My White iPhone Is Cracked, But Not In A Good Way

Reader Zach says that he heard that white iPhones were cracking, but he got one anyway because there was a longer wait for the black ones. When he got home, he noticed two small cracks in the back of the phone.

I drove up to Nashua, NH from my house on Saturday to order an iPhone at the AT&T store up there. I order a white one because it comes in quicker and my wife really wanted my first generation iPhone so that’s what I did. Read about the cracks on Mac Rumors forum and when I was told to come pick it up yesterday I was going to check it out for cracks. I do in the normal spots and a quick one over on the entire thing. Seemed to be good. But as soon as I drive an hour home again I find 2 damned cracks on the bottom corner.

I call Apple (1-800MYIPHONE, how is it one extra number?) they say to bring it back to an Apple Store and they should replace it on the spot. I hate driving alllll over the place for this damn thing. Oh ya other than have the 16GB rather than my old 8GB there isnt anything worth the new phone.

We checked out the MacRumors forum and sure enough there were a few people complaining about tiny cracks appearing on their iPhones. As one forum poster said,

“Aww.. I wish I’d never seen this story. Now I’ve noticed cracks all over my nice new white 16GB. No less than four!”

Yikes. Maybe the black one is worth the wait?

3G Cracks in Plastic Housing [MacForums]


Edit Your Comment

  1. It’s buckling under the weight of it’s own extravagance.

  2. snoop-blog says:

    Back in black! And leave it to the white one to be a cracker!

  3. HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

    The black ones are likely getting hairline cracks too… they’re just not as noticeable.

    iPhone owners, check your phones.

  4. mcjake says:

    You are complaining because they said they would change it out on the spot? Seriously?

  5. chas7926 says:

    I am willing to bet the black one is doing the same thing. The only difference in the two phones is the color of the paint on the inside of the back casing. It is just harder to notice on a black phone than on a white phone.

  6. I wonder if they black ones are cracking too, and its just not as noticeable.

  7. jamesdenver says:

    quoute: call Apple (1-800MYIPHONE, how is it one extra number?)

    Seriously? Tons of companies do this. Its easier to remember, and doesn’t matter as it connects after the last number needed.

  8. JN2 says:

    I’d not want any cracks in my iPhone, viruses might get in! or Nicole Ritchie!


  9. Puck says:


  10. tande04 says:

    Yep the black ones are doing it too. You just don’t notice as much because its black. The tech sites that have been “covering” it have shots of people showing the cracks under black lights on the black ones as well.

  11. snoop-blog says:

    @Puck: WIN!

  12. You know I am not the usually Fanboi Basher … mostly I stay off those bandwagons, however …

    I knew it was a faulty product, but I bought one anyway …


  13. Sorry … I think my last comment violates the posters code … please delete them if needed I just don’t see how this is a valid consumer complaint.

    The individual knew that the white (and according to people above ALL) Iphones are cracking. They were offered a replacement at the store. Seems to me Apples keeping their end up quite well. He could have been asked to wait for an RMA box … ship it in … wait 2-4 weeks … get it back … notice it’s still cracked … rinse repeat.

  14. JerkStore says:

    Had the white one.

    Saw a crack on Tuesday night, found out about the rampant cracking Tuesday AM.

    Had a brand new Black 16GB in hand by afternoon.

    Lets hope it stays with the whites.

  15. Nogard13 says:

    They’re not cracked, they’re hatching new iPhones!

  16. The plastic used for the iPhone 3G’s back casing is extremely hard, which would seem to make it brittle as well. (So hard, in fact, that I’ve heard there were problems with the milling tools breaking.)

  17. logicalnoise says:

    the black oes get cracks too. Engadget confirmed with a black light that their black iphone had a crack near the head phone jack.

  18. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    @TakingItSeriously: Your comment is inappropriate and juvenile. Read the comment code: blaming the victim for buying a product from a company you don’t approve of is not allowed.

  19. People, they’re not cracking, their hatching. This is the 3G phone. Third Generation. Place them in a warm place, and in a few weeks, you’ll have a 4G.

  20. tande04 says:

    What kind of plastic does apple use that constantly seems to do this? Cubes, mac book, nanos, and now iPhones.

    Maybe they should of noticed the trend and I don’t know, picked a different kind of plastic.

  21. wattznext says:

    @jamesdenver: just call 1-800 i love brand new carpteting

  22. zjmuse says:

    I didn’t know it was a faulty product when I bought it. I ordered it on Saturday, found out about it on Wednesday, got an email Wednesday afternoon that it was in. Nothing I could do about finding out after I ordered it that they were cracking.

  23. Kajj says:

    One of the things I don’t like about Apple products is that they always need to wear little outfits to protect them from the elements. If I spend $400 on an iPod I don’t want to shell out another 30 to buy it a sweater.

    Apple makes products they know people will be carrying everywhere, so you’d think they’d consider designing cases that could at least survive the ravages of your average American pocket.

  24. coren says:

    The phone only cares about the seven digit number from the 800 area code -anything after that, but before any automated system picks up is just gravy.

    So once again, that number is 1800MYIPHON

  25. RockStarr says:

    Same happened to my (second) White 16GB Iphone. My first one being the silent switch being improperly put on and having to practically force it back and fourth. My third replacement now had weird condensation-like smudges underneath the glass. I am seriously thinking of returning my whole plan to at&t and my phone and just eat the restocking fees. Since i am still within 30 days.

  26. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @Puck: You sir, win the internets!

  27. TheKingBoar says:

    Despite the cracking on the black phones as well, I’m willing to bet quite a bit of money that it’s more prevalent on the white iPhones. If Apple is actually making white plastic (or buying it) rather than painting it white, that is the problem. To actually make white plastic, you have to add a couple fillers. These fillers reduce the tensile strength of the plastic, thus the cracks.

    As a general rule of thumb, stay away from devices with white plastic that you’ll be moving a lot. Things like the Wii that you don’t move are fine, but for phones, go with a different color, preferable black if you’re looking for toughness.

  28. chauncy that billups says:

    I guess when Jobs was pimping that the 3g had an “all plastic back”, he wasn’t anticipating this problem. I remember watching that and thinking, “he can make ANYTHING a selling point – even production with cheaper materials.”

  29. Yeah, I read about this over at Engadget yesterday or the day before. Practically everyone on there with a new iPhone is experiencing this problem (especially around the headphone jack), including those with black models.

  30. BeastMD says:

    Shoulda kept them metal. The fact that they are plastic is one of the things that is keeping me from buying.

  31. SBR249 says:

    @tande04: Apple might be using acrylic plastic. I seem to recall that acrylates can be made into very hard shells. I believe acrylates are also used as Plexiglas.

    Anyway, maybe this cracking business is a new feature Apple built in to the iPhone to silence all those complaints about non-userchangeable batteries. After a normal period of usage, there’ll be enough cracks so that the back comes off and the user can just switch a new battery in and the old (read: dying) battery out. Ingenious! :)

  32. captadam says:

    Plastic crap!

  33. mdoublej says:

    Not that they should be cracking, but aren’t most cellphones made from mostly plastic? I’ve never had one that was all-metal.

  34. TheKingBoar says:

    @mdoublej: Most are, but most aren’t made from white plastic, which is inherently weaker than other colors because of the fillers they use to get the white color.

  35. mdoublej says:


    That’s good to know, I wanted a white one, but I guess i’ll get the black.

  36. Donathius says:

    I wonder if it has something to do with heat inside the phone. If it’s this hard acrylic plastic other commenters seem to think it is then I’d bet that it’s fairly unhappy when it heats up. Maybe the metal back was a better idea just for heat dissipation?

  37. tande04 says:

    @TheKingBoar: Except for the fact that people with black iphones are reporting the same kind of cracks in the same kind of places. Its just easier to see a black crack against white plastic then a black crack against black plastic.

    I’m not questioning your knowledge of how plastic is made ’cause I don’t know jack about the process but from what I’ve read it doesn’t seem to be happening anymore often in white then black. Every blog post I’ve read on the matter has had people comment back that their black one is doing the same thing, they just didn’t notice ’til they really looked at it.

    I’d say rather then just avoiding white at this point, wait until apple addresses the issue like they have with their other products that did the same thing in the past. Then you can get white, black, red (yeah there is a red one coming) and not worry as much about it.

  38. golfinggiraffe says:

    @mcjake: He’s complaining because it shouldn’t have cracked in the first place, which resulted in him having to drive back to the store.

  39. rolla says:

    the black one is probably cracking too…you just cant see it

  40. unpolloloco says:

    So….Apple offers to immediately replace a phone that was cracked out of the box, no questions asked, and OP is complaining (and with near-unreadable grammar)?

    FYI, 1-800-MYIPHONESUCKS or 1-800-MYIPHONEISAWESOME will both get you to the same place. Any extra numbers are truncated.

  41. litlchamp says:

    after reading about the black ones cracking near the headphone jack I checked under heavy light and noticed a small crack running from the headphone jack to the chrome bezel on my 16gb. Not rushing back to the store for a new one but curious to see what Apple will do about this if it starts to become universal.

  42. TheKingBoar says:

    @tande04: I work in the testing department for one of the Big 4 cellular companies. My job is to test cellphones. Trust me, white plastic is weaker. However, if you had actually read my post, you would see that the first thing I did was acknowledge the problems with the black plastic as well. I’m just saying that given standard manufacturing processes (and who knows with Apple, they tend to swing their own way), white is weaker. It could be that Apple decided to cut a corner on the plastic for the black as well, but black plastic is almost always the best choice because it has fewer fillers. My advice isn’t to stay away from white iPhones in general, its to stay away from anything made with white plastic that you will be bumping around in your pocket.

  43. @Puck: I loled.

  44. mike says:

    Darn, mine is cracking too…Had to hold it up to a flashlight.

    If you didn’t know, the black is kinda translucent. When I put a bright light to it, I can see the inside…slightly.

  45. mike says:

    I think the black iphones look cooler, IMHO. White makes the dirt look dirtier.

  46. PDX909 says:

    Looks like a stress crack. Not caused by usage but more by the inherent stresses in the plastic part caused by the molding process itself. I don’t imagine it will make a lot of difference what color the products are, those cracks will appear regardless. The parts either need to be annealed after production or the mold tool needs to be changed to prevent stress concentrators.

  47. zjmuse says:


    i am not complaining about them replacing it, i am just saying that I drove around to get this (my choice, i know) but just sucks that its a day old and these things are cracking. I am just waiting for someone to come out with a replacement brushed aluminum back and ill buy it. reception doesn’t really seem to be all that improved.

  48. unpolloloco says:

    White vs. black plastic is only a factor in the strength of some plastics and plastics made with some processing methods. Many plastics are inherently white, few are inherently black fyi.

  49. stupidjerk says:

    @mcjake: i didn’t see any complaint about the customer service, did you?

    this is an issue of wanting the precious iphone to be free from defects within 2 hours of owning the product…and not having to drive another 2 hours round trip to have it replaced with another one that will probably crack in his pocket on the way home.

    customer service can’t compensate for a poor quality product

  50. Hawk07 says:

    The only thing worse than finding cracks on your new phone is having to fight the store tooth and nail that it wasn’t “user abuse” or some other cop-out excuse as to why the cracks got there.

    Yeah, it sucks having to drive back to get it all fixed up, but at least they’re willing to work with you.

  51. yagisencho says:

    The initial run of the white Nintendo DS Lite handhelds had the same issue. Good thing Apple’s profit margin is so high, or this might have caused a fiscal problem.

  52. OMG! Ponies! says:

    Cracks are cosmetic damage and are specifically disclaimed. If you have a white iPhone with cracks, you’re out of luck and at Apple’s mercy.

  53. OMG! Ponies! says:

    “This warranty does not apply: (a) to consumable parts, Such as batteries, unless damage has occurred due to a defect in materials or workmanship; (b) to cosmetic damage, including but not limited to scratches, dents, and broken plastic on ports; (c) to damage caused by use with non-Apple products; (d) to damage caused by accident, abuse, misuse, flood, fire, earthquake or other external causes; (e) to damage caused by operating the product outside the permitted or intended uses described by Apple; (f) to damage caused by service (including upgrades and expansions) performed by anyone who is not a representative of Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (“AASP”); (g) to a product or part that has been modified to alter functionality or capability without the written permission of Apple; or (h) if any Apple serial number has been removed or defaced.”

    Translation: Apple doesn’t care about white iPhones.

  54. BadBadKitty says:

    I thought i was lucky after my first examination of my phone i just bought Monday , but sitting by the window i can see not one but dozens of tiny cracks along the bezel area and my dock/plug has a big chunk missing :(
    If i take it back i will just get another thats the same , so should i wait for a solution or recall or get while the getting is good ?

  55. ibored says:

    @TheKingBoar…the color of the plastic is not the issue here (althought you are correct in some, but not all, cases that black plastic is stronger).

    As for you guys blaming this guy for comlpaining: They shouldn’t be selling a product that cracks. Hes complaining because replacing it is a hastle. Maybe hes busy, maybe hes got better thigns to do than make a fanboy trip to the apple store. If you have sold a product that is regularly cracking (note all the comments here and else where) you shouldn’t get happy points for fixing it… shoulda been right in the first place for the amoutn of money this thing costs. They switched from Metal and are paying the price. Thin plastic with corners like this is almost inevitably going to crack as it flexes over and over again from being held and used. Plastic fatigues quite easily. Apple needs to hire more engineers and fewer art design folks.

  56. Pro-Pain says:

    I can’t help but find this whole situation utterly hilarious. You would think that Apple would, at the very least, use quality materials to build their overpriced products. A new Iphone cracking like that with minimal use/abuse is 100% unacceptable. I’m sorry to all who bought one and now much already return it. I ALMOST fell into that trap, but still have remained Apple free after all these years. Go me.

  57. 2719 says:

    It just shows Apple charges premium while cutting costs everywhere they can. I am sure Apple will take care of this just like they took care of iMac lines.

    Oh wait, they didn’t!

  58. lasciate says:

    Take it to a genius bar at an Apple Store and they’ll replace it.

  59. gspdark1 says:

    Good God! Glad I was one of the oddballs that got a new phone OTHER THAN AN IPHONE on release day!!

    All this for a phone that really isn’t that great for it’s meant for, which is actual phoning?

  60. Rock79 says:

    Aaaand black light sales are up this week!!!!!1!one