Mobility

US government officially recalls Samsung Galaxy Note7 over battery concerns

A few weeks after exploding batteries were reported by some Galaxy Note7 owners, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a formal recall for the devices.

The US government has officially stepped in regarding the Samsung Galaxy Note7 controversy, with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issuing a formal recall for the devices on Thursday. The recall affects roughly 1 million smartphones in the US.

The debacle initially began a few weeks after the launch of the device, when some users reported that the device had overheated, caught fire, or even exploded. The problem was attributed to an issue with the battery cells in the device, and Samsung issued an initial recall.

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Image: Josh Miller/CNET

In addition to the recall, Samsung also issued an OTA update that would cap battery charge at 60% on the devices as a short-term fix until users could get the phone traded in. At the time, the CPSC urged "all consumers who own a Samsung Galaxy Note7 to power them down and stop charging or using the device." The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a warning as well.

SEE: Samsung Galaxy Note7: The smart person's guide

Despite the warnings and the recall, most users kept on using their devices as if nothing was wrong. In a video posting Thursday, Samsung Electronics America COO Tim Baxter noted that only about 13% of Samsung Galaxy Note7 owners had turned their devices in.

Now, the CPSC has changed its tone, and issued an official recall of the devices in hopes of getting more users to swap out the potentially dangerous units. In the recall summary, the CPSC said it was recalling "Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones sold prior to September 15, 2016." The official hazard listed on their website was: "The lithium-ion battery in the Galaxy Note7 smartphones can overheat and catch fire, posing a serious burn hazard to consumers."

According to the CPSC recall, there were 92 reports of the batteries overheating in the US, where about one million Galaxy Note7 devices were sold. Also, 26 burns were reported, and "55 reports of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage," were also noted on the CPSC site.

The Galaxy Note7 can be swapped for a replacement device of the same model, or for a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge. New, replacement versions of the Galaxy Note7 will be differentiated by their green battery indicators, instead of the original white indicator. Replacement devices are supposed to be available in stores no later than September 21.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued an official recall for Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices in the US.
  2. The Galaxy Note7 was originally recalled by Samsung over batteries overheating and exploding, but many users neglected to turn in their devices.
  3. Users can swap their device for a replacement Note7, or for a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge, with replacement devices available September 21.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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