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The most common iPhone X problems, and how to fix them

The iPhone X, released in 2017, is differs drastically from all of its predecessors. It was the first iPhone to boast a stunning OLED screen, the first to use Face ID, and the first to ditch the iconic iPhone home button for an updated continuous screen appearance. Despite its veteran status as a five-year-old phone, its modern appearance and high quality have kept it in demand as an original phone, a second-hand buy, a hand-me-down, and a refurbished model.

Like any smartphone, there are always a few issues that crop up over time. We’ve compiled a list of common iPhone X problems and collected a series of fixes to make sure your iPhone X works perfectly.

Problem: Battery is draining too fast

With a five-year-old phone, you can’t expect battery life to be quite what it was. That said, suspiciously fast-draining batteries can indicate a problem, so if you are really struggling with battery life, it’s time to engage a few mitigating actions.

Possible solutions:

  • Update to the latest iOS — which is now iOS 15. Updates allow the phone’s software to use energy more efficiently, improving battery life. Ignoring updates can have the opposite effect. It’s a good idea to update all your installed apps, too.
  • Restart your iPhone entirely by holding the power button and a volume button at the same time until it powers down. This can fix some buggy processes that can sap your battery life.
  • Do a Factory Reset on your phone (after backing it up).
  • Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh. Turn this setting off, or turn off as many apps as you can. This cuts down on background activity and spares your battery.
  • Delete apps like Facebook and YouTube, and access them though mobile Safari.
  • Go to Settings > Battery, and switch on Low Power Mode. This is also a good place to take a look at your battery health, which contains useful information for diagnosing a faltering battery.

Problem: “This accessory is not optimized for this iPhone” error message

This error message may appear when you attach either an old or a new accessory, and typically has specific causes that are not necessarily related to product compatibility.

Possible solutions:

  • Clean your connectors. Observe the port at the bottom of your iPhone and make sure it is entirely clean. If there’s dust or gunk build-up, use an isopropyl alcohol solution and something soft, like a cotton swab or paintbrush, to very gently clean it out.
  • If the error message persists, take your iPhone into the Apple Store for repairs. There’s probably some corrosion that distorting the inner pins and how they fit — this is especially likely if you got your iPhone X wet.

Problem: Can’t update iOS

iOS 15 is the latest version of the iPhone operating system and every model of the iPhone X is compatible with iOS 15. When something goes wrong with the download, you should be able to fix it.

Possible solutions:

  • Check your storage. iOS 15 takes up 2.2GB of storage, and if your iPhone is packed with photos and files, there may not be enough room for it to install. You should see a notation when the iPhone does not have enough space to install an update. You can check storage by going to Settings >General > iPhone Storage.
  • Plug your iPhone into your charger and try again. Operating system installations generally need at least a 50% charge or direct connection to a power source.
  • Plug your phone into your computer and update the iOS via the Finder, if there’s insufficient room on your phone. With the MacOS as a helper, iOS may be able to access some reserved space.
  • Restart your iPhone to see if this clears up any other problems that might be getting in the way.

Problem: Performance slowdowns or stuttering

If you’ve owned the iPhone X since its launch in 2017, chances are you’ve encountered lag and slowdowns in performance over the years. This is to be expected. Users on Reddit and Apple support forums have described many instances of both issues.

Possible solutions:

  • When your battery health drops under 80%, iOS automatically turns on Peak Performance Capability, which optimizes or reduces power consumption in exchange for longer-lasting battery life. You can turn this feature off by going to Settings > Battery > Battery Health > Peak Performance Capability > Disable.
  • Check the phone’s memory and make sure it still has ample of storage space for needed operations.
  • Restart your phone.
  • Reset your iPhone via Settings > General > Reset.
  • Force quit apps that are using a disproportionate amount of power.
  • Replacing your battery altogether can also improve performance and make your phone feel like new again. This can be done on Apple’s website or by going to your local Apple Store.

Problem: Muffled speakers or poor audio quality

The iPhone X’s speakers provide excellent audio quality, but they’re still susceptible to debris and dust. Reddit users have been complaining their iPhone X speakers sound muffled or can only be heard when switched to landscape mode. Before you do anything, make sure your iPhone is not set to silent mode, and that you have turned up the volume (seriously).

Possible solutions:

  • Before you mess with the speaker, make sure your audio settings are balanced by going to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual and dragging the left-to-right stereo balance slider to the middle.
  • A dirty speaker may also be the culprit. Spray out any dust and loose particles in your speaker(s) with a compressed air duster. If you don’t have one, grab an unused toothbrush and brush out any excess material.
  • Switch off the Bluetooth device, as Bluetooth can cause audio problems or pick up other devices within range.
  • Clear the cache by going to Settings > iCloud > Manage Storage. Then Tap an item in the app list and slide unwanted items to the left and tap Delete. Or tap Delete Documents & Data to remove all the app’s data.
  • Set your phone to Recovery Mode.

Problem: Dropped calls

This is an issue that has a lot of potential causes, including your network and location. Nevertheless, there are some things you can try to reduce or eradicate dropped calls.

Possible solutions:

  • Some people have encountered call issues with VoLTE, so try turning it off. Go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Enable 4G, and switch to Data only to see if it makes any difference.
  • It’s worth trying a simple restart to reset your iPhone X by turning it off and on again or force restarting it.
  • There might be an issue with your network settings. Try going to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone and tap Reset, then test again.
  • Eject and reinstall the SIM card.
  • If you’re still having issues, then contact your carrier and ask them for advice.

Problem: Won’t charge, charging slowly, or wireless charging not working

Some users have experienced problems with iPhone X charging. Threads at the Apple support forum describe the iPhone X refusing to charge at all, slow charging, or wireless charging not working properly.

Possible solutions:

  • You want to make sure that the fault doesn’t lie with your charging cable, charger, or charging pad, so start by testing it with another device, or test your iPhone X with a different charger.
  • If you have a case on your iPhone X, remove it and test again to ensure that the case isn’t interfering with charging.
  • Try resetting your iPhone X by turning it off and on again or force restarting it. This can at least temporarily resolve charging issues.
  • If the problem persists, then contact Apple support.

Problem: GPS not working properly

There are multiple threads at the Apple support forums about GPS struggling to get an accurate fix, drifting around, or just not working.

Possible solutions:

  • Start in Settings > Privacy > Location Services and make sure that it’s toggled on and that any apps, like Google Maps, that require access to location data have it.
  • Open the App Store and check in your account section under Purchased to make sure that any apps you’ve been having issues with are fully up to date.
  • Check Settings > General > Software Update and make sure you have the latest iOS update.
  • Try toggling Airplane mode on and off again. You can do it via the airplane icon in Control Center or by going to Settings > Airplane Mode.
  • Go to Settings > General > Reset and choose Reset Location and Privacy.
  • If nothing so far has worked, then you could try a factory reset. Just make sure that you back up first.
  • Contact Apple support or head into an Apple Store as you might have a hardware problem.

Problem: Touchscreen not responding or ghost touches

A few iPhone X owners suffered from a touchscreen glitch that results in the screen reacting without being touched and sometimes in the screen not responding to touch properly. There are several threads at the Apple support forum about these issues, and Apple has acknowledged that some iPhone X displays “may experience touch issues due to a component that might fail on the display module.” While there are no longer free repairs on such an old phone, there are still ways to rectify the problem.

Possible solutions:

  • Clean off your touchscreen. To do that, first turn it off and unplug any cables. Then, find a soft, lint-free clothand dampen it with warm water. Start cleaning the touchscreen by wiping gently but firmly from one end to the other.
  • Remove your screen protector, if you have one installed. Screen protectors can disrupt the touchscreen operation to fix ghosting problems.
  • Remove and replace the case you’re using in case it’s messing with screen operations.
  • Restart or reset your phone.
  • Update to iOS 15.
  • Contact Apple support or head into an Apple Store and you should be able to get this issue fixed for free. Do not use any unauthorized repair shops.

Problem: Face ID not working properly

People have quickly gotten used to unlocking their iPhones with their faces, but it seems that Face ID does not perform perfectly for everyone. Face ID fails most often after a software update.

Possible solutions:

  • Make sure your environment is well-lit and don’t wear shades or a face mask.
  • Consider going into Settings > Face ID & Passcode and toggle Require Attention for Face ID off. But be aware that this makes it less secure.
  • Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode and tap Reset Face ID. Work through the steps to set it up again.
  • Look in Settings > General > Software Update and make sure you have the latest update.
  • If nothing has worked, then take your iPhone X into an Apple Store or to an authorized service provider and ask for a repair. Apple has some testing procedures in place for this problem and it might require a rear camera repair.

Problem: Screen freezing

We’ve seen a few reports at the Apple forums and the MacRumors forum about the iPhone X screen refusing to turn back on, refusing to turn off, or freezing up intermittently.

Possible solutions:

  • The first thing to try for a problem like this is a force restart. Press and quickly release the volume up button. Then press and quickly release the volume down button. Then press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until you see the Apple logo. Unfortunately, this might only be a temporary fix.
  • For a more permanent fix, try a factory reset, just make sure you back up first.
  • If there’s any visible damage, or you suspect physical damage from a drop or bump could be the cause, then contact Apple and take your iPhone into an Apple Store or authorized repair shop.

Problem: Screen burn-in

Shortly after the release of the iPhone X, Apple put out a statement about the OLED display used in the phone. The company noted that over time, “image persistence” or “burn-in” could appear. Burn-in occurs when a static image is left on the screen for a long time and gets burned into the display permanently. For example, if you leave your iPhone X screen on for quite a while sitting on the home screen, the icon of an app may get burned into the screen, so that you can see its faint outline when watching a video. OLED screens are often prone to the problem, but it’s not likely to affect most people.

Possible solutions:

  • Apple recommends you reduce the brightness on your phone. To reduce the brightness on your iPhone X, pull down on the right side of your screen to open the Control Center and adjust the brightness slider.
  • Turn on Auto-Lock. Since static images are much more likely to cause burn-in, you’ll want to make sure that your screen will turn off when you’re not using the phone. To turn on Screen-Lock, go to Settings > Displays & Brightness > Auto-Lock. Set your display to turn off after 30 or 60 seconds of inactivity.
  • Apple can’t issue a software update to fix the issue, but there are some tactics you can use to avoid screen burn-in on your iPhone X.

Problem: Not working in cold temperatures

Several users on Reddit have reported that the iPhone X stops working when they are out in cold temperatures. The problem typically only lasts a few seconds, though some have experienced a longer freeze-up. Some common-sense procedures can help.

Possible solutions:

  • Locking and unlocking the screen may fix the problem.
  • Stash the phone inside your pocket or keep it close to your body when outside in the cold.
  • Use a heavy-duty lined protective case.

Problem: Green line appearing on screen

According to an Apple Insider report, a handful of iPhone X users see a continuous vertical green line on one side of the screen — also referred to as the green line of death. The line doesn’t appear immediately after turning the phone on, but after being used for some time. Samsung, the iPhone X display manufacturer, had a similar problem with the Samsung Galaxy S7. This is a known hardware problem for which users are not at fault and for which there is no software fix. Luckily, it is not a widespread problem.

Possible solutions:

  • Apple has replaced defective devices in the past. If you are currently dealing with the green line problem, contact Apple online, or bring it to an Apple Store and hope for the best.
  • Apple forums have not had encouraging news about this, and the cost of replacing a screen out of warranty is astronomical.

Problem: Crackling speakers at high volume

Some users have noticed a crackling noise when they use their iPhone X’s speakers at a higher volume. Many of these reports were seen among Apple forums, Reddit, and in the MacRumors forum. This problem is not widespread.

Possible solutions:

  • Play your audio at lower levels.
  • Use another set of compatible wireless earbuds.
  • Update the iOS to the latest version, which is iOS 15.

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Hill
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Simon Hill is an experienced technology journalist and editor who loves all things tech. He is currently the Associate Mobile…
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