In light of dozens of overheating smartphones, Samsung announced an exchange program allowing customers to swap their Galaxy Note 7 for a different model or a new unit. With the recall fully in effect, and new phones slated to make their way back to the market on Sept. 21, the South Korean company has a few ways for users to know their device is safe.
The first sign of assurance is on the product’s packaging. Customers should look for a black square on the upper right hand corner, near the bar code. This ensures the unit is new and not from an earlier batch with a potentially damaged battery.
Users can also utilize a second measure: to type in their device’s IMEI number on Samsung’s new site and see if their particular smartphone is affected. The IMEI number can be found on the box the Galaxy Note 7 came in or it can be retrieved by typing “*#06#” in the phone app.
Samsung has also added a green battery icon in its software change. The new battery icon will be visible on the status bar, on the display screen and on the Power Off prompt screen, which triggers when long-pressing the power key. With the new icon, Galaxy Note 7 owners can always be in the know regarding their device's battery safety.
Samsung's voluntary recall for 2.5 million smartphones came after the company found “a battery cell issue” with their Galaxy Note 7s. Last week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued an official recall for all units sold before Sept. 15, citing 92 reports of the device’s battery overheating in the U.S. alone.
“The lithium-ion battery in the Galaxy Note7 smartphones can overheat and catch fire, posing a serious burn hazard to consumers,” wrote the CPSC, which estimates one million units to be impacted by the recall.
In a preliminary investigation, the company found a production error one of Samsung’s two battery suppliers
to be at the root of the problem. While Samsung has yet to pinpoint “the exact cause,” it detailed in a report to the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards that a production mishap led the negative and positive poles of batteries to come into contact with one another and overheat the battery.
According to ZDNet, all batteries in new units will be sourced from China’s ATL, which was the company’s secondary supplier, instead of Samsung's former primary supplier: Samsung SDI Co. All new Galaxy Note 7s in the U.S. will be dispersed after receiving CPSC approval.
"To be clear, the Note7 with the new battery is safe,” said Tim Baxter, president and chief operating officer of Samsung Electronics America, in a video statement. “The battery cell issue is resolved. And this finding has been affirmed by a recognized independent lithium ion battery expert."