A Pink Smear Problem Is Reportedly Plaguing Some iPhone OLED Displays

iPhone 11 Pro Max on MacBook Credit: Shahid Jamil / Shutterstock
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We’ve heard about the green tint issue that affected the display on the iPhone 12. This issue was supposedly fixed by iOS 13.6.1, but the latest iOS 14.5 update may have created a similar problem with Apple’s iPhone displays.

According to a Reddit thread, several iOS 14.5 users have started noticing an annoying pink smear on their display. This pink problem occurs primarily in the iPhone 12 but has also been reported in the iPhone 11 Pro.

As described by affected owners, the pink smear occurs in areas of the display where gray meets black.

It reportedly happens at any brightness level, but it is most noticeable at around 30%.

Other people notice it when using apps such as Safari, where the items coming up from the background momentarily flash pink.

Apple isn’t the only one dealing with similar screen issues. Both OnePlus and Samsung have struggled with similar display problems in the past year.


Apple is rumored to have sourced some of its iPhone displays from Samsung and BOE, which may explain why both platforms are having issues. Because its appearance coincided with iOS 14.5, some people attribute the problem to software and point to Apple’s changes in this latest iOS update. 

i looked at the same exact phone at the same exact conditions and hour before running ios 14.4.1, and it was perfect, however, after updating to ios 14.5.1 i saw purple smearing.


Others believe the issue is related to the OLED display Apple uses in its iPhone 11 Pro and 12 models. According to this theory, the smearing effect is tied to the speed that pixels turn on and off in an OLED display. The red pixel is faster than the green or blue pixel, which produces a red-tinted effect. 

That’s unfortunately the way OLED works. It’s indeed called smearing, and all the « issues » around flashing screen/green tint was, IMO, a try from Apple to mitigate smearing by keeping the pixels at the lowest brightness possible. The smearing comes from the pixel turning on, as the red is faster than green and blue to emit light.


Even a third group claims it is a hardware issue with a defective or poorly calibrated display that requires replacement. Be prepared to replace your device warns some on Reddit. A few customers who brought in their iPhone because of the display had to replace their entire device and not just the display to eliminate the pink smear issue. 

Unlike the green tint issue, which Apple addressed in an iOS update, the Cupertino company has yet to acknowledge this issue.

Those with the problem can bring the phone to Apple for repair. Customers are eligible under the company’s standard warranty or an extended AppleCare warranty. 

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