back to article iPhone 15 Pro Max users report seeing ghostly OLED apparitions

Apple's flagship iPhone 15 Pro Max is having OLED burn-in issues, according to owners of the new smartphone. Grumblings around social media have become difficult to ignore as the purchasers of the device, which starts at $1,199.00 in the US (€1,199 in Europe/ £1,199 in the UK), claim to have found ghostly images showing up on …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the iDud ?

    We flog mobile phone accessories, and to say the iPhone 15 launch has been a damp squib would be a disservice to damp squibs everywhere. The graphs tell the story. Similar really to the S23 offering.

    Now the Pixel 8 on the other hand ....

    1. Oh Matron!

      Re: the iDud ?

      Apple need to stop creating iPhones that have such good build quality. Just sold my iPhone 13 pro to a friend and there wasn;t a scratch on it after 2 years

      There's a bit of a difference in price between a pixel 8 and iphone 15, though, but good insight nonetheless

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: the iDud ?

        I'm considering buying a 13 to upgrade my current daily driver... it would displace an 8 from the youngest offspring.

        The 8 has now dropped from "latest" OS to security updates only, the previous gen got their last updates in July, so I've got some months to consider the upgrade.

        The bigger issue is that the 13/14 are basically the same phone - satellite SOS and crash detection aren't exactly deal breakers for many - that one additional GPU and "photonic engine" don't really feel like significant upgrades either. Oh, I just spotted the bluetooth upgrade from 5 to 5.3... be still my beating heart.

        Going to the 15 we then have... one generation newer chip, updated cameras, and a (noticeably) brighter screen - more reasonable upgrades, but a 33% increase in base cost (over the 13).

        So... the 15 will sell, but it will sell more when it's no longer the flagship, with pricing to hurtmatch.

      2. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: the iDud ?

        I just got the 15 to replace my 12. The 13 and 14 didn't really offer that much over the 12 that I felt like it was worth the bother. But the A17 in the 15 Pro with the 3nm design, along with some improved optical zoom on the camera made for a different story. But, we have probably hit peak iPhone, where the differences between any given generation are pretty minor. Not like the early days when there were big leaps between say the iPhone 3 and 4. Probably won't upgrade again until at least the 17.

  2. Michael Strorm Silver badge


    "if you've dropped the requisite funds on a new iPhone 15 Pro Max and found something ghostly hanging around on the screen, we'd suggest contacting the company and asking about a replacement think you'd better call... GHOSTBUSTERS!"

    1. 43300 Silver badge

      Re: FTFY

      Careful - if Ghostbusters use their proton pack on it that might invalidate the warranty!

  3. aerogems Silver badge

    Always On

    The default Always On display is where I'd think to point the finger first. Sure, it lowers the brightness considerably, but there's still some kind of static image there which is where you tend to find OLED burn-in happening. That said, having it happen this soon after launch seems strange. When RTINGS did their initial OLED burn-in test, they really had to abuse the TVs used for their testing by doing things like turning the brightness up all the way and put it on some cable news network where you have that ever-present chyron. Even then it took a few months for the burn-in to start to become noticeable.

    So, I'd probably call this one a combo of some displays that are just more prone to burn-in than most because of differences in quality, coupled with the decision to default the display to always being on. It might be made worse if people go in and crank the brightness up all the way. It should be considered a manufacturing defect under the warranty, though knowing Apple, they'll blame it on the user until someone files a class action lawsuit over it. Then they'll probably quietly settle and set up a repair program that will cover it even for devices that may be out of warranty. At least for a time.

    Bootnote: I lost count of how many of the old white plastic Macbooks I replaced the display panel on when I worked as an Apple hardware repair tech. They had a repair program because the displays would occasionally fade to white and become unresponsive until you rebooted the computer. One time it gave me an excuse to sit and watch an entire movie, because a customer sent in a unit complaining about that issue, but damned if I could replicate it. Usually stressing things with the diagnostics would be enough, but that one just refused to cooperate, even though I knew exactly what the owner was complaining about because I'd seen it so many times before. Might be that they were just aware of the issue and wanted to get their display replaced, hoping I wouldn't check it.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Always On

      I have a 14 Pro Max that's also got the always on display and no burn in after over a year. Plus why would the keyboard burn in, even with the always on display the screen will lock after a few minutes and show the clock and lock screen wallpaper. The only way the keyboard would spend a lot of time on the screen is if you are constantly texting, but even then there are display elements like the wifi bars and so forth on the top line that will be shown even more often and burn in more than the keyboard possibly could.

      Also never heard of burn in happening after only a month, not even back when OLEDs were novel and were known to have burn in issues. It has to be something else.

      Given that these reports are on the 15 Pro Max I can't help but wonder if its the same thing that caused the overheating issues - the GPU drivers. The 15 Pro / Pro Max has the A17 Pro which includes a brand new GPU, and as PC gamers know a brand new GPU architecture always brings with it drivers that have some teething issues for various things that take a little time to be ironed out. That doesn't excuse Apple for not properly testing it, but if these reports are spotty maybe something is happening that only shows up when you have millions out in the field, not a few hundred or however many they have in internal testing before the official release.

      1. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: Always On

        Well, that settles it! One person out of the millions of people who own a similar device didn't have a problem, so clearly everyone else is just holding it wrong! It never fails that someone posts a comment like this. "I didn't have any problems, so no one else could possibly be having problems!" Had you finished reading my post, I mentioned variances in materials making some displays more prone to burn-in than others.

        But, as someone who actually used to repair computer hardware for a living... shit happens. The real test is how the company responds to it. Will they offer to replace the display on affected devices, or swap the phones out for new ones? If yes, and the 17.1 update due out soon resolves the root issue, then I'd consider Apple's response to be better than average. If they demand the affected users pay to have the display replaced, then they are being dicks about it.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Always On

          I'm not saying he can't have problems because I didn't, I was responding to the assertion it might have something to do with the always on display by noting that the always on display was introduced last year so if it was because of that there would have been a lot of problems by now (and that the keyboard doesn't show on the always on display anyway)

  4. Joe Drunk

    But it's made with Titanium!

    I'm waiting for the one made with Adamantite before I take the plunge.

    1. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: But it's made with Titanium!

      Everyone knows that Mythril is the superior metal. Even Orichalcum is better than Adamantite!

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: But it's made with Titanium!

        Especially for underwear.

        1. aerogems Silver badge

          Re: But it's made with Titanium!

          Especially if you eat Chipolte.

    2. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

      Re: But it's made with Titanium!

      Beskar of course, it would be indestructible!

  5. Conundrum1885

    RE. Re. But it's made with Titanium!

    Judging by how expensive the iPhone 15 is, I am absolutely sure that they contacted Asgard Supreme Commander, Thor, and had alien metals included in the design.

    Latest science news, it seems that 33 Polyhymnia may contain elements that up until now have only existed in science fiction with a Z of 164 or higher.

    Someone's almost certainly getting the Nobel Prize if the existence of these elements is actually discovered in meteorites, though it would be exceedingly unlikely

    they may exist near the surface of the Moon, just under the surface where mass concentrations (mascons) exist.

    I have a standing bet with some physicists that at least one ultra-superheavy element may be superconductive at or near room temperature, in combination with more

    ordinary elements.

    Because if you're going to travel to the stars, having abundant high Tc and high Jc materials is a good starting point to build a drive with.

    More down to earth it seems, deuterium is the magic sauce in at least one prototype OLED display as it emits brighter light without degrading as quickly due to that

    extra neutron improving the quantum transition that makes OLEDs emit light. Google "spin triplets" ...

    I still say that if Atlantis rises from the waves in peacetime, we should call the first such element "Naquadah" or "Laforgium" or something similar.

  6. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Maybe fixable

    I've read that OLED has two kinds of burn-in. One is similar to LCD and Plasma display momentary burn-in where charges have settled into insulators to offset the analog levels. All that's needed is a periodic calibration or discharge cycle. Maybe the new fruit isn't creating conditions where that may be performed.

    My old Apple Cinema Display had nothing to fix LCD burn-in. It looked like ass sometimes and the only fix was waiting a few days for it to fade back to normal.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    These new fruity phones

    Why so mega expensive?

    It’s just a phone people.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Re: These new fruity phones

      Because the iFanBoys will pay that price.

      If people stop paying, the price will come down.

  8. EricB123 Bronze badge

    Optical Zoom + Motorcycle mount = Busted Zoom

    I've been hearing reports that people with optical zoom iPhones put on a motorcycle handle bar mount breaks the zoom mechanism. As usual, Apple doesn't consider that "normal use" and won't repair under warranty.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Re: Optical Zoom + Motorcycle mount = Busted Zoom

      Was it an Apple branded motorcycle? In that case it's an unsupported accessory.

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