iPod headphones could 'cause electrical shock'Apple iPod and iPhone users could experience shock

20 May 2009

Apple iPod Shuffle

Apple iPod Shuffle

Apple has issued a press release on its website warning consumers that they may receive a ‘small and quick electrical (static) shock from the earbuds used to listen to iPod  and iPhone devices'.

It’s possible that your ear could receive a small electrostatic discharge from the headphones in ‘areas where the air is very dry,’ says Apple, which is keen to point out that this does not necessarily indicate an issue with the iPod, iPhone or earbuds and is not limited to Apple hardware.

The shock is apparently similar to dragging your feet across a carpet and receiving a static shock by touching a door knob. However, instead of the static charge building up on your body, the charge builds up on the device that the earbuds are connected to. Likewise, instead of the static buildup discharging through your finger when you touch a door knob, it discharges through the earbuds.

The risk is heightened in very dry or windy environments, when you take your device in and out of your pocket or while exercising with an iPod or iPhone – bad news for those that like listening to music downloads, while jogging.

What can you do?

Apple has listed advice on how to minimise the risk of a static shock recommending that users:

  • Raise moisture levels using a portable humidifier
  • Use an anti-static spray to reduce static
  • Use an anti-static hand lotion
  • Wear clothes with natural rather than synthetic fibres
  • Avoid removing the device from your pocket frequently as this can cause a static build up

How to follow the latest Which? Tech news

Are you a Twitter user? Follow WhichTech on Twitter for regular tech tweets.

Prefer RSS? Don't miss a thing with the Which? tech RSS feed

For just the main headlines in newsletter form, sign-up to our weekly Which? tech email.

Apple iPad 2 3G data plans compared - find the best 3G plan for your iPad
Best Android tablets round-up - we look at the best iPad alternatives around
Best cheap laptops for under £500 - find the best laptop deals