Apple iPhone X Runs into Several Problems Within A Week of Public Release

If you spend $1,000 on a phone, you’d want it to last a few years at least. But leave years, Apple’s latest iPhone X has started having problems within a week of its arrival. Various issues have surfaced in Apple’s shiny new toy and right now even the causes of these issues are not known. Let’s take a look on them:

Issue #1: Green vertical line on display

Green line on right side
Image credit: Macrumors

The first issue with iPhone X is that of a green vertical line on the display. The line started appearing spontaneously on devices of various users across the world, and so far we don’t know the reason behind it as Apple hasn’t responded to queries regarding this issue. The line appears either on the left or right side of iPhone X display, but its placement may also be varied depending on the situation.

Green line in middle of display
Image Credit: Macrumors

Efforts to reproduce the issue have so far been in vein, but about 20-25 cases of the issue have appeared on Twitter, Facebook Reddit, Apple Support Forums and Macrumors forum. Restarting the device, or even a full factory reset doesn’t fix the issue, which suggests that it’s happening because of some hardware fault.

Now, when compared against the millions of iPhones that Apple sells within a week of launch, this count of 20-25 is nothing… but it’s still noteworthy because it’s not just a few cases here and there. The cases have emerged from Australia, USA, Canada and Poland to name a few locations. And they’re also not limited to any specific version of iPhone X, as similar issues have been observed in 64GB, 256GB, Gray and Silver versions of the device. Apple is working to replace the devices for users who’re suffering from this, and also collecting data from affected users to understand the reason behind this issue.

Issue #2: Face ID (Possibly) Hacked

The second problem that iPhone X has encountered is not that of faulty hardware/software. It’s a (possible) security vulnerability actually, and as expected, it’s associated with company’s latest greatest thing called Face ID. Some researchers from a Vietnamese security firm called Bkav are claiming that they’ve hacked Apple’s Face ID with help of a 3D mask. This is the same firm which had bypassed the Face recognition based authentication system of Toshiba and Lenovo laptops in 2009. Now about five days ago on Friday, this firm has posted another video to YouTube account in which an iPhone X is being unlocked with a Facemask instead of the real face.

According to company’s press release, the $150 mask used for breaking into iPhone X was made by 2D and 3D printers, and the nose was made from the hand by an artist. Special processing was done near cheeks and around the face as well, where large areas of skin are found. The fortunate thing is that making this mask is very difficult when you don’t have proper knowledge about how Apple’s Face ID works.

Another noteworthy thing about this claim is that key details about the magical $150 mask are still missing. For example:

  • Did this mask unlock the iPhone X soon after a new face was registered for authentication? Or was there the certain time window in between before the mask started working as an alternative to face? Because according to Apple, iPhone X takes additional captures overtime to ensure that it can recognize you no matter since how long you registered your face on it. Mask, on the other hand, will be static even if 25 years have passed after registration of original face. So this should give real users an advantage over hackers.
  • Another important detail is the process of making this mask. For instance, is it a must to have access to user’s real face for making this mask? Did the user sit down to allow measurement of his face? Did he allow a mold to be taken off of his face? Because all these data points are critical details which iPhone X captures to recognize us. If access to user’s face is a must for making this mask, then this hack is pretty much useless. Because until someone drugs/kills a user, they’re unlikely to get such kind of access to his/her face.

When Ars Technica tried to extract the answers to these questions from Bkav researchers, they either evaded the questions or deflected. So right now probably this hack is not much use for real-world scenarios, but it still presents something that Apple should look into.

Issue #3: Crackling Speakers

The 3rd issue is with the sound quality of some iPhones. And again, the number of people experiencing this thing is relatively small. The issue is that whenever sound of an iPhone X unit affected by this problem is increased to the highest levels, the speakers start giving a crackling output. And not speakers actually, it’s the top speaker which does this nasty thing. Severity of issue varies, but it happens regardless of what you’re doing. Whether it’s playing a song, watching videos or playing games… if it has to happen on an iPhone X, it will.

Now, since Apple has always had arguably the best sound quality, this problem is not a good one for company’s reputation. Even though the number of users experiencing it is small, it’s still common enough that it can’t be discarded as an isolated issue.

This also comes merely a week after Apple pushed a software update to fix the crackling issue of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, so at this point, we don’t even know whether it’s a hardware fault or a software issue.

So the bottom line is that even after spending 1,000 bucks on your latest iPhone, you can’t be so sure about its reliability. The good thing, however, is that Apple usually helps in all these situations by fixing or replacing the affected devices. That’s what separates them from others – the customer service. Let’s hope that the small number of users who’re experiencing these issues get their problems fixed.


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