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White iPhone 3GS units discoloring from excessive heat

post #1 of 141
Thread Starter 
Some owners of Apple's latest iPhone have been dealt a rude surprise just days after launch as models with white backs have been changing colors after frequent use.

Multiple tipsters, French site Nowhere Else, MacNN, and AppleInsider itself have all reported first-hand accounts of the back of white iPhone 3GS models turning brown or pink in certain areas that are usually towards the edges.

When the problem manifests itself can vary but usually follows sometime after particularly intensive activity that generates significant heat, such as using 3G data extensively, playing games or navigating with GPS. It's also suspected that engaging in regular tasks for a long time, such as playing music or browsing the web on Wi-Fi, can also trigger the symptoms.

Speculation exists that the issue centers on the battery: Rapid Repair's Aaron Vronko, as well as those affected by the issue directly, claim the color shifts occur around the outline of the battery pack and that it's likely due to flawed battery cells that react badly to the added stress.

iPhone 3G models in the same color aren't affected by the same problem, nor do black iPhone 3GS models appear to suffer the issue at this stage -- though these last owners aren't completely exempt from the root causes. A number of reports have surfaced that some phones are getting particularly hot under certain circumstances, such as using the handset while it's connected to a power source.

iPhone 3GS with discoloration on the left; iPhone 3G on the right.

Apple so far hasn't commented on the issue and has taken to closing a large discussion thread on its forum centering on the subject. However, some have had success obtaining replacements.
post #2 of 141
It's a "mood phone".
post #3 of 141
My black 3GS got unreasonably hot when I first got it home and backed up the old iPhone 2G settings and content to it. It was all hinky in general so I restored it and reinstalled things manually and it has worked OK since then except VVM is fried - will need to get a new handset for that when AT&T get some. (Yes I did troubleshoot with Apple and AT&T extensively).
The black ones could be having the same issue but without visible signs?
post #4 of 141
Apple's testing seems to be somewhat lacking of late with the iPhone, like they aren't putting the units through enough testing prior to launch.

Given, the article mentions it's probably the battery, but the problem still should have presented itself had it been tested rigorously enough ... I feel bad that these problems are popping up too, as it just gets a whole heap of negative press for Apple. The cracking in the first gen models wasn't too bad, but this is much more obvious to the eye. Anyone got one that can relate how hot they actually get?

(Oh and any gadget will get hot when it's plugged in and charging, let alone being used while charging. That's not too unusual in my electronic gizmo experience).

Jimzip

Edit: Thanks Capnbob. We posted at the same time apparently.
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post #5 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwitchyMcSwitcher View Post

It's a "mood phone".

lol. I'd have said 'hypercolor'...

Jimzip
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post #6 of 141
Well... many people did want the new iPhone to come in other colors, right? I wonder how long you have to leave it on to get full red?
post #7 of 141
That brown is kind of 'liver' colored, isn't it?
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post #8 of 141
Would someone hold one of these hot iPones in front of a mirror and snap off an image with the built in camera?
post #9 of 141
this is a shame because i was hoping to get the white 32GB iphone considering that they look really nice (never had a 3G one so i had an aluminium backed iphone)
post #10 of 141
Does this surprise you?

iPhone 3G had cracks in the case. Light leaks. Dust. Rough Edges. Vibrator issues.

iPhone 3GS have discoloring. Vibrator issues.


Apple will never learn...

I hope this becomes a huge problem for Apple and they have to recall millions of phones... lol

Crossing and praying that this becomes a wide spread issue.... Hopefully then Apple will learn a lesson or two!


Hoping the iPhone 3GS melts too or catches fire hahaha... I say a week or two b4 the legal lawsuits come about hahahaha...

LOVE YOU APPLE!
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post #11 of 141
I had this problem a year ago with my 16gig 3G. A beautiful orange band appeared only weeks after purchasing. Odd thing, it was mostly visible only under fluorescent lights. Under natural lighting conditions it was hardly detectable. Solution: ignored it. Apparently it’s tape beneath the cover. Didn’t happen again and I managed to sell the phone last week. Here’s a link to some year-old shots.
http://web.me.com/sj_sutton/Site_9/iPhone_Shots.html

I did use the 3G with a leather sleeve designed for a first gen iPhone. The fit was tight and I suspect the enclosure added to the heat issues. Once I stopped using the sleeve, the discoloration disappeared; I suspect it "burned-off".
post #12 of 141
heh, designed by apple in california.
post #13 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple so far hasn't commented on the issue and has taken to closing a large discussion thread on its forum centering on the subject. However, some have had success obtaining replacements.

Yes, this is typically how Apple deals with problems that crop up with their products: Deny and Obfuscate. This is also what makes their forums mostly useless, as they censor them too heavily. Just like a certain Mac rumors forum.

I've had a white 16gig 3G phone for over a year and haven't had any of the cracking and no discoloration of the back at all. I'm now starting to feel glad I didn't upgrade to the 3GS as Rogers says I have to wait another year before I can upgrade anyway. The next generation iPhone will work out all the hardware kinks of this one hopefully.
post #14 of 141
"Fellas,
leave the tight pants and white iPhones to the ladies. If I can count the change in your pocket or the cracks in your white iPhone...use 'em to call a tailor."
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post #15 of 141
...the "S" stands for Super-Chromatic!
post #16 of 141
Fake iPhones from China having to do with this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_TZfpEvzrQ
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post #17 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by emulator View Post

heh, designed by apple in california.


and built by kids chained to their desks in china

my BB can get pretty hot as well. listened to slacker today on my 3G S and no heating problems. it gets a bit warm when talking on the phone though
post #18 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimzip View Post

Apple's testing seems to be somewhat lacking of late with the iPhone, like they aren't putting the units through enough testing prior to launch.

Given, the article mentions it's probably the battery, but the problem still should have presented itself had it been tested rigorously enough ... I feel bad that these problems are popping up too, as it just gets a whole heap of negative press for Apple. The cracking in the first gen models wasn't too bad, but this is much more obvious to the eye. Anyone got one that can relate how hot they actually get?

Apple removes the threads from its websites simply because of the "internet effect" of these issues. It only takes a couple people having the issue to spread erroneous FUD about a product. Like it or not, they have the right it's more likely to make the major news channels that a few out of a million iPhones are having a battery issue while the seemingly rampant Pre issues from only a few hundred thousand devices won't send up any flags. Apple having it on their own site is just another dart to through at them: "Even Apple's own forums are filled with hundreds of posts about the problem". That doesn't sound so good when the sensationalist media gets ahold of it. A company has a right to protect its bottom line, and part off that is often protecting the product's name, even if the motion is mostly fruitless.

That effect is evident in this thread with yours and skate71290 posts and I'm sure there will be more posting shortly, but these are CE we're talking about. There will be some faulty items. There will be a batch here and there with problems. They've sold how many now (2M?) and they are going to replace how few under under warranty, no questions asked? I've seen epic design failure in a product and this is not one of those times.
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post #19 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

my BB can get pretty hot as well. listened to slacker today on my 3G S and no heating problems. it gets a bit warm when talking on the phone though

Calls or GPS use on my 3G could get very hot after awhile. I haven't noticed the same heat level 3GS, even while charging, like I did with my 3G.
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post #20 of 141
Just put a case on the phone, and stop whining for every little thing. If the phone does not function, then that is a problem. In this case it is definitely not.

STOP WHINING!
post #21 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trajectory View Post

Yes, this is typically how Apple deals with problems that crop up with their products: Deny and Obfuscate. This is also what makes their forums mostly useless, as they censor them too heavily. Just like a certain Mac rumors forum.

I've had a white 16gig 3G phone for over a year and haven't had any of the cracking and no discoloration of the back at all. I'm now starting to feel glad I didn't upgrade to the 3GS as Rogers says I have to wait another year before I can upgrade anyway. The next generation iPhone will work out all the hardware kinks of this one hopefully.

It's Apple's site, they can do what they like.

Got a problem? Deal with Apple directly. That's the smart thing to do.

Before any actual determination of how widespread (or not) the issue is, whether it's a bad batch, etc., I'd do exactly the same as Apple. My site would not be a dumping ground for allegations and complaints that could get blown out of proportion. There are other places for that. Don't need FUD when (or before) the situation warrants it.

The problem is less important than how Apple chooses to deal with it. I expect they'll be 100% stand-up about it, reinforcing their excellent reputation for customer service.

Bitching and moaning on Apple's own site solves absolutely nothing. If the issue is widespread it will gain enough traction on its own for Apple to do something on a more universal level.
post #22 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post

Just put a case on the phone, and stop whining for every little thing. If the phone does not function, then that is a problem. In this case it is definitely not.

STOP WHINING!

The discoloration is simply a sign of a larger problem and anyone with it should take it for a replacement. If you have a black iPhone and you feel that it's getting too hot under normal use and that the battery is not holding a charge in standby for as long as it should then get it replaced. You have the right to get the product you were promised.

Also, anyone who is now so upset with Apple because their 3GS was one of the few duds doesn't want a replacement you are all within the 30-day return policy.
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post #23 of 141
The photo contrast could be improved. In order to show a brown tint on a white phone a contrasting background would help. Due to the way our eyes work the brown background masks the brown tint.

Thanks for the article.
post #24 of 141
I got the white 3GS 32Gig on Friday.

Did a 15 minute video recording on Sunday, it got Really Hot, not quite burning but very uncomfortable. I wouldn't consider that general use but not un-natural, one would imagine that Apple would test it recording till the battery went flat.

I suspect it was only going to get hotter.

As a side note, it did that 15 minutes with only 10% charge and exited very politely when it powered down. So on that very unscientific sample of one perhaps it can record 2.5 hours on a charge which is a solid effort. Might have melted though
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post #25 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post

I got the white 3GS 32Gig on Friday.

Did a 15 minute video recording on Sunday, it got Really Hot, not quite burning but very uncomfortable. I wouldn't consider that general use but not un-natural, one would imagine that Apple would test it recording till the battery went flat.

I suspect it was only going to get hotter.

As a side note, it did that 15 minutes with only 10% charge and exited very politely when it powered down. So on that very unscientific sample of one perhaps it can record 2.5 hours on a charge which is a solid effort. Might have melted though


Take it back,

No matter how much we like a product and try to defend our choice of purchase, a defective product is a defective product. If it's a problem now, it's going to shorten the life of your iPhone and when it's out of warranty your screwed.

If Apple issues a iPhone 3.0 update that "fixes" the problem, you still got damage done to the value of your device, it could die sooner regardless.

I'm guessing here, but if the cost to build is apx $200 and they sell it for $600, (plus more depending upon carrier kickbacks), that a replacement cost is figured in somehow.

I'd take it back while the iron is still hot.
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post #26 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The discoloration is simply a sign of a larger problem and anyone with it should take it for a replacement. If you have a black iPhone and you feel that it's getting too hot under normal use and that the battery is not holding a charge in standby for as long as it should then get it replaced. You have the right to get the product you were promised.

Also, anyone who is now so upset with Apple because their 3GS was one of the few duds doesn't want a replacement you are all within the 30-day return policy.

Solipsism is correct on every point but one. Is this a matter that can (given Apple's history) drag on for months to come, even if they finally admit there is a problem or are you stuck with a phone that Apple is going to bring down the processor speed, limit the battery to make it work so they don't have to recall the phone.

Also, given the fact that 3.1 is being rushed to release, the 3GS was pushed to market PRE maturely (I'm sure you'll get the pun).

Tech Stud. Take his advice or buy the iPhone 3GS and experience what you've been reading for 2 years.

Edit for Tech Studs sake.
If Apple added multi-tasking it would blow up given the heat from running GPS plugged into a power source in your car.

Buy a phone that you can't use all of the features because it gets to hot and is a danger (Google iPhone 3GS recall) or keep what you have as you are obviously not in any hurry to upgrade given the fact you don't own an iPhone.
post #27 of 141
When issues such as these arise for any company, the first thing they have to be able to do is replicate the problem. If this is only happening to a small number of iPhones then it gets harder for Apple to narrow down exactly what the cause of the issue is. So far I've only seen one site that has pictures of a iPhone with discoloring and then a number of people claiming that their iPhone is 'hot' which is rather subjective.
post #28 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPhone1982 View Post

Solipsism is correct on every point but one. Is this a matter that can (given Apple's history) drag on for months to come, even if they finally admit there is a problem or are you stuck with a phone that Apple is going to bring down the processor speed, limit the battery to make it work so they don't have to recall the phone.

Also, given the fact that 3.1 is being rushed to release, the 3GS was pushed to market PRE maturely (I'm sure you'll get the pun).

Tech Stud. Take his advice or buy the iPhone 3GS and experience what you've been reading for 2 years.

Edit for Tech Studs sake.
If Apple added multi-tasking it would blow up given the heat from running GPS plugged into a power source in your car.

Buy a phone that you can't use all of the features because it gets to hot and is a danger (Google iPhone 3GS recall) or keep what you have as you are obviously not in any hurry to upgrade given the fact you don't own an iPhone.

I don't see how 3.1 is being 'rushed' to release, just because it is being released not long after 3.0 doesn't mean it's rushed.
post #29 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caballera View Post

I don't see how 3.1 is being 'rushed' to jum, just because it is being released not long after 3.0 doesn't mean it's rushed.

Then PLEASE tell me one case when Apple didn't put out iPhone X.xx after a phone release?

Going from Firmware 3.0x to 3.1 (Apple's firmware releases have gone for months) without a jump from X.0x to X.1. Or in this case 3.0 to 3.1.

Pre Release.

Edit. Explain the WHITE iPhones with a Tan. I'm sure there is an explanation to explain the release but I'm sure many will justify it and accept it as the norm.
post #30 of 141
Having designed electronic devices in the past, I would be surprised if this problem could be tracked back to mere carelessness on Apple's part. It sounds A LOT more like a quality control problem with the batteries, which are likely made in a crappy chinese factory. Chinese build quality has never been great, but it's approaching abysmal these days. With these sorts of high-capacity batteries, there are pretty tight tolerances in the manufacturing. It would appear as if many if not all of the production batteries are not meeting the specifications, and as a result are breaking-down under the electrical loads of the iPhone (which, might I remind you, are LESS than the loads of the previous model). The quick fix would be for Apple to pay the extra $1 per unit and have the batteries manufactured in Germany, USA, or Japan.
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post #31 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPhone1982 View Post

Then PLEASE tell me one case when Apple didn't put out iPhone 1.xxx after a phone release?

Going from Firmware 3.0x to 3.1 (Apple's firmware releases have gone for months) without a jump from X.0x to X.1. Or in this case 3.0 to 3.1.

Pre Release.

The numbering is arbitrary. Apple chooses how they wish to do the numbering and it would seem that adding an x.1 over an x.x.1 is more indicitive of a lot changes, not just an underclocking of the CPU which would be easy and quick and truly warrant the x.x.1 change, based on their history.

It's been nearly a month since the GM build of v3.0, and while it's worlds better than v2.0 at launch, there are plenty of boggling little issues that made me question why it was made Gold.

I'd wager that this update won't downclock the CPU as it seems to be a small
number of bad batteries causing the issue, and I'm guessing there's will be a lot of those occasional bugs resolved.
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post #32 of 141
If Apple would produce their iPhone 3GS in US, then there would not be such problems.
Apple will loose customers because of this. All of us buy Apple products because they had and have high quality, but now, for what to pay them if they relies on chinese.
post #33 of 141
Why does Apple keep using white plastic, and why does anybody buy it anymore? White plastic is less durable by nature.

Seriously, scrap the white plastic. And the Chinese batteries made by children without safety glasses. And AT&T's lazy asses (in 2011).
post #34 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by vito_web View Post

If Apple would produce their iPhone 3GS in US, then there would not be such problems.
Apple will loose customers because of this. All of us buy Apple products because they had and have high quality, but now, for what to pay them if they relies on chinese.

They would also cost several hundreds of dollars more. I'd say it's a good trade-off, but I'm not sure the majority would.
post #35 of 141
WTF?

How hard can it be to design a product in white plastic?

I mean really, it's not like there aren't any other products out there that are manufactured from white plastic.

It amazes me that a company like Apple - who have some of the highest paid product designers in the business - can get even the most elementary of things wrong.
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post #36 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPhone1982 View Post

Is this a matter that can (given Apple's history) drag on for months to come, even if they finally admit there is a problem or are you stuck with a phone that Apple is going to bring down the processor speed, limit the battery to make it work so they don't have to recall the phone.

Yeah, I think there should be a law against this.

If you have to limit the performance of a device in order to stop it from failing, then that isn't a fix in my book.
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post #37 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by r00fus View Post

They would also cost several hundreds of dollars more. I'd say it's a good trade-off, but I'm not sure the majority would.

I agree to pay several hundreds $ more, but get stable and not discoloring enclosure
post #38 of 141
So far only one iPhone has been pictured like this and it was from some french website. The image has been circulated around the web but no others have surfaced. This all sounds like lazy reporting with the techie reporters jumping on the bandwagon.

I had read on one of the reports that the original (and ONLY iPhone seen with discolouration) had been left in the sun on the users dashboard in their car.
post #39 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPhone1982 View Post

Solipsism is correct on every point but one. Is this a matter that can (given Apple's history) drag on for months to come, even if they finally admit there is a problem or are you stuck with a phone that Apple is going to bring down the processor speed, limit the battery to make it work so they don't have to recall the phone.

Also, given the fact that 3.1 is being rushed to release, the 3GS was pushed to market PRE maturely (I'm sure you'll get the pun).

Tech Stud. Take his advice or buy the iPhone 3GS and experience what you've been reading for 2 years.

Edit for Tech Studs sake.
If Apple added multi-tasking it would blow up given the heat from running GPS plugged into a power source in your car.

Buy a phone that you can't use all of the features because it gets to hot and is a danger (Google iPhone 3GS recall) or keep what you have as you are obviously not in any hurry to upgrade given the fact you don't own an iPhone.

Pretty good post. What people do not realize is that ALL phones get hot. It is the chemical process within the battery. Increased usage requires more energy, thus requiring the battery internals to become more stimulated. Same thing happens with a laptop, or Nokia, or SE phone. Apple most likely chose the wrong plastic materials or did not consider how to dissipate the heat properly.

The good thing for places where the iPhone is not yet released is that they will hopefully see the fix first.
post #40 of 141
Big surprise... I'm so sick of the shitty product quality coming out of China...

I'd MUCH rather pay 25+% more for products knowing they are manufactured to high tolerances with good quality control. Not to mention manufactured in countries that have decent working conditions and don't support oppressive and fascist regimes.

This is clearly from poor quality lithium-polymer batteries that are overheating. In fact, It is probably dangerous, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see an iPhone or two that ends up melting down or exploding.
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