iPhone 15 Pro Max owners reporting ‘screen burn-in’ — this looks bad

iPhone 15 Pro Max shown in hand
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

As with many high-profile hardware releases, the iPhone 15 launch hasn’t been trouble-free for Apple. While most of the early iPhone 15 problems have been dealt with in one way or another, a new issue has emerged that may be harder to counter.

On X, Tarun Vats highlighted the fates of a number of iPhone 15 Pro Max handsets that appear to be suffering from some kind of image retention, sourced from both Reddit and Apple’s own discussion forums

It’s not clear how widespread the issue is, but on the Reddit thread at least four other users report similar issues — and one of those is with the iPhone 15 Pro, suggesting it may not be limited to the 6.7-inch Pro Max handset. 

Vats specifically calls the problem “screen burn-in”, but given the handsets have been out for less than a month, a temporary image retention seems more likely. 

Screen burn in — where an image is permanently etched into OLED screens — takes a lot longer, and requires the same image to be in place for some time. It used to be a big problem with OLED TVs with static images like channel logos and news tickers being particularly susceptible, but screensavers and pixel refreshing software have largely made it a non-issue in recent years.

But even if the iPhone issue is not the dictionary definition of burn in, something is evidently wrong with the affected handsets — perhaps a faulty batch of panels. 

You could also point a finger at the always-on display exclusive to the Pro models, which of course creates more opportunity for an image to be retained. But given last year’s iPhone 14 Pro models also had the feature and have been out for over a year without incident, that doesn’t seem likely to be the answer. Perhaps the always-on display in conjunction with the new brighter panels — which can reach up to 2,000 nits of brightness — are combining badly for some users.

For the moment, this is a handful of isolated incidents, and hopefully it remains that way. But with the handsets only being in the wild for under a month, we may not have heard the last of this story. 

In the meantime, if you’re affected, you should get yourself to the Apple Store and see if the company’s technicians can help either with a fix or a replacement.

More from Tom's Guide

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.