The iPhone X was unveiled at an Apple event in September 2017 and eventually went on sale on 3 November 2017, joining the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus in Apple's iPhone lineup. It's no longer on sale, having been discontinued when Apple introduced the iPhone XS, XS Max and iPhone XR, but if you own an iPhone X, or are thinking about buying one second-hand, you may want to get completely up to date with any issues with the handset.
Incidentally, despite the problems we still think that Apple's iPhone X was a great handset - as you can see if you read our iPhone X review. In this article we will bring you everything you need to know about the iPhone X's problems and faults.
There have been a few complaints from users, from unresponsive screens (for which a software update has been issued), to issues with buzzing speakers, and reports that a few handsets are experiencing a problem with Face ID not working, and an issue that affected the camera, with reports claiming is is easily cracked.
The latest issue, as of November 2018, is that some iPhone X screens do not respond to touch, either all the time, or intermittently. Luckily Apple has recognised the issue and will fix the problem for free if you take your iPhone X to an Apple retail store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider. More information below.
iPhone X complaints
There have been a few complaints from users, including claims that the camera lens is easy to crack. But by far the most random one is "The iPhone X is pulling my hair" - read more about this below. People have also criticised unresponsive screens (for which a software update has now been issued), Face ID security, buzzing speakers, and a green line. And Apple is investigating claims of delays affecting incoming calls.
We will look at these issues, and other criticisms below, some are much more concerning than others. It's worth noting that some of these complaints are few and far between, even for the most popular smartphone on the market right now, so it may well be the case that you would experience none of these issues with the handset.
Non-responsive iPhone X screen
Apple has confirmed that some iPhone X models suffer from an issue that can cause the screen, or part of the screen, to stop responding to a user's touch.
Apple explains that
- The display, or part of the display, does not respond or responds intermittently to touch
- The display reacts even though it was not touched
Apple is offering free screen replacements for the faulty devices, you can find out more on Apple's site, here.
If your iPhone X is damaged - including if the screen is smashed - Apple will insist on that issue being resolved prior to the service.
We're not sure if the above case is related to this somehow, but in the early days of the iPhone X, some people had found that their iPhone X touch screen stoped working. In some cases it has become unresponsive in cold weather. In response Apple issued an iOS 11 update that addresses the issue.
Initially a thread on Reddit claimed: "It literally takes 2 seconds from going inside to the cold outdoors and my screen stops being very responsive."
According to a report on The Loop, Apple confirmed that it is aware of the issue. The company said: "We are aware of instances where the iPhone X screen will become temporarily unresponsive to touch after a rapid change to a cold environment. After several seconds the screen will become fully responsive again. This will be addressed in an upcoming software update."
A software update was issued. According to the release notes iOS 11.1.2 fixes an issue where the iPhone X screen becomes temporarily unresponsive to touch after a rapid temperature drop. It also addresses an issue that could cause distortion in Live Photos and videos captures with the iPhone X.
Apple has always advised that iPhones may not function in temperatures below 0º or above 35ºC (that's 32º to 95ºF).
It seems that the camera lens on the back of the iPhone X may be easy to crack.
And, according to the iPhone X users complaining on Apple’s support forums, they haven’t even dropped their iPhones to cause the damage.
Some suggest that cold weather has caused the lens to crack, but iPhone owners in warmer climates have also reported cracks in the camera glass.
The iPhone X camera lens is made from Sapphire glass, which is supposed to be very hard (twice as tough as normal glass).
It’s being reported that Apple is refusing to offer replacements under warranty, so customers are having to foot the bill for a device replacement.
iPhone X Overheating
Some iPhone X users have complained that the handset overheats.
A Reddit poster claims that: "My wife’s iPhone X overheated last night and failed."
Over on the Apple Support Communities, one poster writes: "When I watched several videos on my Facebook app and then went on to Safari and watched some videos. It drained the battery quickly and got very hot."
There is even a YouTube video, published in November 2017, which you can watch below:
Face ID failure
If your iPhone X is refusing to recognise you using Face ID, Apple may replace your iPhone.
An Apple Insider report suggests that an issue occurs with both the front and rear cameras on the iPhone X, which refers the camera only partially functional, and stops Face ID from working.
Reports indicate that Apple is replacing these iPhones with new iPhone X models free of charge, although the company may initially try to replace the TrueDepth camera, and then the rear-facing camera.
The fact that this issue links the front and rear cameras suggests that there is a relationship between the TrueDepth system used by the Face ID camera and the camera on the back of the iPhone.
Apple Insider has spoken to a number of Genius Bar staff and says that the problem is “extremely rare”. That site highlights that: “The policy doesn't represent a new repair program, or the discovery of a widespread fault with TrueDepth cameras. Instead, it is a modification of a support procedure, something that happens relatively frequently.”
This has to be one of the more random complaints.
It seems that the iPhone X is particularly attracted to beards and long hair with hair getting caught in the gap between the bezel and display.
It's not a problem unique to the iPhone X, though - similar issues have been experiences with older iPhones. If you are getting your hair pulled by your iPhone the best solution seems to be to put it in a case.
Incoming call delays
What users have described is this. A call comes in, and the ring alert is heard. The screen is supposed to light up and show accept and decline options - but it doesn't, for around 5 to 10 seconds, which means the user cannot take the call for some time and often misses it entirely.
Apple is taking this at least fairly seriously: MacRumors quotes the company as saying it is "looking into these reports". No updates have been issued at time of writing.
There have been a number of stories appearing claiming that people have been able to fool Face ID so that it will unlock someone else's iPhone X.
There were a number of videos where identical twins were able to unlock each others phones. Apple has already confirmed here that someone who looked like you might be able to unlock your iPhone (a twin or just another family member.)
However, the most likely scenario in cases where a twin or family member unlocks an iPhone X is that at some point in the process the passcode had been entered, telling Face ID to start to learn that the new face was in fact the old face.
We tested this theory with some identical twin friends and found that twin two couldn't open the phone when it was set up with twin one's Face ID. However, all twin two needed to do was enter the passcode and then Face ID updated itself to recognise them as well as their twin. From then on Face ID could be unlocked by both twins.
There is one case where a 10-year-old boy was able to unlock his mother's iPhone X. Apparently within seconds of the boy looking at his mother's new iPhone X it unlocked. In the statement on Face ID Security linked to above Apple said that it doesn't recommend that children use Face ID as their facial features are still developing, and the company has also warned that people with similar features may be able to unlock your iPhone X, but it seems strange that the boy, who's face is so much smaller than his mother's would be able to unlock the iPhone.
Apple claimed that it had thoroughly tested Face ID and found that it was impossible to fool it with the use of a mask. However, a Vietnamese security firm is claiming it has bypassed Face ID using a silicone mask, a 3-D printed frame, and 2-D images of the eyes and mouth.
The security firm has shared this video of the hack.
While it's unlikely that anyone would go to such lengths to hack into your iPhone X, it could be a threat to the privacy of a celebrity, or anyone whose iPhone would be in demand (someone who ran a company or a country, for example).
As for whether it would work the other way round, someone has tested that theory by making themselves up to look like celebrities.
Makeup artist Promise Tamang is already famous for using makeup to make herself look like celebrities, so she put the iPhone X to the test by making herself look like Kylie Jenner and Mariah Carey. Obviously she didn't have their iPhones to find out if she was able to fool them, but she wasn't able to fool her own iPhone X which unlocked straight away as it recognised it was really her all along.
Apparently some iPhone X users are experiencing distortion and buzzing sounds from the iPhone X speaker.
iPhone X owners posting on Reddit and Twitter are reporting crackling sounds that can be heard when using the iPhone X speakerphone at high volumes.
Although, one Redditor claims that the issue happens even at just 50% volume.
Another poster claims that Apple replaced his iPhone X due to the issue, but that the new unit was also affected by the issue.
The iPhone 8 also suffered from an earpiece cracking issue and this was fixed with a software update.
Face ID not working
After installing the iOS 11.2 update some iPhone X users found that Face ID was no longer working. Apparently turning the device on and off again fixed that issue. (If you are wondering how to turn off and restart your iPhone X here's a tutorial).
iPhone X headaches
Some users have complained that the device is particularly prone to cause eye fatigue and headaches; indeed, a member of the Macworld team who uses an iPhone X full-time says he's been having more headaches than usual since buying the handset.
Because the reports are anecdotal at this stage it's impossible to be sure if the problem truly stems from the phone. But it could be related to Apple's use of pulse-width modulation to dim the brightness of the display. This can produce a flickering effect that some people are sensitive to.
If you're experiencing similar issues, you could try adjusting some of the settings on your iPhone. We found that some of the new features in iOS 11 made us feel sick - you can find out how to turn nausea inducing iPhone effects here.
Some iPhone X units are developing a green line on the side of the display.
Twitter user mixOmatOsis was one of a number of iPhone X users to experience the issue. He tweeted this photo of the problem to Apple Support:
The line tends to run vertically either down the right or left side of the device's OLED display.
Because Apple doesn't use the same components in all of its iPhone X handsets, some are apparently slower than others.
According to a SpeedSmart, this is because Apple is using different suppliers for the baseband modems inside the iPhone X. Either a Qualcomm or Intel modem.
In November, SpeedSmart claimed that the data that it has obtained from users of its app shows that there are big differences in speeds depending on which modem is in the iPhone.
Apparently Intel's modem is the faster option. However, Apple has artificially limited the Qualcomm modem, says BGR in its report.
In December a further study by Cellular Insights seemed to suggest the opposite findings.
According to that study, the iPhone X models with a Qualcomm modem "get consistently better LTE speeds than Intel's on America's most common LTE band".
PC Mag suggests that "most consumers will feel the difference in very weak signal conditions, where every dBm of signal matters".
Want to find out which modem your iPhone X uses?
- Open Settings on the iPhone
- Go to General > About
- Scroll down until you see Model
- Tap on Model to change from part number to model number
A1865 model number = Qualcomm iPhone X
A1901 model number = Intel iPhone X
Qualcomm trying to sue Apple over iPhone X
Speaking of Qualcomm, that company has a bit of an issue with Apple's apparent use of technology that's described in patents that were previously owned by Palm until Qualcomm bought the patents in 2014. Qualcomm has filed three complaints against Apple regarding 16 patents.
Qualcomm just wants the iPhone X banned.
Apple had already filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm, claiming that the company is using its own battery management technology in the Snapdragon processor.
Finally, there have been a los of reports claiming that Apple is planning to discontinue the iPhone X because demand has been lower than anticipated.
For example, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) research suggested that one in five (20% of) iPhones bought in the last quarter of 2017 was the iPhone X, via MacRumors.
In fact, Apple's Tim Cook confirmed that the iPhone X has been the best selling handset since it went on sale.
Apple's Q1 and Q2 2018 financial results were pretty healthy, and Tim Cook said X sales were strong.