Why you shouldn’t charge your iPhone while you sleep: Apple issues warning about the dangers of giving handsets a boost at night
- Keeping a charging iPhone in bed can ’cause discomfort or injury’, the firm says
- If the device is smothered by bedding it can’t release heat, causing explosions
Apple has issued a stark warning for smartphone addicts who fall asleep holding their device while it’s hooked up to their charger.
In its online user guide, the tech giant says its iPhones should only be charged in a ‘well-ventilated area’ – so on a flat tabletop and not on a thick duvet.
iPhones heat up as they charge, so if this heat does not have the room to escape it has the potential to cause burns or even start fires.
This is why keeping a charging phone under your pillow is one of the worst things smartphone users can do.
Apple falls short of telling people not to have a phone charging overnight at all – although this is the official advice from some fire services.
Apple advises against letting your iPhone sleep with you when it’s charging. iPhones should only be charged in a ‘well-ventilated area’, it says – but some fire services go further by saying devices shouldn’t be charged when the owner’s asleep at all whether or not they’re well-ventilated
READ MORE NYPD warns against sleeping with phones under the pillow
Sandwiching a charging phone between a pillow and a mattress can cause batteries to overheat and possibly catch fire or explode (file photo)
The tech giant says: ‘Sustained contact with warm surfaces for long periods of time may cause discomfort or injury.
‘Use common sense to avoid situations where your skin is in contact with a device, its power adapter, or a wireless charger when it’s operating or connected to a power source for long periods of time.
‘For example, don’t sleep on a device, power adapter, or wireless charger, or place them under a blanket, pillow, or your body, when it’s connected to a power source.
‘Keep your iPhone, the power adapter, and any wireless charger in a well-ventilated area when in use or charging.
‘Take special care if you have a physical condition that affects your ability to detect heat against the body.’
Apple doesn’t explicitly advise against charging your phone overnight at all; in fact, as long as it’s in a ‘well-ventilated area’ it should be safe, Apple’s blog post suggests.
However, some fire services go a step further by advising against any kind of overnight charging.
Kent Fire Service has already warned about the dangers of keeping a phone on a charging pad or hooked up to a charging cord while we sleep, wherever it’s placed.
In a TikTok video, one of its education officers outlines three main reasons why you should only charge while you’re awake.
This is a highly debated topic on our TikTok, but if you ARE able to do so, it’s much safer to charge any electrical items when you’re there and awake ✔️ #firesafety #firefighting #kentfire #firefighters #kentuk #fireservice #firesafetytips #firefightertiktok #firefightersoftiktok
‘Number one, you can’t smell anything when you’re asleep, so if it starts to burn fire won’t wake you up.
‘Number two, it only takes three breaths of smoke to knock you unconscious.
‘Number three, lots of people have cheap or faulty phone chargers, but even genuine ones have been known to start fires.’
READ MORE Mother warns others not to leave chargers plugged in after house fire
Horrific images show the aftermath of a bedroom destroyed by fire
Aside from Samsung’s catastrophic Galaxy Note 7 device, which exploded due to defects in its design, smartphones suddenly combusting are rare – but this is not to say it never happens.
According to a 2015 report, an iPhone 7 ‘exploded’ with a loud bang in China after it was left to charge on a bedside table – so in a well-ventilated area as per Apple advice.
Fortunately no one was hurt by the incident, but sadly this is not always the case.
In 2021, a schoolboy in Vietnam was tragically killed when his phone exploded as it was being charged, although it’s unclear what model he was using.
Two years later, a girl in Kazakhstan was similarly killed by her phone exploding on her pillow after she went to sleep with it plugged into a charger.
Another case from last year suggests devices can explode at any time – day or night – if they’ve been charging long enough.
A Glasgow household was destroyed by a smartphone fire that started just after 8pm, although it’s unclear how long the device had been plugged in for.
Another reason not to charge your iPhone throughout the night is less to do with the dangers and more to do with how it affects your device’s lifespan.
Phones typically take up to two hours to become fully charged, but when they’re plugged in overnight they’re being powered for eight hours or more, depending on how long you sleep for.
This increases the amount of heat the battery is exposed to and ultimately decrease its lifespan, meaning you’re more likely to have to buy a new phone sooner.
This is why it’s worth remembering to take your phone off the charge if you wake up during the night – or changing your charging habits entirely.
Alternatives include keeping a charger at your desk at work so you can unplug it as soon as it reaches 100 per cent or giving it a burst of juice in the morning shortly after you wake up.
On iOS 13 and later, Apple has a feature called ‘optimised battery charging’, which delays charging once it reaches 80 per cent.
This limits the impact of overnight charging and increases the longevity of the device battery, Apple claims.
I’m a cellphone repair expert: These are the common mistakes that drain your battery – for iPhone, Android and Google handsets
Most of us have been charging our phones wrong, according to a phone repair expert who specializes in refurbishing old handsets.
The way many of us recharge our phones – including leaving it on charge overnight or plugged in while we work – can actually damage the battery.
This permanently diminishes the amount of charge the device can hold and means we have to buy a new device sooner.
Letting phones run out of battery altogether is also harmful, warns Kewin Charron, Senior Lead Refurbishment Operations Manager at Back Market, speaking to DailyMail.com.
Charron said: ‘Leaving your phone plugged in, or letting it die, rapidly reduces the lifespan of your battery.
‘Instead, you should aim to keep your charge level between 20-80 percent.’
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