There are three inevitabilities in life – death, taxes, and iPhone ‘gates’.
Hopefully not in that order.
Now that the new iPhone 15 range is out in the wild, controversies relating to Apple’s smartphone are starting to emerge.
It was only a matter of time.
There appear to be two controversies this time around, both of which are focused primarily on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models – the latter in particular.
Does the iPhone 15 Pro Max heat up? Will it snap in half? Is that Mars Rover grade 5 titanium less than it has – literally – cracked up to be?
Let’s find out.
We do love an iPhone ‘gate’, don’t we?
Arguably, the most famous was Antennagate, which emerged during the iPhone 4 release in 2010. This was when Apple moved the antenna to the sides of the device and users subsequently reported a loss of signal if it was gripped in a specific manner.
A public explanation that we were all simply holding it wrong followed from Steve Jobs and every iPhone 4 owner was offered a free bumper case to rid their new pride and joy of the problem.
Would most of us have noticed any issue with the iPhone 4 cellular performance if this design quirk hadn’t been so widely publicised?
Of course we wouldn’t.
Then, we had Bendgate, which reared its ugly head in 2014 when Apple launched the super-thin and super-massive (back then) iPhone 6 Plus. As demonstrated by numerous view-chasers on YouTube, if you applied enough pressure to the back of the device with your two thumbs while gripping the rest of the frame tightly with the rest of your hands, the iPhone 6 Plus would bend.
Because, of course it would.
Apple was also, quite rightly, given a severe dressing down in the tech media back in 2017 when it was discovered that the performance of older iPhones was being intentionally throttled to prevent battery degradation. An apology followed, along with a raft of free battery replacements, and a software update that made the feature configurable by the user.
So, what’s wrong with the latest iPhone, then?
Does the iPhone 15 Pro Max heat up?
According to Vadim Yuryev of Max Tech, Apple’s chip supplier, TSMC, “didn’t have good enough 3nm chip yields so they had to lower their efficiency standards to accept more A17 Pro dies which would’ve otherwise been tossed away into the trash”.
This has, apparently, resulted in Apple’s hardware teams having to push the watts of the new chip “to still show a decent improvement in benchmarks for marketing”.
The result? Well, it looks like all of that pushing and smashing of the A17 Pro internals is causing some heating issues for certain users. Possibly.
There are stories strewn across Reddit and Apple’s own support forums from people who are experiencing toasty iPhone 15 Pro Max devices. Users are reporting that the device gets so hot “I can’t even hold it for very long”, and surface temperatures of 48°C during gaming.
I’m not an iPhone gamer, so I can’t offer any form of meaningful opinion on the latter, but I can say that my iPhone 15 Pro Max hasn’t thus far heated up to the point where I can barely hold it.
It’s charging at the moment via USB-C (which is still an unfathomable joy) and it is indeed a little warmer than the iPhone 14 Pro Max ever was during a juice-up. Although, I wouldn’t call it bothersome, and it certainly isn’t too hot to pick up. It’s the kind of warmth you get from a new iPhone while it’s doing all of its setup stuff behind the scenes.
Beyond that, the iPhone 15 Pro Max hasn’t heated up at all while off charge. Granted, I’ve only been using it for a few days, but the reports of vastly unacceptable surface temperatures have arrived very early in the ownership cycle. And I haven’t experienced the same issues at all.
I’ll keep an eye on it, but my guess is that any current issues related to heat will dissipate – literally – after the next iOS 17 update.
Another bend gate!
I don’t watch the JerryRigAnything YouTube channel, but you can guarantee it always works its way into the headlines when we’re treated to a new iPhone lineup.
This year, Zac Nelson (the chap behind JerryRigAnything) has undertaken his usual bunch of stress tests on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. He’s demonstrated that, when scratching the sides of the device, it’s relatively easy to remove the paint job and expose the raw titanium beneath.
Because, of course it is. With a knife.
Nelson also reveals how easy it is to bend the iPhone 15 Pro Max when you apply the same kind of grip and pressure to it as those who got involved in the iPhone 6 Plus Bendgate tests. Under those conditions and questionable smartphone usage techniques, the iPhone 15 Pro Max does bend relatively easily and the glass on the back of the device will shatter.
Because, of course it will.
Have I experienced any bending or shattering issues with my iPhone 15 Pro Max?
Because, of course I haven’t.
This leads me to an inevitable conclusion about the latest iPhone 15 Pro Max controversies.
The inevitable conclusion
I find it hugely interesting that the only iPhone ‘gate’ I’ve experienced personally is one that never really received much press attention.
It related to the iPhone 3GS and the propensity for that device to collect dust under the display during the manufacturing process. My first device was so bespeckled that I decided to take it straight back to the Apple Store for a replacement.
That replacement had the exact same issue; in fact, it was worse. So, I went in again and asked to see the next replacement in the store before accepting it. Eventually, I settled on one which didn’t have any dust present beneath the display.
Beyond that, none of my iPhones have ever bent, snapped, shattered, delivered poor cellular performance, or purposefully throttled their battery after long-term ownership in a way that became noticeable.
You see, nothing bad seems to happen with iPhones if you just use them normally. If you attempt to break them, they will break. If you squeeze them too hard because everyone is telling you it’ll degrade the cellular performance, that’s exactly what will happen. If you keep your iPhone for a long time, the battery is going to degrade.
Sure, we need stress tests and we should be given some reassurance by Apple that, if we drop our iPhone, it isn’t going to shatter into a thousand pieces. But that’s what cases are for. These have always been – and always will be – relatively delicate devices, given the materials involved.
My advice? Ignore the ‘gates’, buy the iPhone you want, and enjoy it. It’s all I’ve ever done (bar the dust thing).