The iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus are Apple’s best-selling iPhones of all time, and Apple fans have found lots of things to love among the new phones’ hardware and software features. But Apple’s most recent releases aren’t perfect, despite the company’s reputation for polished interfaces and impeccable design choices. Even as the new smartphones sell prolifically and draw levels of attention that few of Apple’s rivals could hope to achieve, owners of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus have encountered a variety of issues, errors, and problems with their new phones.
Some stem from the actual hardware of the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, while others originate with the phone’s software and the intricacies of the iOS 8 operating system and the various updates that have followed its initial release last September. Some of these issues can be solved by changing settings on the iPhone, updating the smartphone’s software, or through other processes of trial and error. But whether you’re an Android user looking for a change or an owner of a previous-generation iPhone considering an upgrade, here are the issues you might encounter if you purchase an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.
Battery life limitations
From the beginning of the iPhone 6’s availability, owners were dissatisfied with the new smartphone’s battery life. Scott Stein wrote for CNET that better battery life topped many users’ wish lists of features for the new iPhones, but Apple didn’t deliver. For users who depend on their iPhones as a hub — pairing them with wearables or fitness trackers, connecting them to their in-car infotainment systems, streaming music, browsing the web, tweeting, emailing, and more — Stein thinks that “the iPhone 6 battery isn’t bad. It’s disappointing.” iMore noted that both the iPhone 6 itself and the iOS 8 operating system suffer battery life issues (and offered some advice on how to identify and fix a few common battery life issues).
While many users would have liked a thicker iPhone that wasn’t susceptible to bending when carried in a pocket, many would also probably have preferred a thicker iPhone with better battery life than the performance offered by previous generations. And while the iPhone 6 is no worse than the iPhone 5s at getting through the day without recharging, it isn’t much better; the iPhone 6 is powered by an 1,810 mAh non-removable battery, which is slightly larger than the 1,560 mAh battery of the iPhone 5s but needs to power a bigger, brighter display.
But not everyone is dissatisfied with the iPhone 6’s battery life. Nate Swanner wrote for SlashGear that he’s getting two days of battery life from his iPhone 6 by fine-tuning the settings for a variety of apps and services. He recommends turning off background activity for most apps, being mindful about app usage, turning off many notifications, using Airplane Mode as a do-not-disturb mode, and selectively choosing which apps can use location tracking.
Bluetooth connection woes
Bluetooth connections seem to be just as glitchy as WiFi connections for iPhone 6 users. iMore reported that many users have had issues with the stability of Bluetooth connections pairing a wide variety of devices with their iPhones. From connections dropping intermittently to pairings not functioning at all, affected users might be experiencing issues with iOS 8, or problems with the particular device or accessory with which they’re trying to pair their iPhone.
Build quality and durability
In the early days of its availability, Apple’s thinnest iPhone 6 Plus became infamous when owners reported that it was also Apple’s bendiest iPhone. Some users found that the frame of the iPhone could be permanently bent by sitting when it was stored in a back pocket, or simply by storing it in the front pocket of a tight pair of pants. Mac Rumors reported that as iPhones get thinner and larger, storing them in a pocket becomes riskier; unlike smaller phones, which can slide out of the way, bigger iPhones are more susceptible to flexing at pressure points caused by sitting or bending.
Fast Company reported that only a “radical design shift” could fix the flaw, proposing that Apple won’t be able to keep making its devices thinner and lighter without ultimately abandoning aluminum. The company will either need to use thicker and heavier aluminum — and forego making iPhones that are thinner or lighter than the preceding models — or abandon the material that most of its aesthetic choices revolve around in favor of a stronger material.
In the meantime, users noted other issues with the iPhone 6’s build quality, with The Next Web reporting that the phone’s “ion-strengthened” screen accumulates hairline scratches much more quickly than previous generations of the iPhone. A thread on Apple’s support forums with more than 1,000 replies indicated that even when scratches hadn’t been an issue for them with previous iPhones, the iPhone 6 was easily and often scratched.
iMessage and SMS issues
iMore reported that some owners of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are having problems sending regular SMS messages, and instead can only send iMessages from their new iPhones. iMessage, the instant messaging service that’s built in to Apple’s Messages app, enables users to send text, image, and video messages to anyone with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. But some iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners find that they can only receive iMessages.
Apple’s Continuity feature, which it introduced with iOS 8 to enable users to send and receive SMS messages on their Macs or iPads, is susceptible to connection issues that can cause issues with SMS messaging. Network settings or expansions to LTE networks can also contribute to problems with the Messages app. iMore notes that the issues often are specifically related to VoLTE, and affect users in areas where it’s being actively expanded.
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners have had some persistent issues with the default keyboard on their iPhones — some that aren’t even helped by the fact that iOS 8 added the ability for users to download third-party keyboards and use them across the iPhone. Some experienced disappearing keyboards or other strange glitches, and Forbes reported that thanks to the way that the keyboard is reconfigured for the larger iPhones, many iPhone 6 users find themselves accidentally tapping the period key instead of the space bar in the Safari app. Enabling voice dictation causes the keyboard to become even more congested.
While iOS 8.3 was expected to fix the issues, a thread on Apple’s support forum, titled “iOS 8.3 just screwed up my keyboard,” detailed an array of persistent keyboard issues that users still experienced after upgrading to iOS 8.3. While users have found workarounds and settings to change, several concluded that problems with the operating system’s Accessibility features were contributing to their keyboard issues. Many are hoping that Apple sorts out iOS’s issues with rendering the keyboard for its larger iPhones before iOS 9 rolls around.
Security experts and privacy-minded users alike have complained that the iPhone’s TouchID fingerprint sensor can be fooled with some basic forensic work and a fake fingerprint, and that hasn’t changed with the iPhone 6, according to TomsGuide. While Apple seems to have made some improvements to TouchID, experts think that the sensor still represents a security issue, especially when it comes to Apple Pay.
Germany’s Chaos Computer Club proved that it could unlock an iPhone 5s using a fingerprint lifted from a surface like glass, or even from the iPhone itself. By photographing, inverting, and printing out the fingerprint, a hacker was able to create a replica fingerprint that fooled the TouchID fingerprint sensor. Marc Rogers of San Francisco-based Lookout Mobile Security devised a more complex technique that worked not only on the iPhone 5s, but also on the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. But Rogers did note that the iPhone 6’s TouchID sensor was equipped with a more accurate scanner than previous generations, though he regarded that improvement as more of a benefit for iPhone users than one that enhanced the security of the feature.
According to Business Insider, Rogers said that the hackability of TouchID isn’t much of a security issue until Apple Pay enters the picture. With the introduction of Apple Pay, TouchID protects access to users’ credit cards and debit cards, and Rogers says that criminals “now have a huge financial incentive” to devise methods that make it easier and quicker to hack the sensor. He thinks that Apple missed some opportunities to make that impossible with the iPhone 6; the sensor could have looked for conductivity or used light to detect structures below the skin. “The biggest take-away from this is that I’m disappointed in Apple. The fingerprint sensor problem has been around for a long time. A fingerprint is easy to reproduce. We leave our fingerprints around every time we touch a shiny surface.”
WiFi connection glitches
One of the biggest problems with the iPhone 6 is its persistent issues staying connected to WiFi. Users have reported a variety of issues, from their phones having difficulty finding their home WiFi networks to their iPhones consistently disconnecting from WiFi to their phones performing sluggishly when connected to WiFi. Writing for Forbes, Gordon Kelly reported that Apple’s recent iOS 8.3 served as an acknowledgment of the existence of a problem that users have termed “WiFried.” The WiFried bug causes WiFi connections to drop repeatedly without reason, impacting activities ranging from web browsing to streaming music to uploading or downloading files.
The iOS 8.3 release notes state that the update “Addresses an issue where some devices disconnect intermittently from Wi-Fi networks,” but Kelly notes that Apple’s usage of the word “some” seems to be an understatement of the size of the problem. “While technically correct for a platform used by hundreds of millions, a ‘WiFried’ Google search turns up nearly 70,000 results and – at the time of writing – the aforementioned Apple Support Communities thread has amassed nearly 800,000 views and is approaching 3,000 replies across 183 pages.”
While Apple hadn’t officially acknowledged the problem before the update, iOS 8.3 changed that. But a number of reports indicate that the update hasn’t fixed the WiFi issues for some iPhone 6 users, for whom the issues with intermittent WiFi connections still persist.