The iPhone X Fails in Cold Weather, but Apple Has a Solution


Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

The iPhone X does not cope well with the cold weather. Users report that Apple’s $999 smartphone, which launched last week, seems to struggle as soon as it steps out into the cold. Fortunately, it seems there’s a solution that avoids a large-scale hardware recall.

“I’ve noticed that my iPhone X screen becomes very unresponsive as soon as I step outside,” said Reddit user “darius214.” “It literally takes two seconds from going inside to the cold outdoors and my screen stops being very responsive. I try swiping on websites and it doesn’t register my finger. It’s very noticeable. Is anyone else having this problem?”

It’s a disappointing bug for the new phone’s owners, some of which lined up outside for days to get their hands on the new release. The phone offers a giant 5.8-inch screen, a face recognition scanner and a new camera. It’s all well and good offering these upgrades, but if the touchscreen doesn’t work, it’s all for nothing.

Another user, who goes by the name “ultraspoon,” noticed that it’s almost certainly a software issue, as locking and unlocking the device fixes it. User “JStheoriginal” tried it out for themselves, when they stepped out into the minus four degree Fahrenheit cold. The phone only registered around one fifth of touches at first, but trying “ultraspoon”‘s method immediately fixed it.

A customer takes a picture of the new iPhone X at an Apple Store on November 3, 2017 in Palo Alto, California.

Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

Apple’s support pages recommend not using it in extreme conditions. Anywhere between 32 and 98 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal, while it should be stored in a place that’s somewhere between minus four and 113 degrees.

In a statement to Inverse, Apple said it’s working to resolve the issue:

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.

If it works, Apple will manage to avoid a repeat of the iPhone 4 launch. Like the iPhone X, the company’s 2010 device launch changed a lot about the product line, introducing a high-resolution screen, better camera and a new design with glass on the front and rear. However, users quickly discovered that the phone would lose signal if held the wrong way. The ensuing “antennagate” led to Apple sending out free cases to solve the problem.

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