There have been sporadic but consistent reports over the past couple of weeks from iPhone 12 owners of odd display problems on their shiny new devices, and it looks like it’s not an entirely isolated problem, as it’s been widespread enough that Apple is apparently now actively looking into the issue.
Among other places, a 14-page thread in the Apple Discussions forum outlines a number of users who have been experiencing screen problems with the new OLED screen on the iPhone 12, and although it seems to be impacting more iPhone 12 users — at least in terms of the reports — the iPhone 12 Pro isn’t immune to the problem (which shouldn’t be surprising, as both models use the exact same display).
The specific problems appear to vary slightly, with some only reporting flickering, while others are noting a green or gray glow or other weird lighting and colour variations under specific conditions.
If this all sounds familiar, you’re not imagining things, as numerous iPhone 11 users have experienced similar problems.
While it’s not yet clear if the iPhone 12 situations are related, in the case of the problem with the iPhone 11 — which affected both LCD and OLED models — Apple was mostly able to fix the issue with an iOS 13.6.1 update.
Apple Is Investigating iPhone 12 Screen Problems
The good news is that Apple appears to be aware of the problem already and has been investigating it, according to a memo to Apple Authorized Service Providers that was shared with MacRumors.
In the meantime, Apple has told technicians that they should avoid servicing affected iPhones until Apple has a clearer picture of what’s going on, and instead simply tell customers that they should be sure to keep their devices updated to the latest iOS versions as they become available.
This suggests that Apple believes that this problem also exists in software and could be fixed in a future iOS update, although at this point even some users running the latest iOS 14.3 beta are still experiencing the problem, which has apparently been present since iOS 14.1 — the version of iOS that shipped on the new iPhones.
In the case of the iPhone 11 lineup, it was fairly apparent from the beginning that the screen issue was a software problem since it affected both Apple’s Liquid Retina LCD displays and Super Retina OLED displays equally, and several users reported that physically replacing the display didn’t actually solve the problem, which is likely why Apple is telling Authorized Service Providers not to bother doing so.
The reports so far suggest that the problem occurs when the display brightness is set lower than 90 percent, however for many it’s not at all persistent, and some have only noticed it very sporadically, making it hard to track down exactly what the cause of the problem is.
Some have suggested that it could be related to Apple’s ambient light sensors not processing information properly, resulting in the True Tone display technology shifting colours unpredictably.
Reports also indicate that all four of the iPhone 12 models are affected, from the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini to the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max, and it’s most likely that any reports that suggest it affects a given model more prominently than others are likely just based on the popularity of each iPhone 12 model, and with the smallest and largest iPhones having just gone on sale last week, it’s also likely that fewer users of those have yet encountered the issue.
Unfortunately, if you’re encountering this problem it doesn’t appear that there’s anything you can do to fix it other than wait for Apple to figure out what’s wrong and come up with a solution. That said, however, you can help the process along by submitting detailed feedback to Apple if you’re experiencing odd screen behaviour, as the more information, Apple’s engineers have the faster they’ll be able to resolve it.