I was opening the back of an old Nexus S when I began to notice a faint odor that seems vaguely familiar. It was the same sweet, minty-metallic potpourri I smelled when opening my Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S II! I had to be sure, so I popped open my Samsung Focus and by golly, it too smelled sweet!
Warning: We at CareAce do not recommend smelling you battery because of the reasoning below. I had a mild headache doing research for this article so please spare your brain cells.
Well I wondered if this was just an idiosyncrasy of Samsung phones but it appears that my HTC G1 of yore gave off the same odor, albeit less strongly. I wasn’t the only one notice the smell:
“Anyone else have a minty smell coming from their phone, specifically the battery area and is it normal?” -Skorpion_
“Ever since I’ve have my Galaxy S, the back of the phone (battery area) gives off a strong, sweet smell.” -.Sam.
I was relieved to find out that I wasn’t the only one who had been sniffing their phones and noticing a sweet aroma, but then my relief turned into alarm when I started to read these comments:
“Lith-ion batteries give off small amounts of a gas when they are getting discharged. (smells like pickles imo) and it’s probably not that good to be continuously huffing it” -Klathmon
A little while after I had began sniffing all these different phones, I definitely started getting a headache, so it looks like the sweet smell of these smartphones was the toxic odor of lithium fumes. A little cross-platform searching led to more anecdotal evidence verifying that the contents of these lithium-ion batteries was emitting the sweet aromas.
“I over tightened a light and it crushed the head of the cell
and started oozing stuff out. Yikes! I quickly put it in a
ziplock and disposed of it.
Before I threw it out I took a whiff and it smelled a little sweet.
Now I have a headache.
help I don’t want to die.” -4sevens
If you smell a sweet aroma every time you replace your SIM, microSD, or battery from the back of your smartphone, do not fret! It is simply your the natural musk of your device’s battery. Keep in mind that these fumes are bad for you so try and limit your exposure to your phone with the back off. Other than that though, you shouldn’t be more concerned about this than the radiation that is constantly emitted near your brain whenever you take a call, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.