White iPhone 3GS units discoloring from excessive heat

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 140
    It's a "mood phone".
  • Reply 2 of 140
    capnbobcapnbob Posts: 388member
    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?
  • Reply 3 of 140
    jimzipjimzip Posts: 446member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 140
    jimzipjimzip Posts: 446member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SwitchyMcSwitcher View Post


    It's a "mood phone".



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



    Jimzip
  • Reply 5 of 140
    cicerocicero Posts: 20member
    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?
  • Reply 6 of 140
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    That brown is kind of 'liver' colored, isn't it?
  • Reply 7 of 140
    jm6032jm6032 Posts: 147member
    Would someone hold one of these hot iPones in front of a mirror and snap off an image with the built in camera?
  • Reply 8 of 140
    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)
  • Reply 9 of 140
    italiankiditaliankid Posts: 279member
    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!
  • Reply 10 of 140
    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".
  • Reply 11 of 140
    emulatoremulator Posts: 251member
    heh, designed by apple in california.
  • Reply 12 of 140
    trajectorytrajectory Posts: 647member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 140
    "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."
  • Reply 14 of 140
    jpellinojpellino Posts: 669member
    ...the "S" stands for Super-Chromatic!
  • Reply 15 of 140
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    Fake iPhones from China having to do with this?



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_TZfpEvzrQ
  • Reply 16 of 140
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    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
  • Reply 17 of 140
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 140
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 140
    oc4theooc4theo Posts: 294member
    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!
  • Reply 20 of 140
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member
    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.
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