Despite what you’ve maybe read, Apple — true story — ain’t perfect. Far from it. Even its fanciest and most expensive phone of all time, the iPhone X, is already getting a decent share of flak from its first buyers (especially those in, uh, inclement weather).
But nothing we’ve seen from the iPhone X so far can compare to the major screwups we’ve seen from Apple in the past. From the infamous “bendgate” to the recent iOS 11 keyboard glitch, there have been some relatively impressive fails Apple would probably prefer everyone just forgot about.
Unfortunately for them, we’re not going to let you do that. These are the ten most embarrassing Apple fails of all time, in order from least to most worthy of a facepalm.
PROBLEM: Screens were yellow.
SOLUTION: Uh, not much of one.
The iPhone 4S was groundbreaking in many ways, but apparently its display had a slew of problems.
In the middle of October, 2011, a Reddit user reported a “yellow tint” on his iPhone 4S screen.
This was more than an issue of screen coloration, though: Some users claimed that the colors were washed out, and difficult to distinguish at certain viewing angles.
We don’t know all that much about this one incident, and reports weren’t all that widespread. In fact, to our knowledge, Apple never did much about Yellowgate. People eventually…got used to it, and stopped talking about it. If only all of life’s problems were so easily solved.
9. Apple Music
PROBLEM: The app sucked. It didn’t work. It erased people’s music. And people didn’t use it.
SOLUTION: A bunch of updates that people…didn’t use.
Seriously, does anyone use Apple Music?
If you do, you’re pretty loyal. About three months after the music streaming platform’s release, a report showed that 48% of users who had initially signed up were no longer using it.
In other words, Apple Music’s rollout had serious problems. Apple’s pre-rollout ads for the service were incredibly vague, and nobody really knew what it was or, more importantly, how it was different from iTunes.
Marketing aside, early versions of the app just didn’t hold up. Nobody used Connect, which was supposed to be its social component. Users consistently experienced glitches in playlists and downloads. Oh, and someone’s entire music collection disappeared from their hard drive. So there’s also that.
8. The Face ID Fail
PROBLEM: When rolling out the iPhone X, its big feature, Face ID, didn’t work on stage.
SOLUTION: A backup iPhone X.
This was cringe-worthy. At Apple’s keynote in September, the company’s senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi attempted to demonstrate the iPhone X’s Face ID to the crowd — and he failed spectacularly.
“Unlocking it is as easy as looking at it and swiping up,” Federighi said of the iPhone X. When he glanced at the phone, it promptly failed to recognize his face, and asked for a passcode.
Federighi quickly picked up a backup phone, which worked just fine. And in fairness, it turns out Face ID was doing exactly what it was supposed to do. Many people who weren’t Federighi had been handling the device before the event, so the phone had tried and failed to unlock many times. This disabled Face ID, and meant Federighi was required to enter a passcode.
Still, this incident certainly could have been avoided, and because it wasn’t, we all spent a month being way more worried about Face ID than we needed to be.
7. iOS 11 Keyboard Fail
PROBLEM: The letter “I” isn’t working.
SOLUTION: An iOS update, or a cumbersome settings hack.
This one’s still at large: Some iPhones have up and stopped typing the letter “I”.
Following the most recent iOS11 upgrade, some iPhones have decided to autocorrect the letter “I” to an “A” and a strange question mark in a box, so if you’ve gotten any texts recently that look like they’re from aliens, you’re not alone.
This problem has been fixed in the latest iOS update. If you don’t feel like updating, you can go into Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement and tap the plus sign. Type “I” in Phrase and “i” in Shortcut.
PROBLEM: Touching the iPhone 4 disrupted its signal. Because they put the antennae where you hold the phone.
SOLUTION: The company spent $175M to provide users with plastic “bumpers” for the phone. Fun!
The antenna, the instrument that allows your iPhone to make and receive phone calls, is usually inside your phone. For the iPhone 4, Apple decided to wrap the antennae around the phone instead.
However, people found that their hands touching the antennae interfered with their phones’ signal. Specifically, holding your finger over the area where the two antennae touched could cause the phone to completely lose signal, dropping whatever call you were on as a consequence.
Apple certainly got its due, though. The company ended up providing free “bumper” cases, at an estimated value of $175 million.
And thankfully, it’s worked out the kinks. Virtually all iPhones since the iPhone 4 have had external antenna parts, but the connection problems are no longer.
PROBLEM: The iPhone 6 was bending in people’s pockets.
SOLUTION: Enjoy your bent phone, or get looser pockets.
In 2014, the iPhone 6 literally bent in people’s pockets.
Rumors of the phone’s bendable tendencies began with a user of the MacRumors forum, who posted a picture of an iPhone that was distinctly curved after having sat in his front pocket for a significant period of time. The reports piled up from there, across Twitter, international Apple forums, and more.
Intrepid users, of course, took to Youtube to attempt to bend their phones with their bare hands, with varying levels of success.
The bending wasn’t necessarily a surprise: the iPhone 6 was the widest and thinnest iPhone at the time. And consumers have reported iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 frames as well. Still, it can’t be a good sign.
Luckily, we haven’t heard any rumors of a bent iPhone X…yet.
4. The Bulge
PROBLEM: iPhone 8s and 8 Pluses were bulging and splitting open.
SOLUTION: Apple’s, uh, still looking into it.
In September, following the apparently less-than-eagerly-awaited release of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, several owners of the latter reported their phones swelling and splitting open. The bulge, it turns out, was due to the batteries’ swelling.
Thankfully, they’re not exploding, so we don’t have another Samsung Galaxy Note 7 on our hands, but reports say the battery swelling caused the iPhones’ front screens to detach from the rest of their bodies. Needless to say, it rendered the phones useless.
Apple has stated that it’s looking into the problem, but has issued no explanation or recall. That said, we’re not too worried, because it doesn’t seem like many people are buying these things anyway.
3. The Hindenbook
PROBLEM: An Apple laptop that is destined to make you hate it. Or burn down your house.
SOLUTION: Apple released new laptops that didn’t do that.
No, that’s not a typo. Apple’s PowerBook 5300 was so awful that people actually compared it to a fiery, fatal disaster.
Apple’s first generation of PowerBook laptops was released in 1995, during what was famously Apple’s darkest period. The company was under the leadership of Michael Spindler with Steve Jobs nowhere in sight, engaged in dismal takeover discussions with companies such as IBM, and in the midst of producing such failed products as Copland and eWorld. (Never heard of them? Exactly.)
But these PowerBooks were horrible even by 1995-Apple’s standards. Two units burst into flames on the assembly line after the batteries overheated.
And that’s not all. The product’s AC adapter was also prone to breaking, making it impossible to charge or turn on the computer. The hinge that connected the computer to the screen kept crumbling, leading flecks of grey plastic to be known as “PowerBook droppings.” And because of its faulty cache design, the PowerBook 5300 was incredibly slow. Apple, you done goofed.
2. Apple Maps
PROBLEM: Apple Maps had a few bugs, and had to be corrected…a few times.
SOLUTION: 2.5 million corrections.
Yeah, you knew this one was coming. Apple Maps, upon its release, was bad. It was so bad, in fact, that the company corrected its bug-ridden Maps app over 2.5 million times in response to user feedback.
Early versions of the app app featured a number of other hilarious glitches too, including a very flat view of the Eiffel Tower, a half-black-and-white city, several completely blank areas, and a couple very bendy bridges.
The rollout was so embarrassingly bad that Tim Cook publicly apologized to users, and recommended that they download alternative apps — including Google Maps.
1. Apple III
PROBLEM: It didn’t work. On every possible level.
SOLUTION: Every single unit sold was recalled.
The Apple III, released in 1980, almost destroyed Apple. It had a 100% failure rate — that is, every single product sold had to be repaired.
The computer overheated so much that chips literally melted in their sockets. The screen also displayed garbled, unreadable text.
Steve Jobs told Playboythat Apple lost “infinite, incalculable amounts of money” on the Apple III. And according to ex-product manager Taylor Pohlman, almost everyone who worked on the Apple III left the company out of embarrassment.
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