Just weeks after its high-profile launch, Apple’s flagship iPhone 15 Pro Max faces a serious new problem: display burn-in. Numerous reports of image retention issues on the iPhone 15 Pro Max have surfaced, with permanent ghost-like outlines of home screen icons and keyboards always visible on the phone’s screen.

Burn-in, caused by displaying a static image in one area of an OLED display for an extended period, has long been an Achilles’ heel for screen technology. Though manufacturers like Apple have implemented measures to mitigate burn-in risks in recent years, the flurry of issues cropping up in the iPhone 15

The problems appear localized to the iPhone 15 Pro Max for now, with owners sharing their burn-in woes on Reddit, X/Twitter, Apple Support Communities community forum, and other outlets. In a MacRumors forum post, one user reported burn-in after just 14 days of normal use. While Always On display was enabled, the screen timeout setting was a brief two minutes — apparently not long enough to prevent burn-in.

Visiting the Genius Bar, the user was informed the phone was exhibiting “ghosting” and would require a full display replacement. However, with supply still short on the newly launched device, no repair parts were available — yet. Instead, the user now faces a weeks-long wait for a replacement phone to become available.

Another Reddit user shared an image showing pronounced burn-in in the shape of a YouTube thumbnail, blaming “normal use” rather than any misuse for the issue. Several other posters reported being approved for full device replacements from Apple after burn-in appeared on their iPhone 15 Pro Max.

The extent of the problem is unknown for now, but the growing chorus suggests a troubling trend rather than just isolated manufacturing defects. Apple already had its hands full this month addressing overheating issues in the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, traced back to thermal design flaws by analysts.

Just last week, the company pushed iOS 17.0.3 to patch the overheating bugs. Now, it appears their engineers have another serious headache on their hands. This means that the company is facing two major hardware issues back-to-back points to cracks emerging in its recently launched device.

With the availability of the iPhone 15 Pro Max still constrained by demand, affected users face long waits for replacements. And judging by the early complaints, this could soon become a PR nightmare for Apple if the burn-in spreads much further. After spending $1099 or more for a premium device that’s supposed to represent the pinnacle of smartphone technology, experiencing permanent screen damage so soon is understandably upsetting for users.

The burn-in seems isolated to the Pro Max model, which features a slightly larger 6.7-inch OLED panel than the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro. With the supply of the premium iPhone 15 models still short worldwide after the September launch, Apple will likely face growing scrutiny if display issues become more widespread.

After dominating the smartphone market share in the premium category with the iPhone for over a decade, Apple is seeing rising competition from advanced Android flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Facing its toughest competition in years for wealthy buyers, quality issues like this risk driving high-speeding customers toward rivals.

As more iPhone 15 Pro Max devices enter consumers’ hands, Apple will soon find out whether they’re dealing with an isolated manufacturing defect or a serious design flaw. With high stakes heading into the critical holiday shopping season, Cupertino is likely working urgently behind the scenes to contain this PR nightmare before it grows further.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Soulful Pizza; Pexels; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.