.

    I know I'll sound like an Apple Fanboy, but I have to wonder how hot it is there right now. Where I am in the UK we've had some very hot spells and I don't think I'd want to leave ANY electrical device sat on my car seat.

  1. Geordiekeith

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Dutch weather

    Well in Amsterdam we have not had any very hot spell recently, and Leiden is nearer the coast so less likely. What is the stated operating temperature range for an iPhone by the way?

  1. Parky

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Operating Temps for the iPhone are :

    Operating temperature: 32 to 95 F
    (0 to 35 C)

    I can see the temp in a car quite easily getting above those temps, even if it is only sunny and not hot outside.

  1. ff11

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I wonder if the case exacerbated the problem. I also keep my iPhone in a case and have often wondered if that could impede heat dissipation and lead to potential problems.

  1. auge2u

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Kiro 7 - not a company

    "Kiro 7" is not a company but a TV station in Seattle, WA. The article seems to be this

    maybe you can find more info with this?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I have no idea why the 'operational/non-operational temperatures' are a concern. That would explain why it doesn't work in the car, but if that caused it to catch fire, someone in Apple legal needs to add some wording to the usage/conditions section of the tech specs page.

  1. SaudiMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Humidity or Accessory?

    I dont believe it's only the "heat". I live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where the summer is about 110 degrees and I had no issues using an iPhone 3G. I could be the humidity though.

    Riyadh is very dry but a friend in Jeddah (a city on the red sea, very humid) told me that 2 france's orange's iPhone 3GS's board completely burned & damaged by kinsingston LiquidAUX car kit. Orange will replace ASAP if they agree to sign a new contract that forbid them from using Kinsington & Belkin car kits.


  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    watch out, guys!

    I left a plastic mechanical pencil in the car, and it bent in half from the heat of the sun.

    Belkin has an unconditional money back guarantee, by the way -- in case this guy wants to get a new case. =:O)

    In the meantime, carry your phone in your back pockets, guys! Ladies, in the purse!

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The case...

    Remeber the case adds an insulating jacket that may put the op temp over the limit, or add a heat absorbing layer that effectively acts as a heater overwhelming the ambient radient cooling ability of the outside of the case. Any experienced iPhone users will note the warmth also of the touch screen when using multiple features such as 3G call while web browsing on wifi.

    - A

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