Bugs & Fixes: iPhone screen repairs, revisited

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A few months ago, I wrote about a “dead strip” problem with the screen on an original iPhone. The matter was happily resolved after a visit to the Genius Bar at my local Apple Store.

More recently, I had an entirely different screen-related problem, this time with an iPhone 3G. Again, the ending was a happy one. The problem was a small white spot on the iPhone screen. The spot was definitely under the glass, not removable by any cleaning I could do.

At first, I thought the spot was the result of one or more dead pixels. However, the spot remained clearly visible even when the screen was off—not what I typically expect with dead pixels. In any case, none of the suggested home-brew remedies for a dead pixel (such as “massaging” the pixel) had any effect.

So it was off to the Apple Store again.

The Apple Genius looked at the iPhone for all of about one second and correctly diagnosed the problem: “Looks like dust under the glass.” He said the screen might have to be replaced if it turned out to be damaged. At a minimum, he would need to take off the glass cover so as to remove the apparent dust particle.

Would this require that I leave the iPhone at the store overnight? Nope. The Genius took the iPhone to the Store’s mysterious back room and, after about five minutes, returned with my iPhone—sans white spot. It was indeed dust. As the iPhone was less than a year old and still under warranty, there was no charge.

As to how dust got under the glass to begin with, the Genius was less certain. My home is not an especially dusty environment, and that is where my iPhone spends most of its time. Perhaps the seal between the screen and the glass was not as tight as it should have been. I don’t know. In any case, it’s fixed now.

My overall advice remains: For any suspected hardware defect with your Apple product—especially if the product is still under warranty—take it immediately to an Apple Store. Chances are good that you’ll get a free fix.

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