Or are you just happy to see me?

A few weeks ago, I noticed a rather large bulge in my pants.

“Is that a phone in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?” my wife asked.

“Err…it’s a phone in my pocket,” I said, and whipped it out to show her. (THE PHONE, people! Sheesh. Clamor down.)

This was certainly odd. I’d had my Google Pixel 3 for three and a half years with nary an issue. Suddenly, however, it had developed what looked like a tumor. The back of the phone was bulging so badly, it was busting out of its polycarbonate case, tearing apart the plastic right along the seams.

I had no choice but to remove the case. Over the next couple of weeks, my phone continued to expand ominously, much like a pre-eruption Mount St. Helens as magma built up in the core. At this point, I figured it was time to think about getting a new phone. I hate the constant cycle of upgrading every couple of years. This was the longest I’d owned a phone, and it still worked perfectly fine! Other than, you know, threatening to split apart into two pieces.

I ignored the problem for a couple more weeks, but things weren’t getting any better, so this morning I Googled, why does my phone look like it’s going to split in half?

The answer was much worse than I’d imagined. A swollen battery, according to the interwebs. I’d never heard of this phenomenon before, but learned that, while not common, heat and gas can build up inside lithium-ion batteries, causing them to swell. This isn’t just inconvenient; it’s downright dangerous. Allow me to quote from Tom’s Guide:

I don’t want to give the impression that a phone with a swollen battery is a ticking time bomb. In fact, the odds are against it on a charge-by-charge basis. But if you continue using that damaged device indefinitely, you’re looking at a burst battery venting some very unpleasant gases, at best — and, at worst, if you keep your phone in your pocket, a small fire right next to body parts that don’t react well to flames. 

I let out a little yelp when reading that and practically tossed my phone across the room like it was a hot potato. Which…umm…it could have been! I didn’t want it anywhere near my pants pocket, no sirree. That’s much too close to body parts that don’t react well to flames.

Side note: are there any body parts that do react well to flames?!

This is why, three hours later, I was the proud owner of a shiny new Pixel 6 Pro. Go big or go home, right? Literally. The new phone is a monster compared to the old one. Funny how silicon chips keep shrinking but the phones they power just get bigger and bigger.

Oh, well. The family jewels are no longer in immediate danger of being incinerated (shudder), which is all that really matters.

Probably the most annoying thing about the whole experience is, my new phone didn’t recognize my old Wordle, so all my stats were wiped out. Which is a bummer, but on the positive side, that one word I couldn’t figure out in six guesses back in April is ancient history and my winning percentage is back up to 100%.

More than one person tried to talk me into getting an iPhone. No way…I’m Team Android, baby. Which is weird, because I refuse to ever own a computer that isn’t a Mac. And yet, as much as I like my Google phone, I whine if I’m forced to use Google Docs over Microsoft Word.

Clearly, I’m a conundrum. Either that, or I like to spread the wealth between Bill Gates, Tim Cook, and Sundar Pichai.

Ever experience a swollen battery? Do you prefer Android or iOS phones? How brand loyal are you when it comes to electronics?

43 thoughts on “Or are you just happy to see me?

  1. Oh my goodness – that is a little terrifying. I’ve never heard of a swollen battery but geez, the list of symptoms definitely make for a terminal case.

    I’m team iPhone and I generally am pretty loyal to brands when I upgrade – just because the process is so much easier. However, I think there’s a good case to be made to switch as you get older because it’d be like learning a new language – good for the brain. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I won’t touch anything that is Windows and have never had an interest, or the finances for anything Apple. I’ve had a Chromebook for years that does everything I need reliably. So clearly Android as well. Oddly enough I knew exactly what was happening to your phone when I read the word expand. You could have been a human torch Mark. Glad you caught it in time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like Mark, I am a split personality when it comes to hardware. I have an iPhone and I guess an Android laptop but for sure an Android table. Also, like somebody else besides Deb, I think, who I also think follows Mark, I’m on the fence re word processing/spreadsheet/presentation software.

      I’ve always used MS, probably because it was already installed on work computers back in the day. Through one of the many free virtual/online classes I’ve taken recently I found that similar free Google programs are nearly the same and, I thought, had the added bonus of defaulting to cloud storage where whatever I did would live forever. However, again through the sad experience of a mutually followed blogger, it appears I might be wrong.

      I replied to Deb’s comment because I’m thinking she might know if it’s unsafe to pack a still (battery) powered, asleep because it’s closed but not powered down laptop, in a checked bag? That’s the current status and mode of transport for mine since the on button is not functional at the moment. The airline agent asked me if I had any lithium batteries in my checked bag and I replied in the negative. Was I unconsciously lying?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The cloud storage feature with Google Docs is pretty nifty, I’ll give them that. It’s also much easier to share and collaborate on files. I’ll just always have a soft spot for MS Word!

        I’m assuming the airline would have wanted to know about that laptop in your bag. The fire danger is real, and if something happened at cruising altitude, that would not be good.


      2. From what I understand the tsa would be unhappy with you. It’s always recommended to carry any device in carry on and then it’s not a problem to have them on. TSA rules state clearly if you must pack them in checked bags they have to be off completely- fire hazard otherwise.


  3. Spontaneous combustion is definitely something to be avoided, glad you dodged that bullet. And while I’m solidly team iPhone, I do harbor a wee bit of jealousy for the Pixel’s camera.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I, too, was wondering what body parts are suited for fire as I read that excerpt from Tom’s Hardware 🙂 What’s that old joke? Give man a campfire, and he’ll be warm for a day, give him an explosive phone and … You know how that ends 🤪

      Liked by 2 people

  4. We are all iPhones and iPads but have always had various others for desktop, probably due to price. I do hate having to get a new phone, especially with the size increases. It’s sad we live in a supposedly environmentally conscious society, but allow manufacturers to design technology and appliances for planned obsolescence.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. No swollen batteries but that’s an odd sentence to write. I’m team android for phones as well, however I do admit to owning an iPad. I don’t need all my devices speaking to one another…I’m afraid they will gang up on me

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good pictures vs. potential incineration? Clearly you like to live dangerously.

    I can’t believe you didn’t start googling and get a new phone the second your old phone started to expand. Surely you didn’t need blogging material that badly?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t have personal experience with a swollen battery. I have an iPhone pretty much because I write on an iMac so I feel the two of them, electronic cousins, belong together. I’m all about family, you know. 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Those batteries have started fires so you were fortunate that you didn’t get burned. Batteries seem to be the weak spot of any phone. I’ve only had iPhones but haven’t had a Mac computer since early days in teaching. Then my district switched over to Windows based, the supposed compatibility between Apple and Microsoft was a joke, so I’ve had a Win machine ever since. Even as a retiree. It’s what I’m used to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read that this is why, if you drop your phone during a flight, the attendants retrieve it for you. They’re afraid it might catch fire at 30,000′. This would be a very bad thing…even worse than the stale peanuts they try to pawn off on you as a snack!


      1. No more peanuts on any flight I’ve been on for the past few years–too many allergies. A small bag of pretzels or those Biscoff (sp?) cookies. I usually fly Alaska though; it may be different on other carriers.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Last time I flew I got pretzels and Biscoff cookies, too – and I believe that was United. Those companies must have deals with all the airlines.


  9. iPhone, iPad and Microsoft on my desktop… so I guess I’m a bit conflicted. I’d go all Apple if their desktops weren’t so darn expensive. I’ve never had a bulging battery but the phones can get pretty hot. My EV battery scares me a bit too (but not as scary as the gas prices I see).

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Crikey! That sounds – um – distinctly worrying. The trend for phones to keep on getting bigger is causing me a problem. I don’t have especially small hands, but I do like to hold my phone in one hand and not have to use both All.The.Time. I’m still using an old iPhone which is bigger than I’d like, but I’m refusing to change it for one of the smaller models as I’m too mean to pay that amount of money. Yet. Himself is solidly team Android and I’m team iPhone (and iPad), although I have a windows desktop and wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s mostly because I can’t be bothered to learn a new operating system until I absolutely have to. My brain is way too full of stuff right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Distinctly worrying” may be the most understated response ever, ha! I’m experiencing the same one-handed dilemma with my new phone. But, you know, at least it’s not about to explode in my pocket, so that’s a win.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Dang. That really is scary! I’m glad you were able to replace the swollen phone.
    I also hate upgrading and would like to keep my phone as long as possible. I think I’m going on almost five years with my current iPhone which is a long time for a small computer that I carry everywhere I go. I use a mac laptop and I do like my apple products; watch, iPad, phone….for me it’s just easier to keep everything working together.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve had swollen battery syndrome, but on a laptop rather than a phone. Fortunately, I could replace the battery without replacing the laptop, even if it required a screwdriver and faking my way through the idea of knowing anything about hardware. As for electronics, I’m team Windows because I developed on that platform and am better equipped to problem solve, and team Android because you can get more apps/functionality for less $$$$. Also, the first Apple PCs I encountered had a one-button mouse, and that’s just lame.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m so glad you survived this, although, come to think of it, a little singed flesh might have resulted in some hefty damages paid out to you by Google. It might have been worth it, ya know? We are:
    i-Phone over Android
    Windows over Mac
    Nespresso over Keurig (though our Jura rules them all)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The problem with that is, there’s a fine line between “a little” singed flesh and “a lot of” singed flesh. One that I’m not comfortable crossing!

      I’ve never even heard of Jura…

      Liked by 1 person

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