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Summary:

Earlier in the week, we mentioned reports of Palm Pre hardware issues, but now it seems to be Apple’s turn to take some heat. Gearlog points out an Apple Knowledge Base article that covers the normal operating temperature of the iPhone 3G and 3GS. It’s basically […]

HT1871_1Earlier in the week, we mentioned reports of Palm Pre hardware issues, but now it seems to be Apple’s turn to take some heat. Gearlog points out an Apple Knowledge Base article that covers the normal operating temperature of the iPhone 3G and 3GS. It’s basically a common-sense approach: Use the device in temps between 32 degrees and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, don’t store it in any extreme climates, etc.

Although there was a recent picture of a white iPhone 3GS exhibiting what looked to be burned plastic on the back casing, I haven’t had any issues with my unit. I have the same one. I don’t doubt there are some handsets that run hotter than others; with massive production runs, there are bound to be a few bad handsets getting through the QC process. That number could be dozens or it could be thousands. I wonder how legitimate that picture was, though.

According to the knowledge base article, there is some type of internal temperature monitoring in the handset. When it detects that the operating temperature is too high, it displays the warning message I’ve shown to the right. This is the first time I’ve ever seen this message. It’s reasonable to believe that if someone’s white iPhone 3GS was hot enough to discolor the plastic case, the handset owner would have seen the warning screen, no? There’s some assumption on my part, but it’s a relatively sound argument. If it were me, I would have posted a screenshot of the warning message along with the burned back for a little more credibility.

In any case, the Apple support article didn’t hit today. It was last updated on June 25, and I don’t know when it was first published. For all I know, it could have been there since the introduction of the 3G and was simply updated to include the 3GS. While I wouldn’t call it an “advisory” to address a current product problem, it is useful information. Personally, I hope I never see the temperature warning screen again. For the record, my Pre is still in good shape, although it tends to run a little warm, too. With the faster processors in both the Pre and iPhone 3GS, I’m expecting these to run warmer than older phones, especially when doing CPU-intensive activities.

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  1. It’s possible that the overheating that caused the discolouration occurred in a pocket or car while the owner wasn’t watching his phone. Does that temperature warning go away automatically once the phone returns to a safe temperature?

    I suspect that kb article has been around for a while because I’ve seen the same screenshot in threads about the iPhone 3G before. I guess we’ll hear more about this if it really is an issue (perhaps a combination of a bug in the new software combined with the new processor to produce a little too much heat???) but it’s probably more likely to be a one off.

    BTW, I’m no fan (get it?) of the iPhone but I think that heat warning is a good idea.

  2. James Kendrick Thursday, July 2, 2009

    It’s been 100+ here for over a week. I better put the iPhone 3G away until fall.

    1. Official Temperature guidlines from Apples site:

      iPhone Temperate Zone. Your iPhone works best from 32° to 95° F. You should store it in environments of -4° to 113° F. That’s 0° to 35° C and -20° to 45° C for the metrically inclined. Keeping your iPhone as near room temperature as possible (72° F or 22° C) is ideal.

  3. Nice to see man-made global warming is real after all. It may be time for Apple to break out the new iPhone 3Ga the aluminum edition laser cut from a single block of aluminum, but this was done not for rigidity but for heat, it is cut as one giant heat sink. This would be one cool phone.

  4. the effect of Global Warming these days is even worst. i think every government should pass stricter laws on Carbon Emissions. we should also concentrate more on renewable energy sources and avoid fossil fuels.

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