Update: The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has been recalled due to multiple reports indicating that the phone can spontaneously catch fire or begin smoking. If you own a Note 7 you should power it down and return it to the manufacturer or your carrier as soon as possible.
By now, you've probably heard about Samsung's immediate recall of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, an unfortunate turn of events prompted by reports of a significant number of the smartphone's batteries catching fire (and in some cases exploding).
As of today, Samsung is knee-deep in an exchange program for early Note 7 adopters. Across the US, all Galaxy Note 7 users are urged to power down their phones to turn them in to select carriers and retail outlets.
Those affected by the recall will have their choice between swapping their Note 7 with a Samsung Galaxy S7, a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, or waiting for a new (and safe) Galaxy Note 7. After getting cleared by the Consumer Safety Safety Commission, safe Note 7s will start to ship at a later date.
All Note 7 units sold in the US should be returned, but if you buy a phone after the recall and want to make certain that your phone is safe, there are two ways to check.
First, beginning on September 13, Samsung is launching an online database where consumers can plug in their Note 7's IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number and immediately determine whether or not their phone is at risk of combustion. IMEI numbers can be found on every Note 7 box. This unique number is tied to each device, so it's a surefire way to tell if your shiny new phone will give you problems or not.
Also on the box will be a label that indicates that the unit inside is safe; in the case of the Note 7, it'll be in the form of a blue "S" enclosed in a white circle.
If all of this sounds like kind of a headache, Samsung would probably agree, which is why the company is also issuing its US Note 7 users a $25 gift card or credit from select carriers or stores.
Credit: Jeremy Stamas