Matte black iPhone 7 owners complain to Apple about chipping paint finish

Posted:
in iPhone
A number of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus owners have issues with the handset's matte black finish, with some finding that the paint coating is prone to chip off.




The complaints typically concern the anodized finish around the speakers, as well as around the physical buttons and at the corners, as first discovered by 9to5mac. While the issues do typically appear on the iPhone's edges, typically where smartphones are likely to suffer damage compared to the flat sides, some users also note chipping issues on the back side, with more posts concerning the finish of the iPhone 7 Plus compared to the smaller iPhone 7.

One thread, that has spanned to four pages, with some users showing the chipped areas of their iPhones in photographs. In some instances, the posters mention that they have kept the iPhone in a case, theoretically protecting it from major damage, but the chips still appeared.




Apple's response to the complaints are considered unhelpful by posters, advising in some cases that it is classed as "cosmetic damage" that isn't typically covered under a warranty. In one post from earlier today, user "Phirsisch" claims the Apple Support helpline requested photographs of the case, to be forwarded on to Apple engineers for inspection.

While a case would hide some of the chipped areas from view, some users have taken it upon themselves to temporarily fix the finish themselves, using acrylic paint on affected areas.




Issues relating to the finish of iPhones have happened in the past. Shortly after the iPhone 5 was released, users complained that the black paint could be easily scuffed, with the problem briefly earning its own hashtag "#Scuffgate" on Twitter.

The matte Black finish was introduced last September during the iPhone 7 launch, alongside a glossy Jet Black option. At the time, Apple warned those opting for the Jet Black finish that it was more prone to scuffing and scratching compared to others, but this notice seemingly didn't apply to the other finishes, including matte Black.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 78
    sog35sog35 Posts: 12,216member
    These people abuse their phones then try to blame Apple.
    lkrupplmagoorepressthislenaking editor the graterhinotuffSpamSandwichredgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 78
    I've got two very small spots where the paint has chipped, both on corners that I've carelessly dropped it on.  The back of my phone and around the buttons is still flawless...  I'd bet the person with chipped finish around their buttons has long nails...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 78
    sog35sog35 Posts: 12,216member
    In related news a man with a 2016 Tesla a complaining the paint on his front hood is chipped after driving off a cliff
    lkruppandrewj5790boltsfan17pscooter63radarthekatredgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 78
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 29,008member
    So, is it paint, or anodization? The article uses both terms interchangeably. From the photos, it looks like paint, as anodized surfaces wear, but don't chip.
    zroger73Solipscooter63netroxSpamSandwichradarthekatmacguiGeorgeBMacredgeminipanetmage
  • Reply 5 of 78
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 29,008member
    sog35 said:
    These people abuse their phones then try to blame Apple.
    Well, that's not always true. My 5S had little worn off spots because the anodized surface wasn't thick enough, even though it was always in a case. It was a problem that was fixed over time as they did a deeper anodization process.

    it's possible here, that the paint, as that's what it looks like, isn't bonding as well as it should.
    redgeminipa
  • Reply 6 of 78
    thedbathedba Posts: 363member
    Unless this is a problem with certain (a very small number) phones I can say that the anodization on this iPhone is more durable than the one on the black iPhone 5.
    I have three different iPhone cases that I rotate on occasion and I even sometimes carry it without one and it's been rock solid. Of course I haven't dropped it and don't run my finger nails on it.

    I know people with iPhones who have cases on them and they still get scratches on them. Of course the catch is that they are constantly playing with the case, like a nervous tick, removing it and putting it back on constantly.
    Rub a metal surface often and long enough, and wear and tear will  eventually show up.

       
    redgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 78
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 4,616member
    Yet another report to be blown up into a -gate. Only Apple.
    williamlondonredgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 78
    CHIPGATE...! CHIPGATE...! CHIPGATE...! CHIPGATE...! CHIPGATE...!
    First!!
  • Reply 9 of 78
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 253member
    Here comes the class action lawsuit:

    Mary from Minnesota is claiming undue duress due to chipping on her phone
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 78
    WHEN I DROP MY PHONE, IT SCRATCHES!!! SUE APPLE!!! 

    /S
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 78
    I have a matte black iPhone 7 that looks as good as the day I got it back in September. I also take very good care of my phones as I sell them on E-Bay every year. There is not one mark on my iPhone ...I use a Apple silicon case that is the best case I have ever used for protection and use!
    jfc1138watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 78
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,098member
    I wish they could colour the metal throughout.  That's one of the advantages of decent plastic, even if it chips, the colour is the same.
    williamlondonnetmage
  • Reply 13 of 78
    sog35 said:
    These people abuse their phones then try to blame Apple.
    In all honesty; I'm not sure how 'pushing a button' is "abuse".
    williamlondonmr squidGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 14 of 78
    I rock my Jet Black with 4Corners Skulls...looks awesome.  The finish is perfect.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 78
    sog35 said:
    These people abuse their phones then try to blame Apple.
    Where is your evidence this is happening because people are abusing their phones?
    GeorgeBMacbloggerblog
  • Reply 16 of 78
    ajlajl Posts: 49member
    Apple was bought by Microsoft and none of us knew that.
  • Reply 17 of 78
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,596member
    sog35 said:
    These people abuse their phones then try to blame Apple.
    Possibly, but there may also be a bad batch of material for the paint, any other substrate they use for adhesion, or an application issue with a robot/machine, human error, or simply heat or time if curing is involved.

    This is happening about 6 months after they went on sale and there seems to be do indication that it's a bad batch, so I'm guessing it's just wearing and tear. Can Apple use a better system next time? Possibly; I'm certain they're looking into this and are always looking to try to make things more durable when feasible.
    randominternetpersoncornchipredgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 78
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,596member

    lmagoo said:
    I have a matte black iPhone 7 that looks as good as the day I got it back in September. I also take very good care of my phones as I sell them on E-Bay every year. There is not one mark on my iPhone ...I use a Apple silicon case that is the best case I have ever used for protection and use!
    Except where I dropped it on a corner my matte black iPhone is otherwise unfazed.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 78
    Mikeymike said:
    sog35 said:
    These people abuse their phones then try to blame Apple.
    In all honesty; I'm not sure how 'pushing a button' is "abuse".
    The phone could have been dropped and chipped the paint by the buttons. That happened to my iPhone 6. It looks exactly the same as in the photo. 
    redgeminipa
  • Reply 20 of 78
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,221member
    melgross said:
    So, is it paint, or anodization? The article uses both terms interchangeably. From the photos, it looks like paint, as anodized surfaces wear, but don't chip.
    Anodizing aluminum normally leaves a slight metallic appearance. To get a matte finish the surface needs to be etched using either bead blasting or chemical etching with nitric acid, etc. Often after matte anodizing there are spots of darker or lighter color due to unevenness of the surface preparation and the darker the color and larger the surface, the more noticeable the spots are. Jet black matte is extremely difficult to do. Usually the parts need a much thicker anodizing layer and also need to be dyed to achieve a really dark color. You are correct that anodizing doesn't usually chip, although it can be scratched to expose the underlying alloy.

    Judging by the photos I suspect that the actual buttons are anodized but the case itself appears to be painted, probably because of the difficulty in producing a uniform jet black matte finish on a large flat area. Perhaps a better solution would have been to anodize it first before painting it. At least then if it chipped it would still be black underneath. Paint actually sticks to anodized surfaces really well, much better than bare aluminum even with zinc chromate primer.
    edited February 10 tmaymr. hcornchipsmaceslinGeorgeBMacnetmage
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