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iPhone 13 problems — all the issues reported so far

iPhone 13 problems
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

All of the iPhone 13 models have certainly impressed since they debuted earlier this month. The iPhone 13 Pro Max, in particular, currently claims the top spot in our best phone rankings, but all your options — including the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro mini — are excellent additions to Apple's lineup.

Still, anything built by human hands is bound to have flaws. And some initial problems have cropped up with the iPhone 13.

The good news is that none of the issues people are running into for now — as annoying as they may be — sound like they're dealbreakers. Even better, they should be fixable with a software update, with the first fix rolling out as we speak. It's unclear when other software updates are coming, though, which forces people who paid $699 and up to grin and bear some shortcomings with their new phones, at least for now.

Here's a round-up of the biggest issues reported with the iPhone 13 so far. Check back for updates on when these problems get fixed, and we'll also keep an eye out for any additional bug reports.

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ProMotion fast refresh rates don't work on some apps

The ProMotion displays on the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are capable of ramping up their refresh rates to 120Hz when the action on the screen demands a smoother, more immersive experience. That's the theory at any rate. In practice, some third-party apps aren't working properly with the iPhone 13 Pro's fast-refresh rate.

Specifically, some apps combine 120Hz scrolling and full-screen transitions with 60Hz animations, creating a jarring visual experience. Affected apps include the Apollo Reddit app, according to a 9to5Mac report.

How to fix it: There are two issues at play here. For starters, Apple says that app makers need to flag their software with a declaration they can support 120Hz. Apple plans to clarify this requirement to developers. Second, Apple plans to fix a bug involving animations built using the company's Core Animation tools; that fix is coming soon via a software update.

Apple Watch unlocking doesn't work on some iPhone 13 models

The new iPhones may not have restored Touch ID, allowing you to unlock your phone with a fingerprint, but there is a workaround for unlocking your phone when you're wearing a face mask and Face ID won't work. Earlier this year, the iOS 14.5 update added the ability to unlock your phone with a face mask on if you were also wearing an Apple Watch.

iPhone iOS 14.5 watchOS 7.4 Unlock with Apple Watch

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

That's pretty convenient — unless you happen to be one of the unlucky iPhone 13 owners who discovered that the Apple Watch unlocking trick no longer works with your new phone. Apple confirmed as much with a note on its support page.

How to fix it: A software fix is now available. The iOS 15.0.1 software update promises bug fixes, specifically calling out the Apple Watch unlocking issue for iPhone 13 users. You'll also need to download the accompanying watchOS 8 update.

Some iPhone 13 models have an unresponsive touch screen

Several users say that the new iPhones aren't responding to taps. Specifically, it sometimes takes several taps for the iPhone to recognize your input. The problem flares up with Tap to Wake and on the lock screen as well as iOS-wide incidents. Upper corners of the screen seem to be most vulnerable to this issue.

iphone 13 mini display on in hand with plants in background

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

How to fix it: This sounds like a software update rather than a problem with the iPhone 13 hardware. In fact, some iPhone 12 users have also reported this problem after upgrading to iOS 15. That leads us to believe a fix is coming in a future iOS update.

iPhone 13 Pros automatically switch between wide and ultrawide cameras

This one's not so much a bug, but a feature. The iPhone 13 Pro models feature a new macro mode that uses the phone's 12MP ultrawide camera. Try to shoot an object that's within 5.5 inches of the lens, and the phone will shift from the main wide lens to the ultrawide shooter. Apple says this approach is better for capturing close-up details.

Not everyone agrees. Review Raymond Wong of Input says the switching messes with the framing of the shot, with the camera capturing a different frame from what appears on the view finder.

How to fix it: Apple says a future software update will allow iPhone 13 Pro owners to turn off this feature if they prefer that their phones not automatically switch to the ultrawide angle camera when taking macro shots.

Philip Michaels
Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics and old movies. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.
  • johnnyapollo
    Iphone 13 Pro Max Thought I'd share my experience thus far with the latest iPhone. I've been very happy with the iPhone X Max other than making the mistake of only getting 64K in memory - it's worked flawlessly and was a huge upgrade from my previous 7 Plus, I just kept getting low on memory due to the many apps, photos and videos I take. I rationalized upgrading because my old 7 plus, given to my wife was starting to get too far behind in version. Thus I preordered an unlocked phone directly from Apple (I use T-Mobile as the carrier).

    The phone arrived on Monday so I did a full encrypted backup (if you're going to update from a backup the encrypted mode saves most of your account settings and 3rd Party passwords) and started using the teleport app (you hold your old phone near the new and follow the prompts). Teleport worked flawlessly and everything was setup and working. One thing I noticed during setup, for some reason the phone thinks I have two lines - one for data and another for phone/primary, even though they are the same number.

    It was the next day, when trying to respond to a text that I found something remiss - I kept getting "not delivered" errors and then when the same person tried to call me it went directly into voicemail - that's when I discovered that calls weren't working (note that slack, messenger and other apps continued to work).

    I used my wife's phone to contact T-Mobile support - they were fantastic - much kudos to "Arvin your tech buddy" for walking me through various screens to troubleshoot. It immediately became apparent that my phone was configured differently that those he'd troubleshot previously - some of the menu options were in secondary settings screens. In any case, he was able to get my call options working - took about an hour, however the texts are still wonky. I can receive texts but can't reply or send. Also as part of this, Apple iMessage is disabled.

    Arvin escalated my issue to Tier 2/3 and I'm supposed to get an update when it's been fixed - yesterday received a call from him to confirm everything is working - nope still not working. He told me that I'd be notified once it was working by the team doing the troubleshooting.

    Anyway, that's been my experience thus far. I'm thinking I may have been sent some international version of the phone or something - I've heard that Apple is way back-ordered so I guess I'll just have to deal with it.
    Reply
  • Hale_JP
    "That leads us to believe a fix is coming in a future iOS update. "
    That mantra was haunting us from the times of Iphone4.
    iP4: The screen does not recognize swipe when vibro is active: you should believe a fix is coming in a future iOS update.
    iP5: The screen does not recognize swipe when vibro is active: you should believe a fix is coming in a future iOS update.
    iP6: The lighting connectors are sparking and burning out, preventing charging: please tell it to apple, it will soon be fixed/another cable replacement will be issued to you in a month (15th this time).
    iP8... all the same

    FORGET IT! If it is not fixed yet, IT WILL NEVER BE FIXED!
    Reply