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iPhone X not responding in cold weather? Apple's issuing a fix!

iPhone Home screen
iPhone Home screen (Image credit: iMore)

Following a Reddit thread involving iPhone X owners who noted their displays were non-responsive in cold weather, Apple has sent out the following statement:

We are aware of instances where the iPhone X screen will become temporarily unresponsive to touch after a rapid change to a cold environment," an Apple spokesperson told iMore. "After several seconds the screen will become fully responsive again. This will be addressed in an upcoming software update.

I've been using my iPhone X during late-night walks in frigid Montreal weather all week and wasn't able to reproduce the issue. Not until I got out of my car into the sub-zero evening and my keyboard stopped responding for about 8-10 seconds. That's the only time I've experienced it so far, but others have reported it more frequently.

iPhone X not only has an all-new OLED display but an all-new touch layer that ramps up to 120 Hz whenever a finger lands on it. My guess is that there's a glitch in the algorithms Apple's using to handle the touch recognition that's manifesting during extreme temperature changes. And that's why it can be fixed via software update. Which is really convenient for everyone involved.

Updated November 10, 2017 with more information on the issue.

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Never an issue in Phoenix. ;-)
  • I just had this problem when I left work tonight. Temps were upper 20s F when I got outside. I figured my phone just needed a reboot. Thanks for the article Renee!
  • I definitely had the problem. It was almost impossible to type out a short text message in 40 deg weather (Fahrenheit)..
  • Excellent response from Apple in acknowledging and working on a fix. I do wish more phones would have the high sensitivity option that Nokia Lumias used to have whereby you could use the screen wearing gloves though.
  • You can get gloves that work with touchscreens :)
  • You can, but with Nokia's solution you didn't have to.
  • If it's unique to Nokia, it's probably patented, which would be a shame
  • Since when has that stopped manufacturers from including features in their handsets?
  • It all depends on what the feature is. But unless you can find this feature on any other handset than a Nokia, then it's very unlikely that it will come to the iPhone
  • Rene said theres no problem so then THERES NO PROBLEM because when the King of the Apple Shills says its you fault it doesn't work in the cold not Apple's, don't you dare disagree. Rene Ritchie = Pathetic Apple Shill
  • In this instance Rene didn't assume his normal stance and put the issue down to his favourite buzzword of it being FUD, he actually acknowledged the problem but said he was unable to replicate it.
  • Indeed, plus if Apple is issuing a fix then it obviously is a problem. Credit to Rene for actually trying to replicate the issue
  • At 41° F your fingers are numb? And you live in Montreal? It's 7° F here. My Note 8 screen is fine and so are my fingers. To all those who are having this issue, you're touching it wrong.
  • You’re touching it wrong, I see what you did there lol, Steve would have been proud. I was actually wondering what was going on when I was at work in the cold starting all the frozen cars outside, and my right thumb started being unresponsive. I just thought it was my finger being cold, I never thought it was the screen. I just didn’t use my phone until I got inside and it seemed to work fine. Good to know it’s an actual issue though, and that it is being addressed.
  • I can consistently reproduce this issue by just going outside. It's been around 35 f here and if I have to send a text while outdoors it's difficult or impossible to do it.
  • I did not realize this had a 120Hz refresh rate. The blogosphere was going ape%#it over the New Razer having 120Hz. Feeling good about the X!
  • Feel less good, it hasn't got a 120Hz screen refresh rate like the Razer Phone. What the iPhone X does have is a 120Hz touch sampling rate which is something quite different.
  • Hope that Apple resolves this issue for the iPhone X users.