Apple employee claims they're

Are some iPhone 5s units arriving warped?

iPhone5SOn September 20th, I waited outside at 4 a.m. in the morning to 8 a.m. to be one of the first to get my hands on Apple’s latest and greatest smartphone, the iPhone 5s. I’ve been an iPhone owner since the original iPhone “2G” in 2007, always getting my phones on Day 1, never experiencing a single problem with the phones throughout each’s 2-years in use. Until now.

I noticed it around Day 3 or so – my iPhone 5s, still in prestine condition – not a nick, scratch, scrape, and hardly a smudge on it – seemed oddly… curved. Not really a noticeable amount, to anybody who doesn’t obsess over their smartphones like I do – but a little bit. To my eyes, there seemed to be a slight low point in the middle of the phone, bending the screen downwards ever so slightly. Convincing myself it was just my imagination, I put my phone in my pocket and happily went on my way for the next week.

But everytime I whipped out my iPhone, I noticed it – almost impossibly small, but definitely there – that slight bend. Deciding it was something that I best check out in depth, I decided to give it a closer look. Laying my brand new iPhone 5s right next to multiple iPhone 5 (and one other iPhone 5s) units on the same surface, the warp went from something barely noticeable to something impossible not to see – my iPhone 5s absolutely does not sit as flat against the table as all of the other iPhones I compared it to. To prove my point, I’ve made a small video, which you can see embedded after the break, which shows my iPhone lifting up from the table when applying pressure to any corner of the phone. I’ve also done the same test on every other iPhone 5 I’ve gotten my hands on, none of which lift up even the slightest bit.

Taking my problem to MacRumors Forums, I’ve discovered that I’m in fact seemingly far from alone in my experience. MacRumors user caseycrocker shared with their story of receiving not one, but two warped iPhone 5s’s right out of the box:

I noticed my first 16gig Space Gray 5S was bent right out of the box! Had that one replaced same day only to get a slightly less bent one.

Putting light pressure on the top part of my phone on a flat surface lifts the bottom of the phone about 1 millimeter or so. Apple tech explained they don’t know what is causing the issue but have seen a few reports at the store level of this happening.

Likewise, MacRumors user djn4eva claims that they’ve seen “many” iPhone 5s units exhibit this behavior, leading me to believe that the issue is at least somewhat widespread. Based on that conclusion, I packed up my iPhone 5s and went off to the local Apple Store, prepared to deliver my whole spiel and hopeful to receive a unit that (hopefully) didn’t bend. Unfortunately, my experience was less than spectacular.

Read more to hear about my experience dealing with Apple.

Arriving at the Apple Store, things seemed hopeful. The first technician I talked to took a pretty good look at the phone, ran some diagnostics, and determined that the aluminium enclosure was warped  – the battery, he said, did not appear to be at all enlarged. Comparing my 5s with an iPhone 5 and checking it out on the same flat surface, he agreed that the phone definitely seemed “off” and that he’d go talk to someone else about getting me a replacement. That’s where things went south.

The technician he brought over, unfortunately for me, did not seem to be in such a rush to help me. After we explained the problem to her, she gave us a doubtful look, took the phone in her hands, and sighed. “It doesn’t seem warped to me,” she said in a more than slightly condescending manner. “I don’t see it.” Even after putting the phone on the table and applying pressure and witnessing it flex, she still wasn’t convinced – “I don’t see a problem.” she insisted again. Growing frustrated, we advised she bring over the manager, who was (of course) informed of the situation by the doubtful second technician. The manager immediately explained to me that “due to the enclosure” the iPhone 5s simply doesn’t lay “perfectly flat”, and that it was a non-issue.

Explaining to him that my phone was noticably, perceptibly warped and that the phone doesn’t even lay nearly as flat as other iPhone 5s/5’s, he simply shrugged and said that it was a “cosmetic issue” not covered under warranty and sent me on my way, warped iPhone 5s and all. So here I sit, frustrated, with a phone I just paid hundreds of dollars for, sitting unsteadily on the table next to me as we speak.

So be warned – if you’re interested in buying an iPhone 5s, definitely check and make sure there are absolutely no warps or bends in the enclosure or screen in the slightest. If there is, you seem to be one of the growing numbers with the issue, and you should complain to Apple and send them message that there seems to be a very real problem. And unfortunately Apple, who I’ve never had a single issue with, apparently refuses to admit to customers – who have spent their hard earned cash on an otherwise amazing smartphone – that there’s no issue. And I don’t know about you, but I just don’t think that’s quite right.

  • Casey Crocker

    I am now on my 5th iPhone 5S this time Gold. First 3 Space Gray 1 Silver and all of them had some type of warped enclosure.

    Apple will generally replace, however the replacements are all plagued with the same issue or at least in my case they have been.

    I compared each one to my year old iPhone 5 that lays flat as a pan cake and these all lift on corners, top and bottom.

    Some Friends of mine have the 5S, same issue…some more, some less severe. OCD level at 80% on this issue lol. Probably shouldn’t be so concerned about a minor warp in a phone but still it doesn’t seem right…

    Love my iPhone will never leave it. Just wish it was flat and straight. :)

  • Jay

    Same problem, the woman at the genius bar just wouldn’t acknowledge me or the issue of the bending phone at all. Other people are getting replacements and I’m getting no where I’m at a total loss about what to do :(

  • Yoseph Leonardo

    Same with me. I though i was the only one that has this fvcking issue! Dissappointed.

  • Luiz Victor

    I just bought an iPhone 5S, same here :(