Common iPhone 11 problems and how to fix them


While the attention of most Apple observers and iPhone users has been riveted on the newly released and upcoming iPhone 12 series, customers who bought and still own the iPhone 11 have been looking forward to wrapping up the issues that made last year’s new phone experience somewhat less than perfect. For owners of Apple’s 2019 iPhone 11iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max, the biggest problems were linked to Apple’s iOS 13. Thankfully, none of those operating system issues rose to a major level, though they did cause some head-scratching and anxiety. With the much smoother release of iOS 14, most of the pressing issues seemed to fade away.

New hardware and software released at roughly the same time make it harder to decipher where the problems originate. There were so many reported issues with iOS 13 that Apple released a series of updates to respond to them, hoping those fixes mitigated any issues with the hardware. Here are a few of the iPhone 11 problems we discovered around all three versions of the handset so far, and some tips on how to fix them.

Problem: Display issues

Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are among the iPhones affected by a display problem. One customer on the MacRumors site described it thusly: “About 25% of the time when I unlock my launch day iPhone 11 Pro the screen looks all washed out with a green tint. After about 3 seconds it flashes back to normal. Anyone ever have this happen or know if this is a problem on iPhone 11s? I should probably do a restore/set up as new but I’m trying to avoid that if possible.” The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max models are reported for this issue most often, and the phones’ OLED display may be responsible.

Possible solution:

Observers have noted that installing iOS 14 could fix the issue. However, while this could be a persistent software problem, many customers noticed that screenshots derived from the green-tinted glass showed no tint, which suggests it is a hardware issue. Apple has acknowledged the problem and approved display replacements under warranty under some circumstances.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Problem: Wireless charging

Issues with dysfunctional wireless charging are fairly widespread. Some customers with Qi wireless chargers report that after they place certain iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max models on the charger, the iPhone may recognize it as a charger, but will not actually charge, and may even become hot to the touch. One Apple discussion thread states: “Pro Max won’t charge wirelessly on 2 different chargers. Both chargers work fine with my old XS Max. Tried turning off Optimized Battery Charging, to no effect. Will only charge using the cable.” Some iPhone 11 owners said this bug first surfaced after installing various iterations of iOS 13, which may shift the blame to the software.

Possible solution:

Regardless of its origin, if this is still an issue, you can continue to charge your phone with a wired connection. Make sure to update your iPhone’s OS with the quite stable iOS 14, for starters. Mechanical maneuvers include a power-off reset/restart, which did solve the issue for some people.

  • Press and release volume up.
  • Press and release volume down.
  • Hold the power button and wait until the Apple logo appears.
Corey Gaskin / Digital Trends

Problem: Activation issues

Activation issues are common when you try to get a new phone up and running for the first time, regardless of the model, and the iPhone 11 was no different.

Possible solutions:

If you’re having problems activating the iPhone 11, first make sure that all systems are up and running by checking Apple’s System Status page. If something is not toggled on green, wait until all systems are running and try again. If it’s green and still not operative, make sure your phone has a SIM card inserted. If you can switch the SIM card from your old phone into your new one, try that first. If you get a No SIM or Invalid SIM error message, Apple suggests the following steps.

  • Make sure your wireless plan is operational.
  • Update your handset to the latest iOS version and restart.
  • Go to Settings > General > About. If an update is available, you’ll see a prompt to select OK or Update, and then update.
  • Remove your SIM card from the tray and then put it back. The tray should close securely. Only use the tray that comes with your current phone.
  • Try a different SIM card. You can get one at your carrier’s retail outlet or ask your carrier to test your phone with a different card. Replace your current SIM card with a new one, if necessary.

Problem: Volume, audio, and sound issues

If you find there are problems with any aspect of audio function there are various remedies you can try.

Possible solutions:

  • Take your SIM card out of your phone and then replace it to solve the problem of a poorly positioned card.
  • Turn off Bluetooth to compare audio quality with or without it. If it improves, leave it off for your calls.
  • Make sure your microphone is clean, clear, and unobstructed.
  • If the above steps do not improve the audio, clear your phone’s cache memory by restarting it.
  • Do a hard factory reset via Settings > General > Reset. Be sure to back up your data first.
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Problem: Overheating

There are multiple reports of various iPhone 11 units getting uncomfortably hot and concerns about the effect on the long term battery life of their new handset. Among the heat-related issues was this comment: “I received my iPhone 11 Pro on Friday and notice my phone getting hot while using GPS on Saturday and then again on Monday. It was uncomfortably hot and to hold. I took it to Apple Monday evening and they informed me that as long as the phone doesn’t shut down or give the too hot alert then it is fine. I still think something is wrong and I will keep a close eye on this.”

Possible solutions:

Here are some general tips to cool down a hot phone. If you feel that the phone always gets too hot too fast, take it to your nearest Apple Store or contact tech support.

  • Remove the case.
  • Don’t leave your handset in a car or exposed for long periods of time in hot weather.
  • Games, especially AR games, can cause the device to heat up.
  • Maintain radio silence by putting the phone into Airplane Mode for awhile. In the Control Center tap the Airplane icon to shut off all GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular signals. Or individually disable Location Services, GPS, or Bluetooth, anything you don’t immediately need.
  • Wait to charge the device as that can also heat up your phone.
  • Turn the iPhone off and do a hard restart. (Hit the volume up button, then volume down button, then the power button. It will not ask if you want to power down, it just does it.)

Complaints about overheating have continued throughout the year, with the last ones appearing in October 2020. Anyone who has this problem today should contact Apple Support directly.

Problem: Bluetooth connection issues

Various iPhone 11 users report problems connecting their peripherals via Bluetooth. The problems include connecting, connecting in the car, and holding a connection after initially connecting. According to one user, “New iPhone 11 on iOS 13 is having Bluetooth connectivity issues. … The problem isn’t connecting. The problem is holding the connection. … I’m also having connectivity issues in my car. It will connect for 5 mins or more then automatically disconnect and reconnect. It’s really annoying. I didn’t have problems before with my iPhone 6 Plus. … Just updated to iOS 13.1 but still have this Bluetooth issue, which is really annoying!!!”

Possible solutions:

Apple suggests various steps you can try before contacting tech support. Make sure to update your iOS to the latest released version. Installing iOS 14 is a good idea.

  • On your device, go to Settings > Bluetooth and make sure that Bluetooth is on. If it’s disabled and you cannot enable it, restart your iOS device. Then try again to pair and connect.
  • Make sure that your Bluetooth accessory and device are in close proximity.
  • Turn your Bluetooth accessory off and on.
  • Make sure that your Bluetooth accessory is on and fully charged or connected to power. If your accessory uses batteries, try replacing them with fresh ones. If you were able to connect previously, unpair the accessory and put it back in discovery mode, then try again to pair and connect.
  • If you can pair your accessory with other devices but not your iOS device, unpair the accessory from the other devices and try again.
  • If none of the above steps work, contact Apple tech support or make an appointment with the Genius Bar.

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