I noticed this earlier in the year, but my iPhone is coming apart at the seams near the volume buttons.
At first, I figured I’d managed to bend the phone, but upon closer inspection, both the back of the case and the screen are bulging outward—which is not the failure mode you’d expect for a bent phone.
The gap at the seam is nearly 2mm, such that light from the screen leaks, but it’s nowhere near as bad as I’ve seen doing an image search. The screen doesn’t seem to be cracking, though I can see weird artifacts in the backlighting.
I thought my iPhone was bent, but both the back and the front bulge outward, with no cracking of the display. Bloated battery, maybe?— Angelo Stavrow (@AngeloStavrow) August 24, 2016
Most signs point to a bloated battery being the culprit. This doesn’t sound like a safe state for a plastic baggie full of acid and electrons, so off to the Genius Bar we go.
More tk. Update:
One look at the phone and the Genius confirmed the diagnosis. Normally, in the case of a bloated battery, they won’t bother with replacing the battery, in case it’s started leaking and caused damage to other internal components—they give you a new phone and your old device gets sent off to Liam for disassembly and recycling. If you’re still covered by AppleCare, the exchange is free, but if not, you only pay for a replacement battery, not a replacement phone.