I ditched my Blackberry Curve and picked up an black 16 gigabyte 3g iPhone last week. It had been a great experience so far, with only a handful of complaints.
[Note: Since this entry was written, I have been releasing iPhone applications to the iTunes store. You may be interested in checking out our iPhone and iPod Touch Applications. -rob]
Yesterday, however I had a serious problem with the phone. I was at Rock the Bells in Mansfield, MA and reached for my phone only to find that it had a solid white screen. It would not respond to the sleep or home button. I tried the hard restart (reset), and it would go blank, then if I did it again, flash the white briefly. I did the hard restart (10 seconds home and sleep) a few more times and got to the Apple logo.
The device then boot up normally to the home screen, however the moment it went to sleep it would not come back to life. It would just be a dead screen. I could get it to come back to the home screen again by doing multiple hard restarts (not every one was successful in getting to the Apple loading screen, sometimes holding the two buttons only resulted in a vibration) but even then it required multiple attempts. If I missed the home screen and it went to sleep then the process had to be repeated.
When I got home I plugged the device in and even though the screen was blank, my PC and iTunes would make the device vibrate briefly and see the device as working. However, no combination of hard resets and plugging it into the USB would get things ‘back to normal.’ I should note that I did have enough power in the phone during the course of this white screen / sleep problem. I could tell because on occasion when it would get to the home screen, it would show I had battery power left.
I went ahead and tried a restore of the device to factory settings, since iTunes was seeing it fine. Then I went ahead and restored my backup. Same problems, sleep state problem, white screen problem. My final measure was to do yet another complete factory restore and see how the phone operated, i.e. was there something wrong with my previous settings such that it was causing the operational problems?
No. Same problems. I took it into the Apple store on Boylston downtown Boston this morning and a person at the Genius Counter replaced after a I provided a brief description. The Genius Counter technician did not spend any time troubleshooting / verifying them. This leads me to believe that this could be a common enough problem that it is occurring in other phones i.e. a white screen / sleep state nonresponsive.
I asked what might have been the problem and he seemed firm that it was a hardware issue and did not express any surprise. He suggested that possibly there was something going wrong with the screen power. I wasn’t going to argue with him, because I really just wanted to get my iPhone working again and was happy to have a brand new replacement. But the glitched confused me because it seemed intermittent. Why would the iPhone occassionally operate fine after boot but only then become unresponsive after sleep.
Another clue was that the tech also suggested that I set up the iPhone as a new phone rather than restore my backup, ‘just to be sure.’ This means that the tech felt there might have been something that had simply gone wrong in my backup. I’d like to say that this was some variant of the “white screen of death” or some type of bug in the 2.0 firmware, but unfortunatly all I can do is speculate.
Perhaps the symptoms I described represent an unofficial known issue. If it has been recognized as such a problem and is grounds for immediate replacement. Or, perhaps Apple is just taking a pretty wide ranging returns. I am a brand new Apple customer and the support experience was a good one.
I did do a fair amount of searching the web for solutions and troubleshooting prior to taking the phone in to an Apple store. I found both this Howard’s Forums thread and this Apple Support Forum thread that described white screen problems that were different from mine.
You should know that when you swap out your iPhone for a new oneyou must set up your voicemail again. I lost all of my old voicemails and had to re-record my greeting. This is sort of a bummer. Fortunately, my SMS messages and iPhone photos were a part of the iPhone backup, so all of those conversations were retained.
All audio and video files had to be re-synced and for whatever reason the restore removed a few of the iPhone applications I had installed, Google, Facebook and in my library. A few applications were also not uninstalledremained including AIM and Tap Tap. iTunes actually issued a warning dialog that Tap Tap could not be uninstalled / removed properly and gave a hex identifier for the error.
Finally, I did have a look at the iPhone crash recovery logs directory to look for any evidence of the problem I had all day yesterday. Interestingly, there are no logs from July 26th, the day where the white screen / dead sleepstate problem occurred. There are logs from when I tried syncing after midnight from Mediaserverd and MobileSafari. I don’t see anything that suggests tracking of all the hard restarts I attempted throughout yesterday afteroon. The last crash had bug_id 115.
If you have had a similar problem, feel free to post in the comments to share with the web.