iPhone 15 Pro Max users are reporting burn-in problems with the OLED display

Several accounts of screen burn-in point to ongoing quality control issues with the latest, most expensive iPhone model.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
iPhone 15 Pro photo taken with iPhone 15 Pro Max in portrait mode
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

The news cycle continues with the latest iPhone 15 Pro lineup -- and for all the wrong reasons. Just a week ago, several user accounts suggested an ongoing overheating issue with Apple's flagship iPhones, as reported by ZDNET's Jason Hiner. Now, there's a new problem for the folks at Cupertino to solve: Display burn-in on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Also: iPhone 15 Pro overheating reports: Still too hot after iOS 17.0.3, plus new issues arise after update

Just weeks after the official release, multiple buyers have taken to Reddit, X (formerly Twitter), and Apple's community forum to report a ghosting effect on their iPhone 15 Pro Max devices.

The ghosting effect refers to burn-in, a longstanding display problem that dates back to CRT screens on retro monitors, where remnants of the user interface remain on-screen even after you've navigated away. In the iPhone users' cases, faded pixels of keyboards, home screen wallpapers, app icons, and other commonly used visuals remain static even when they shouldn't be.

This permanent discoloration has been prevalent on all OLED displays, not just the ones on iPhones, and is primarily caused by leaving a fixed image for an extended period of time. Cranking up the brightness of a device only makes matters worse, as the display gets warmer and further stimulates the screen burn. That's why you'll often see the visible marks on demo units in storefronts, which constantly play marketing content on a loop and at max brightness.

iPhone 15 Pro Max burn-in issue

The left-side image depicts the lock screen wallpaper burning into the OLED panel.

Gabriel Suchowolski

Here's the tricky part: unless every user has been leaving their iPhone 15 Pro Max on a static image for hours long, the reports of screen burn-in should not be as common as they've been. This points to a quality control problem with Apple's newest, most expensive iPhone model, and, possibly, a display panel that may almost be too bright for daily consumption. 

If you've experienced OLED burn-in on your iPhone 15 Pro Max, the best advice, for now, is to visit a local Apple Store and have a technician service it. Otherwise, be cautious of leaving an image on-screen for too long, especially when you're outdoors and the automatic brightness kicks in.

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