Apple reveals Euro power adapter overheating risk, launches exchange program

Apple(s aapl) has launched what may turn out to be a large recall for the European-plug chargers it shipped with many iPhones between October 2009 and September 2012, over “rare cases” of possible overheating.

According to a customer notice spotted by 9to5Mac, some of the 5-watt USB power adapters shipped during this period “may overheat and pose a safety risk.” The adapters shipped with iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S models, and were also sold as accessories.

Many European countries are affected, as are Russia, South Africa, Vietnam and Israel.

Customers who worry their adapter may need exchanging can check the model number on the plug side – A1300 models with a filled-in CE mark need exchanging and A1400 models with an outline-only CE mark do not. Here’s what to look for:

Apple charger recall

Apple said in its statement that customers just need to bring the charger to an Apple Retail store or an authorized service provider, along with the iPhone itself – the staff will need to check the serial number.

Customers are advised to stop using the old chargers immediately, and should instead plug their handsets into computers’ USB ports for charging. I’ve asked Apple how many chargers it expects to be exchanging, and will update this if I get a response.