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 11, iPhone 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: Touchscreen failure

Apple has reported that iPhone 11 models made between November 2019 and May 2020 may have a problem with the touchscreen malfunctioning. While the display may be unchanged, this malfunction causes the touchscreen capabilities to completely fail.

Possible solution:

Head to Apple’s webpage for the iPhone 11 Display Module Replacement Program. Here, enter the serial number of your iPhone and Apple will tell you if you qualify for replacement and walk you through the next steps for sending your iPhone 11 in. Remember to back up all your data on iCloud by plugging your iPhone 11 into your computer before doing this.

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

A common complaint with various iPhone 11 units is that they’re getting uncomfortably hot, concerning users 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 noticed 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:

These suggestions will help you safely cool down a hot phone. If your phone regularly gets too hot too fast, take it to your nearest Apple Store or contact tech support.

  • Take the case off.
  • Keep your handset away from prolonged heat exposure (in a hot car, for example).
  • Games, especially AR games, can cause the device to heat up.
  • Maintain radio silence by putting the phone into Airplane Mode for a while. 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.)

iPhone users faced issues with overheating throughout the year, with some of the most recent complaints popping up in October 2020. If you’re experiencing this issue still today, reach out to Apple Support for assistance.

Problem: Bluetooth connection issues

Several iPhone 11 owners have noted problems connecting their peripherals via Bluetooth. Those issues can include anything from trouble pairing their phone to the car to maintaining a connection after the device has finally paired. One user wrote, “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.” All of this to say, if you’re also struggling to keep your device connected via Bluetooth, you’re not alone.

Possible solutions:

Before calling Apple Support, the company has offered a couple of solutions to try out on your own. Before testing any of these suggestions, try ensuring that your iOS has been updated to the latest version available. We recommend making sure iOS 14 is installed.

  • From your device, go to Settings > Bluetooth and make sure that Bluetooth is on. If it’s disabled and you can’t 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, replace them with fresh ones. If you’ve been able to connect in the past, unpair the accessory and put it back in discovery mode. Then try again to pair and connect.
  • If you can pair your accessory with devices other than 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.

Problem: Poor battery life

iPhone 11 models have experienced a few different battery problems over the past years. The iPhone 11 Pro Max, for example, has been associated with a certain amount of battery complaints as uses encountered premature battery wear. In 2021, a bug affecting only iPhone 11 models has also led to inaccurate battery reports on iOS and related problems. Fortunately, there are solutions to try.

Possible solutions:

Always go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health if you fear a battery issue. Here you can check out the current condition of your battery and see if there are any obvious issues. If you are experiencing significant battery loss, it’s a good idea to take/send your iPhone in for professional repair or replacement.

If you are getting battery reporting errors related to iOS 14, make sure you download iOS 14.5. This version includes a fix where iOS will attempt to recalibrate the battery reporting function — check in the Battery Health section to enable this recalibration. It will take time — the function needs a few weeks to properly measure and recalibrate the battery system. In some cases, the recalibration will find the battery is permanently damaged, and will walk you through the steps for a full replacement.

Problem: Storage space issues

The iPhone 11 can have up to 256GB of storage, but if you save a lot of files and apps to your phone then even this can become limiting. Fortunately, there are built-in ways to deal with low storage space fast.

Possible solutions:

Head over to Settings > General > iPhone Storage. Here you will see several options you can enable to clear up storage space both now and in the future. First, enable Offload Unused Apps to get rid of apps that have been inactive for a while. Second, if you text a lot through iMessage, enable Auto Delete Old Conversations.

You will also want to go through each app and spot the ones that are taking up the most storage. If you find an egregious offender, select it and view options for clearing space. For the Music app, for example, you can choose to auto-delete any songs you previously downloaded for offline listening, which can really add up over time.

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