Study: iPhone 6 has highest failure rate among iPhones -- but Samsung's rate is higher

Posted:
in iPhone edited July 12
A new study by a security firm finds that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S are much more likely to fail than any other iPhone model -- however, Samsung has a failure rate higher than that of any other manufacturer tracked by the firm.

iPhone failure


According to "State of Mobile Device Repair & Security," a new report released this month by security and data erasure firm Blancco, the iPhone 6 has a failure rate of 22 percent, with the iPhone 6S coming in second at 16 percent. Every other active iPhone model is in the single digits, with the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus listed at 3 percent each.

While the iPhone 6 generation has had the highest failure rate among the last several Blancco quarterly reports, the firm noted that recent software updates have adversely affected the iPhone 6's battery lifespan.

As AppleInsider explained in 2017, there were two separate issues affecting the iPhone 6. First, there were battery-manufacturing issues for a limited number of iPhone 6 units, which led to a battery-replacement program.

The second issue revolves around the release of iOS 10.2.1 in February 2017, which included the throttling routines to prevent a crash of an iPhone under load when powered by a chemically depleted battery. Apple was less than transparent about what the update specifically did to prevent the crash.

However, Samsung's overall failure rate of 27.4 percent is both the highest of any Android manufacturer and higher than the highest rate for an iPhone, Blancco said.

iOS versions


The report also found that Bluetooth is the most likely performance issue to affect iOS devices, followed by Wi-Fi, headset and mobile data, while "performance" is the biggest problem for Android, followed by the camera, microphone and battery charging.

In addition, Blancco found that while 74.3 percent of iOS devices run iOS 11 and an additional 17.7 percent run iOS 10, more than 50 percent of Android customers are still using "Nougat," the operating system from 2016. Apple keynotes regularly point out similar disparities.

Blancco's data, it's worth noting, comes from "data collected from iOS and Android devices brought into wireless carriers and device manufacturers for Blancco testing and erasure," so it doesn't represent a representation of all users of the devices and operating systems.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,084member
    I know it’s anecdotal but my wife and I each had our iPhone 6’s for three years with absolutely no failures.
    Alex1NAlex1Nwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 35
    stukestuke Posts: 66member
    The data is skewed by the age of the device, although the classic rock-solid design of the 4’s and 5’s (including the SE) is telling!  Beside the battery-gate issue my and my wife’s 6s plus models are fine today. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 35
    However, Samsung's overall failure rate of 27.4 percent is both the highest of any Android manufacturer and higher than the highest rate for an iPhone, Blancco said.
    That is overall failure rate across the board for Samsung. Jesus... that means, some models have really abysmal failure rates, if 27.4 was just an average. :#

    edited July 12 radarthekatwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 35
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 237member
    It makes sense that the failure rate will increase as phones get older, primarily due to battery wear. The failure rate for the original 2007 iPhone is probably near 100%. That is not indicative of a quality problem. It would be far more useful to compare the failure rate of each generation of iPhone at the same point in its lifespan.
    mike1muthuk_vanalingamradarthekatirelandretrogustowatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 35
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,666member
    Not a fan of "whataboutisms" so I don't care what crap Samsung is pushing. A 22% failure rate for the iPhone 6 is egregious, as is the 16% for the iPhone 6S.
    gatorguyMplsPlamboaudi4
  • Reply 6 of 35
    220 million iPhone 6 in the world. The 2nd most popular  phone in the world is bound to have problems .
  • Reply 7 of 35
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,666member
    220 million iPhone 6 in the world. The 2nd most popular  phone in the world is bound to have problems .
    48.4 million of those failing seems reasonable to you? No idea how many iPhone 5S' Apple has sold, but it only has a failure rate of 5%.
  • Reply 8 of 35
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,694member
    Soli said:
    220 million iPhone 6 in the world. The 2nd most popular  phone in the world is bound to have problems .
    48.4 million of those failing seems reasonable to you? No idea how many iPhone 5S' Apple has sold, but it only has a failure rate of 5%.
    I'd agree that that would be pretty poor, but we have no definition of what they mean by "failure rate", what their sample size is, how (or indeed if) they control for abuse/mishandling-induced failure, or the methods they use to extrapolate their results to the wider iPhone 6 population.

    I got an iPhone 6 when they came out (ordered online the day of release) and I've not had a single problem. Now it's got a new battery I'm perfectly happy with its performance under iOS 11 and this will only get better with iOS 12. For me it has a new lease of life and I hope to keep it going at least another 3.75 years.
    fruitstandninjaminicoffeegilly017muthuk_vanalingamirelandvolcanwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 35
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 662member
    Shhh. Don't tell my iPhone 6s Plus! It's 3 years old with 91% battery capacity remaining and no failures.
    racerhomie3gilly017watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 35
    anomeanome Posts: 993member
    lkrupp said:
    I know it’s anecdotal but my wife and I each had our iPhone 6’s for three years with absolutely no failures.

    Whereas I had mine fail about 18 months in with the battery/reboot problem that affected the 6S, but Apple denied happened on the 6.

    Anecdotes mean nothing, and that's not a slight on you, or Apple (the Genius bar fixed it at no cost, and I'm still using it as a backup and running the iOS 12 beta on it without problems). If we add up the anecdotes, we get a fail rate of 33%, which is even higher. If we get another person with no problem, we'd be at 25%. Keep going, and we'll probably average it out.

    All in all, given the number of phones they sell, Apple are doing bloody well, and as mentioned, better than Samsung (for example) seems to be doing. Apple are yet to have to recall an entire phone model. If that, Fort forbid, were to happen, then Apple's numbers might start to approach Samsung's, but even then...

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 35
    mr. h said:
    Soli said:
    220 million iPhone 6 in the world. The 2nd most popular  phone in the world is bound to have problems .
    48.4 million of those failing seems reasonable to you? No idea how many iPhone 5S' Apple has sold, but it only has a failure rate of 5%.
    I'd agree that that would be pretty poor, but we have no definition of what they mean by "failure rate", what their sample size is, how (or indeed if) they control for abuse/mishandling-induced failure, or the methods they use to extrapolate their results to the wider iPhone 6 population.

    I got an iPhone 6 when they came out (ordered online the day of release) and I've not had a single problem. Now it's got a new battery I'm perfectly happy with its performance under iOS 11 and this will only get better with iOS 12. For me it has a new lease of life and I hope to keep it going at least another 3.75 years.
    This^^^ Failure rate after how long? Within warranty? One year? Two years? 3 years? I read the article and none of this was mentioned. Is it possible to clarify in the article or add an update that information was omitted?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 35
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,398member
    Thanks for putting in the necessary qualifier:

    "Blancco's data, it's worth noting, comes from "data collected from iOS and Android devices brought into wireless carriers and device manufacturers for Blancco testing and erasure," so it doesn't represent a representation of all users of the devices and operating systems.

    Everyone should re-read that last paragraph a few times.

    I fully expect the failure rate numbers being bandied about in this report are at least an order of magnitude larger than the actual failure rates exhibited by the population of devices as a whole over their service life. Some of the additional missing data points from the sample include the population size and what constitutes a "failure." I would also want to know the breakdown between repairable/recoverable failures and nonrepairable/unrecoverable failures. What about user induced, either intentional (e.g., hammer) or unintentional (e.g., toilet), Case in point, my single iPhone 4s battery effectively died after about 5 years. If I followed the same logic used in this study I could say that my self reported study showed a 100% failure rate on the iPhone 4s. However, for less than $20 I was able to replace the failing battery and restore the same iPhone 4s to fully operational (but still slow) status.  
    bestkeptsecretirelandwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 35
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,666member
    mr. h said:
    Soli said:
    220 million iPhone 6 in the world. The 2nd most popular  phone in the world is bound to have problems .
    48.4 million of those failing seems reasonable to you? No idea how many iPhone 5S' Apple has sold, but it only has a failure rate of 5%.
    I'd agree that that would be pretty poor, but we have no definition of what they mean by "failure rate", what their sample size is, how (or indeed if) they control for abuse/mishandling-induced failure, or the methods they use to extrapolate their results to the wider iPhone 6 population.

    I got an iPhone 6 when they came out (ordered online the day of release) and I've not had a single problem. Now it's got a new battery I'm perfectly happy with its performance under iOS 11 and this will only get better with iOS 12. For me it has a new lease of life and I hope to keep it going at least another 3.75 years.
    Overall I agree, but without assuming it's a completely flawed study with a miserably low sample size, we do have comparisons to other Apple devices and two well known issues with the iPhone 6, as mentioned in the article. 
  • Reply 14 of 35
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,694member
    dewme said:
    Case in point, my single iPhone 4s battery effectively died after about 5 years.
    I wouldn't call a battery dying after the end of its expected life a "failure". Batteries have an expected useful lifespan of a few hundred or possibly one thousand cycles depending on exact chemistry and structure, and when they have no useful capacity left can be replaced to return the phone to original working order.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 35
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,398member
    Soli said:
    mr. h said:
    Soli said:
    220 million iPhone 6 in the world. The 2nd most popular  phone in the world is bound to have problems .
    48.4 million of those failing seems reasonable to you? No idea how many iPhone 5S' Apple has sold, but it only has a failure rate of 5%.
    I'd agree that that would be pretty poor, but we have no definition of what they mean by "failure rate", what their sample size is, how (or indeed if) they control for abuse/mishandling-induced failure, or the methods they use to extrapolate their results to the wider iPhone 6 population.

    I got an iPhone 6 when they came out (ordered online the day of release) and I've not had a single problem. Now it's got a new battery I'm perfectly happy with its performance under iOS 11 and this will only get better with iOS 12. For me it has a new lease of life and I hope to keep it going at least another 3.75 years.
    Overall I agree, but without assuming it's a completely flawed study with a miserably low sample size, we do have comparisons to other Apple devices and two well known issues with the iPhone 6, as mentioned in the article. 
    The data does appear to show some signs of following the right side of the "bathtub curve" failure rate of electronic devices, with older devices more likely to exhibit higher failure rates. One of the two reported iPhone 6 issues could also represent infant mortality failures, which also match the bathtub curve. I'm only taking issue with the reported failure rates. I expect that the reported failure rate for an electronic product would be based on the failure rate in the longest, i.e., flattest part, of the bathtub curve. This report seems to bias the reported failure rate on the extreme left and right edges of the bathtub curve, where failure rates are much higher for a small portion of the products in the population. It would be like reporting the health of a population based only on people showing up at the emergency room of a hospital, with no consideration for the size of the population the emergency room serves, the age distribution of this same population, activities the population is engaged in, etc.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 35
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,666member
    dewme said:
    Soli said:
    mr. h said:
    Soli said:
    220 million iPhone 6 in the world. The 2nd most popular  phone in the world is bound to have problems .
    48.4 million of those failing seems reasonable to you? No idea how many iPhone 5S' Apple has sold, but it only has a failure rate of 5%.
    I'd agree that that would be pretty poor, but we have no definition of what they mean by "failure rate", what their sample size is, how (or indeed if) they control for abuse/mishandling-induced failure, or the methods they use to extrapolate their results to the wider iPhone 6 population.

    I got an iPhone 6 when they came out (ordered online the day of release) and I've not had a single problem. Now it's got a new battery I'm perfectly happy with its performance under iOS 11 and this will only get better with iOS 12. For me it has a new lease of life and I hope to keep it going at least another 3.75 years.
    Overall I agree, but without assuming it's a completely flawed study with a miserably low sample size, we do have comparisons to other Apple devices and two well known issues with the iPhone 6, as mentioned in the article. 
    The data does appear to show some signs of following the right side of the "bathtub curve" failure rate of electronic devices, with older devices more likely to exhibit higher failure rates. One of the two reported iPhone 6 issues could also represent infant mortality failures, which also match the bathtub curve. I'm only taking issue with the reported failure rates. I expect that the reported failure rate for an electronic product would be based on the failure rate in the longest, i.e., flattest part, of the bathtub curve. This report seems to bias the reported failure rate on the extreme left and right edges of the bathtub curve, where failure rates are much higher for a small portion of the products in the population. It would be like reporting the health of a population based only on people showing up at the emergency room of a hospital, with no consideration for the size of the population the emergency room serves, the age distribution of this same population, activities the population is engaged in, etc.
    1) 5% for the iPhone that preceded the iPhone 6 by a year certainly not matching that data.

    2) Where where you put failed batteries, meaning batteries that need to be replaced under warranty that didn't match the 80% of original capacity after 500 full charge cycles stated on their iPhone page? Do you consider that an early failure or wear out failure, because I'd put it in the former group?
  • Reply 17 of 35
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,398member
    mr. h said:
    dewme said:
    Case in point, my single iPhone 4s battery effectively died after about 5 years.
    I wouldn't call a battery dying after the end of its expected life a "failure". Batteries have an expected useful lifespan of a few hundred or possibly one thousand cycles depending on exact chemistry and structure, and when they have no useful capacity left can be replaced to return the phone to original working order.
    Things that "wear out" through use and/or time are still considered failures by definition, i.e., "wear-out failures." That's one of the main reasons for the rising failure rates on the right side of the bathtub curve. If the battery (or any wear-out component) is replaceable it is also a recoverable failure from a system availability perspective, which is a good thing.

    Re: iPhone 6 not fitting the curve. That's simply the nature of statistics and trends. There will often be outliers. 
    edited July 12
  • Reply 18 of 35
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 495member
    220 million iPhone 6 in the world. The 2nd most popular  phone in the world is bound to have problems .
    It doesn't matter how many there are, this is a failure rate, and I agree, 22% is egregious. It's also interesting how the 6s and 6 have a failure rate over double that of the rest of the iPhones.
  • Reply 19 of 35
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,694member
    dewme said:
    mr. h said:
    dewme said:
    Case in point, my single iPhone 4s battery effectively died after about 5 years.
    I wouldn't call a battery dying after the end of its expected life a "failure". Batteries have an expected useful lifespan of a few hundred or possibly one thousand cycles depending on exact chemistry and structure, and when they have no useful capacity left can be replaced to return the phone to original working order.
    Things that "wear out" through use and/or time are still considered failures by definition, i.e., "wear-out failures." That's one of the main reasons for the rising failure rates on the right side of the bathtub curve. If the battery (or any wear-out component) is replaceable it is also a recoverable failure from a system availability perspective, which is a good thing. 
    All good points. This just serves to emphasise how without knowing how they've defined "failure" we can't draw any conclusions from this report. For example, if "normal" battery wear out is defined by them as a failure, we really have to start to question that 5% figure for the iPhone 5S. Do we really think that over 95% of iPhone 5Ss have batteries that have not yet reached the end of their useful life? That's seriously implausible.

  • Reply 20 of 35
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,666member
    mr. h said:
    dewme said:
    mr. h said:
    dewme said:
    Case in point, my single iPhone 4s battery effectively died after about 5 years.
    I wouldn't call a battery dying after the end of its expected life a "failure". Batteries have an expected useful lifespan of a few hundred or possibly one thousand cycles depending on exact chemistry and structure, and when they have no useful capacity left can be replaced to return the phone to original working order.
    Things that "wear out" through use and/or time are still considered failures by definition, i.e., "wear-out failures." That's one of the main reasons for the rising failure rates on the right side of the bathtub curve. If the battery (or any wear-out component) is replaceable it is also a recoverable failure from a system availability perspective, which is a good thing. 
    All good points. This just serves to emphasise how without knowing how they've defined "failure" we can't draw any conclusions from this report. For example, if "normal" battery wear out is defined by them as a failure, we really have to start to question that 5% figure for the iPhone 5S. Do we really think that over 95% of iPhone 5Ss have batteries that have not yet reached the end of their useful life? That's seriously implausible.

    I think we can infer that normal usage of the battery isn't part of their equation. Let's remember it's 500 cycles until it's only 80% of the original charge.

    What I don't think we can rule out is if something was replaced, like a display, because it was cracked, and maybe we can hypothesize that the iPhone 5S being the last of the squared off designs, being a 4" display, and having groves and glass back (instead of being a larger, heavier, and more slippery and rounded aluminum casing) led to more breakage after that model.
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