iPhone 4S Swollen Battery

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ScottishCaptain, Sep 27, 2016.

  1. ScottishCaptain macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    #1
    I've got a 5 year old iPhone 4S here that appears to have a swollen battery. There's some very strange blue marks on the LCD screen (almost like it's under constant pressure) and the phone no longer sits flush on a surface. I'm assuming the battery has expanded and is putting pressure on the internals.

    The phone still works fine. It has less than a hundred hours of call time on it, and I've maybe run the battery down past 50% a whopping 10 or 20 times. Usually the phone is sitting in my dock where I use it for development purposes on a daily basis.

    So I'm wondering- what should I do about the battery?

    I've tried contacting Apple and they just said to bring it into an Apple Store (there are none where I live) or an AASP (of which there are several). The AASP wants $40 to "diagnose" the problem, and they can't tell me how much a replacement battery will cost, or if Apple will even cover the cost of a replacement.

    Is this something that Apple should fix? It seems pretty obvious to me that the battery is defective and quite possibly a fire hazard should it continue to swell (I've unplugged the phone and turned it off). Who is responsible for this kind of failure? Will I be on the hook for a replacement battery? I don't really want to spend $40 trying to figure this out when I can order a replacement battery from iFixit for like $20 (though I'm a bit leery to replace the battery myself, just because of the chance something might break).

    -SC
     
  2. rainafterthesun macrumors 6502

    rainafterthesun

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    #2
    You've run down the battery past 50% a whooping 10 to 20 times and you've had this phone for 5 years and it managed not to get a swollen battery before this?

    Sometimes it can be from manufacturing defect (I don't see a lot of posts regarding the iPhone 4s) but more often then not it can be overcharging and overheating (http://wirelessrev.ca/heres-why-your-phones-battery-is-swollen/). I have many electronics, 99% from apple, and a good portion of that is iPhones as I've owned every variation since the 3, and no, *knockonwood* I have yet to have a swollen battery. I also am paranoid about leaving it charged longer then I absolutely have to. I try to detach it once it hits 100% if not immediately then close to it. I also let it die down to 1-2% as often as possible so I get the most out of the charge.

    It's clearly a user issue, not manufacturing.
     
  3. ScottishCaptain thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    #3
    Wait, what?

    Are you honestly telling me it's my fault for following Apple's directions and leaving the phone on the dock when it's not in my pocket?

    I've owned a lot of electronics over the years. I don't think I've ever heard that one before.

    -SC
     
  4. rainafterthesun macrumors 6502

    rainafterthesun

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    #4
    I'm curious, where's the info on that, because I had the 4s. It didn't come with a dock. And I never read the manual so I will admit I'll be curious to see where apple says if it's not in your pocket to leave it charged or, don't let it go past 50% battery, place in charger asap once it hits 50%

    ETA, same, I've owned a lot of electronics and I've never heard "keep device consistently charged" or "don't let it go beyond 50%" or "must be charged in when not in ones pocket" before
     
  5. ScottishCaptain, Sep 27, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016

    ScottishCaptain thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    #5
    I always plug my devices in when I'm not using them.

    Apple's own website says the iPhone is supposed to have an intelligent charge controller that prevents this sort of nonsense (apple.com/batteries). The manual doesn't say anything about charging it when not in use, but it doesn't say anything about not charging it when not in use. I've always heard that you're supposed to put lithium powered devices on the charger, since the batteries like to be trickle charged whenever possible.

    Anyways, the 4S probably has more use on it then I originally said- typically the battery would sag to 75-80% after a heavy day of development work, even though it was on the charger. Apple's website claims that when you discharge the battery, that % is added to some sort of counter and when the counter hits 100%, that counts as a single "cycle"... So there's probably quite a few on there.

    Nevertheless, I still get a good day's worth of use out of the battery when I'm occasionally out and about (playing games, listening to music, checking email, etc). So the battery isn't totally unused, but it also isn't totally used up either.

    -SC
     
  6. TrueBlou macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Location:
    Scotland
    #6
    As far as leaving them on charge goes, shouldn't matter. They stop drawing power once they are charged, when the charge drops it'll trickle charge it back up. I've got a 4S that's been on a charger non stop for well over a year, I use it as a streaming camera, no harm done.

    As for what you should do, simple, get the battery replaced. Any repair shop should be able to do it. After this length of time Apple really aren't responsible for the battery, it's pretty much past the point where it would be considered normal life span. If there was an inherent fault with the batteries of many devices there would be a recall, but that's not the case in this instance.
     
  7. mi7chy macrumors 68040

    mi7chy

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2014
    #7
  8. Newtons Apple macrumors P6

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #8
    After 4 years, Apple should not replace under warranty.
     
  9. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Location:
    France
    #9
    After 4 years, the phone should just break, like auto-destruction mechanism to force you to buy a new one.
     
  10. irod87 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2012
    #10
    I wouldn't think Apple would cover this. I would take it and have the battery replaced or buy a do it yourself kit.
     
  11. BrettApple macrumors 65816

    BrettApple

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Heart of the midwest
    #11
  12. Analog Kid macrumors 601

    Analog Kid

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2003
    #12
    Sounds like it's about to...
    If the battery is swelling, get it to an Apple store. That shouldn't be happening and it could be a sign of impending danger. We had an old 13" MBP with a swollen battery that started pushing the trackpad out of the housing. I made a Genius Bar appointment and then wrapped the laptop in a fireman's coat I had laying around (long story...) until I could take it in.

    There's a few things that could make it swell, some are very bad, some less so, but given the possibility that it's a build up of hydrogen that failed to vent for whatever reason, I'd get it fixed as soon as you can.
     
  13. Newtons Apple macrumors P6

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #13

    No, not at all, it could have broke after 3 years or 5 years. It is WELL OUT OF WARRANTY!
     
  14. Mrbobb, Oct 12, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016

    Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    #14
    Sorry for participating beating a dead horse, but after 5 years we still hold vendor responsible for a consumable (battery) item? Is this for real?

    Plus as an engineer, keeping a mobile device constantly on its charging dock is definitely not how it's designed for and am not even a little surprise the battery finally gave up.
     
  15. Steve686 macrumors 68030

    Steve686

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2007
    Location:
    US>FL>Miami/Dade>Sunny Isles Beach>Condo
    #15
    Even while the phone is plugged in, there will be some discharge occurring. After 5 years, the number of times the battery discharged and recharged to a true 100% full cycle will have added up to X number of full cycles. You're never truly plugging the phone directly into AC like an iMac.

    I also had a MacBook Pro first run unibody that had a removable battery that swelled and pushed out the battery cover, and made the trackpad very hard to click.

    As far as warranty, probably no luck there. But try. There was a run of MacBook Pros back several years ago that had defective Invidia graphics chips. Apple decided to replace many of these computers 3-5 years later with brand new machines when it was impossible to get new motherboards.
     
  16. Jimmy James macrumors 68040

    Jimmy James

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #16
    I swapped a 4s battery last year. ifixit even sells a kit with included tools. It's pretty straightforward. I'm not mechanically inclined and found it easy.
     
  17. ThunderMasterMind macrumors 6502

    ThunderMasterMind

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2016
    #17
    I second this. The iPhone 4/S is the easiest of all the iPhones to repair, literally. You remove the screws underneath and slide the back glass panel off and it gives you access to pretty much everything. That's why I love these phones, because they are so easy to repair.
     
  18. AL2TEACH macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    Denver, CO.
    #18
    I had an iPhone 4 battery swell up on me and the repair guy said, putting it on the charger all the time caused it.
     
  19. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Location:
    France
    #19
    I don't mind paying to replace the battery, I got an iFixit kit and did it myself. What I don't find normal is the swelling (happened in my macbook air and macbook pro also, breaking the trackpad in both cases). If the battery has a limited lifetime, they should warn you, and preventively replace them.
     
  20. solarguy17 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2007
    #20
    The phone is 5 years old. Apple is not responsible for that old of a device.
    If you want to fix it go ahead but really just a replacement device. Why are you developing on iPhone 4S anyway?
     
  21. eastgurl2001 macrumors newbie

    eastgurl2001

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2017
    #21
    I know this is an old thread, but today I went looking for my iPhone4 that I haven't used in a year and discovered the back glass broke in two and the back cover popped off. Mind you it hasn't been plugged in, and it hasn't been used in a year. I was going to charge it so I could have alot of songs to listen too while I went to the gym, and found it like that in my nightstand.
     
  22. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #22
    And…?

    I'm not finding a question in your post.
     
  23. eastgurl2001 macrumors newbie

    eastgurl2001

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2017
    #23
    Sorry, new to Forums, Im concerned that it will cause a fire. I just found the stupid thing. Its been sitting in a drawer for a year, and I don't know what to do with it? Im afraid of keeping it in my house or transporting it in my car to dispose of.
     
  24. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #24
    Take it to Apple (or an electronics recycler if Apple isn't close to you) to have them dispose of it if you aren't planning on repairing or replacing it.

    No need to worry about anything. The battery has a protective sheath around it so it is safe to handle and transport.
     
  25. eastgurl2001 macrumors newbie

    eastgurl2001

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2017
    #25
    I don't have an Apple store anywhere near me :(. I don't know where to take it. My county has a hazardous waste pickup, but it wont happen again for months.
     

Share This Page