Is using a phone while charging it an explosion waiting to happen?

YES, it can be an explosion waiting to happen, but it is extremely unlikely.

With how glued people are to their phones nowadays, smartphones appear to exist in one of two states: being used or being charged.

However, some users have concerns whether it is safe to use your phone while it is being charged.

The presumed risk is that the phone could electrocute the user, or more dramatically explode in their hands.

There have even been a handful of local cases recently where budget phones donated to students to be used for e-learning caught fire while being charged.

There was also the high-profile death of then-Cradle Fund chief executive officer Nazrin Hassan. His death was initially blamed on the phone exploding and causing a fire, leading to chatter about the dangers of leaving a phone charging reaching levels nearing that of an urban legend.

However, both scenarios were brought into question.

In the students’ case, the China-based phone manufacturer claimed it had no previous issues despite selling 4.5 million models using the same battery. Last reported, it was investigating the matter.

As for the fatal phone explosion, witnesses in the investigation revealed there was no exploding phone and that the fire was likely caused by burning petrol. The cause of death has been attributed to murder, and the case is still being tried.

Various smartphone manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung and Huawei all state that their phones can be used while charging. At worst, it will slow down the charging process.

Huawei does warn that simultaneous use and charging of a smartphone will make the device heat up more, and that the increased temperature could shorten a battery’s lifespan.

“If the battery is charged at a high temperature for a long time, the battery life will be shortened, and the battery may even be damaged,” it explains on its community forum.

Overheating a smartphone’s battery can be a cause for concern. Back in 2016, Samsung recalled 2.5 million units of its Galaxy Note 7s model after several burst into flame.

After investigating the problem, the company revealed that it was caused by issues with the design of the battery: some were built too tightly to the internal electronics causing it to generate too much heat, while some units were missing insulation around the battery.

The problem was resolved with a design change and the phone was re-launched under a new name and since then there have been no reported cases.

Ultimately, a smartphone can burst into flame if it overheats. However, based on cases reported, this is extremely unlikely or a fluke due to damage to the phone’s design. Basically, while using a phone while it is being charged can cause it to heat up more, users are not at risk of having it explode in their hands

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