TAIPEI, TAIWAN – 2020/10/26: Apple iPhone 12 seen on display at an Apple store in Taipei. (Photo by … [+]
The chorus of people complaining about the iPhone 12’s green tinted display is getting louder, despite the recent iOS update that was touted as a fix.
For the uninitiated, the main problem appears to be certain iPhone 12 models have a green hue to the screen, either permanently or at a certain brightness. There are several posts on Apple’s support forums that suggests the issue spreads across the full device line-up. The largest thread currently has over 3000 upvotes.
Check out my video on the iPhone 12’s display troubles.
A steady stream of peeved iPhone 12 owners have also contacted me over the last few weeks about problems with their handset’s display.
One iPhone 12 Pro Max owner in Malaysia, who contacted me last week, shared the below image, which shows the most extreme example I’ve seen so far. The display has a strong, dark green colour to it. Other images shared with me show a less dramatic tint that might not be obvious if you’re not aware of the problem, but the below is comfortably the worst.
An extreme example of the iPhone 12’s green tint issue.
Ricky Panesar, Apple repair expert and CEO of icorrect.co.uk, told me that this may be a hardware issue that can’t be completely fixed with a software update.
“Apple is quite good, when there’s an issue like this it takes back units to research the problem properly. The company obviously doesn’t want to put out substandard phones. They’ve tried to correct the green tint with a software update [iOS 14.5] but it may need a screen replacement for the worst affected – essentially refurbishing the phone.”
That recent iOS update has improved things for some users, but not all. An iPhone 12 Pro owner called Raul, who contacted me earlier this week, said that the update had somewhat removed the green colour from the screen, but claimed it is still visible at low brightness. Raul also said there’s a red flickering line at the top of the display when scrolling.
Raul tells me the green tint problem has been mostly fixed after the latest iOS update, but the … [+]
Panesar’s own iPhone 12 Pro still has a tint, even after the update. “The greener hue only appears in lower light and sporadically. The blacks, for the most part, are black, but definitely not when they’re put up against white.”
Apple’s handset isn’t alone, last year’s OnePlus 8 Pro (which features a display panel made by Samsung) and the Motorola Edge+ have similar green tint screen problems. Both Android phones and the iPhone 12 have OLED panels, Panesar thinks the quality of the screen materials might be the issue.
“We hit Covid as they [Apple] were manufacturing the phone and China was temporarily shut down at one point. This phone should’ve been delayed. We’d heard of possible release date delays because of Covid, but somehow Apple managed to hit their production targets, which makes no sense. There’s definitely something substandard [about the iPhone 12 display] – but they still hit their target, so from a shareholder perspective it’s all good. Less so from a consumer perspective. But, as I say, we don’t know how widespread this is – the complaints are only in their thousands, not millions. The majority of users might not notice it.”
For users still struggling after the recent update, sending the device back to Apple may be the only option. The organic material in OLED displays can be subject to degradation, which in some cases can lead to a green tint Panesar tells me, or reduced brightness, as noise measurement tool manufacturer Cirrus Research explains.
“This degradation can be caused by radiation, x-rays, exposure to air particles during manufacture or over-usage. Research into this problem using soft x-ray scanning photoemission microscopy has revealed that the bubble-like defects on the cathode surface, which is found on OLED screens experiencing degradation issues, have significant amounts of indium from the disruption of indium tin oxide anode and this affects the organic material. Though great improvements have been made in recent years, OLEDs still have a limited lifespan. This is typically 28,000 hours for red or green OLEDs, after which time the brightness of the screen will reduce by 50%.”
I asked Apple why these users are still having display issues, but it didn’t respond by the time of publishing. If you are experiencing a similar issue, get in touch.
I’m a London-based freelance journalist who specializes in all aspects of technology including reviews, investigations, comment and news. I’m a recovering founder of the