Galaxy Note7 Users Searching for Ways to Safely Dispose of Their Units

NEWS ANALYSIS: Galaxy Note7 owners should heed regulator warnings about fire or explosion risk from defective batteries, especially when traveling on airplanes.

Galaxy Note7 Burn

Just step away from that Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone, please.

Samsung and public safety authorities are warning against charging or even turning on Note7 phones, which have batteries that can explode or burst into flames.

But just in case you found out all of this while you were traveling, you'll also be warned about taking your Note7 with you while you fly.

On Sept. 9 the Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency issued warnings and advisories regarding the Note7. Briefly, the new rules require airlines to warn passengers not to turn on or charge their Galaxy Note7 devices, and not to pack them in checked luggage.

In addition, EASA requires passengers to report immediately to the cabin crew any signs of problems such as the device getting warm, smoke coming from the device, flames or explosions.

Apparently, if you have a Galaxy Note7 and you're traveling, you should find a way to get rid of it before you fly home. One way to accomplish this might be to visit your carrier and trade it in on a non-explosive device before you get on your next flight—and it may not have to be another Samsung device.

T-Mobile, for example, is offering to take a Note7 in trade for another device, including devices from other makers, such as Apple. This is one time when Apple's app that's designed to transfer data from an Android device could be really useful.

One thing you cannot do is pack up your Note7 and overnight it home. FedEx has specific rules against accepting potentially flammable packages, as does the rest of the express shipping industry. So you're basically stuck. If you can't find a way to ditch the Note7, you'll find yourself consigned to wandering like a lost soul, chained to a potentially exploding device that you can't put away or even leave behind.

This is, of course, wonderful news for Apple, although Tim Cook is probably too polite to mention it. Not only are there a million Note7 users out there looking for a solution to their conundrum, but there are millions more who may have been ready to buy a Galaxy Note7, but now won't. The Apple iPhone or scores of other Android models give them a logical place to go.

Now, I realize that there are some folks out there who are dedicated to one phone operating system or another and would never buy a phone from any other maker. For some Android partisans this might mean changing to a phone from LG or Motorola. But for most people, the OS is meaningless. In fact, when I ask non-technical phone users what OS they have, most don't know.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...