iPhone 5 bend-gate? [UPDATED]

iPhone 5 bend-gate? [UPDATED]

With a sense of trepidation we bring you the latest iPhone 5 potential scandal to hit the internet. iPhone 5 bend-gate. We have already seen reports of the iPhone 5 arriving with minor damage to the aluminium banding and bezel, but this time its a little different.

Sweeping the Apple forums are reports of the iPhone 5 bending, literally bending. It’s questionable as to whether these are arriving bent with some showing more damage than one would expect, and a couple not looking particularly bent until you put them flat on a table (as can be seen in the video below) or whether users are inflicting damage accidentally, or just trying to get some attention. Whilst we expect the latter it does raise some interesting questions.

With a handset made with an aluminium core bending is of course a potential issue. As a soft metal it is possible to bend Aluminium, but what is interesting from the forum reports is that some users are simply stating that the bend developed on its own over time. In one extreme case the front glass panel has become unclipped from the band, with the band bending backwards.

On all of the reports the location of the bend is located just by the volume down button. The taller screen on the iPhone not only provides a better viewing and browsing experience, but also makes the iPhone a little less pocket friendly. We ask ourselves whether this could be a result of putting the new iPhone 5 in tight-fitting jeans or trousers and simply sitting down. The pressure of the jeans holding the iPhone against your thigh could potentially cause the handset to bend.

We have not experienced any of this ourselves, and are intrigued to hear from you if your iPhone has bent, and what Apple has done about the situation. It appears so far Apple have switched out handsets suffering from this issue if they deem it wasn’t caused by the user. This is one we will definitely be monitoring. If your handset is affected send us an email or tweet @tekcoreuk and we will add your view to the article.

Below is a gallery of affected iPhones gathered from the sources noted at the end of the article.

We’ve been receiving multiple photos and messages regarding users in a similar situation. Check out the new images above from reader Scott Hale.

Reader Henry Rodriguez has also been in touch today stating that he is also suffering from the iPhone 5 bend issue. It was not received bent, but in just 10 days of use and being in his front pocket it is now showing the same signs as the ones in the gallery. Apple have told Henry in this case that it has been caused by the user and therefore not covered by warranty – although they did offer a replacement handset for $200.

Dutch reader Dave has also been in touch stating that after a few days using his new iPhone 5 his is now suffering from the bending issue. After taking it back to the reseller, and having it sent to Apple they have stated that it must have been caused by falling/pressure damage and is not covered under the warranty – again Dave has been offered a replacement at a slightly lower cost than RRP.

We’ve had yet another report of this very same issue, with a new image posted in the gallery above. This is one story that definitely does not want to die down. Reader @Frankie_Ice7 has got in touch today regarding his iPhone 5 bending. It has bent in the exact same place as the others in our gallery above. Apple has offered a replacement for $240.

Update 16/11/12

It’s been over one month since the publish date of this post, and we have received even more reports from users with the iPhone 5 bending issue.

Reader Aman has reached out and shared his experience. The iPhone has bent as shown in the supplied photo in our gallery above. As he bought the phone in India, he is being told that he must pay $350 to replace it.

It seems the go-to response from Apple is that they are offering a replacement handset for a seemingly standard cost. Unfortunately, this may be the only resolution to this issue we are going to see.

Whilst it’s clear in all of these images there must have been an amount of force to bend the iPhone, the concern with this issue is whether the combination of the Aluminium core, and taller display make the iPhone 5 more prone to bending over previous models.

If you are suffering with this problem be sure to get in touch, and thanks to those who have so far.

We have reached out to Apple for a comment regarding #bendgate and have yet to receive a response.

Sources: gfasciana (MacRumors), Austintylerl (MacRumors), Sparky1680 (MacRumors), Dave Parker (YouTube)Scott Hale (Twitter)@Frankie_Ice7 (Twitter).

© TEKCORE UK LTD. 2012

This article has 31 comments

  1. I am one of these customers that has a bent phone from being in my front pocket, which I do understand the pressure this puts on the phone but do not understand that every other iPhone I have owned was handled the same exact way without bending. Apple’s stance is that I damaged the phone and my phone is out of warrantly. I really do hope this is a manufactering defect or an actual design flaw, which I think the combination of the aluminum backing and band around the phone caused the phone to fragile to everyday use. I would have never purchased the phone if I knew I could not transport the phone in my pocket. I do not like belt clips and surely do not like to carry around a purse.

    • The announcement like yours did sensationalized these events, no matter if it was true or not. I wonder whether or not you check ur phone before leaving the i-store.

  2. isn’t that a feature ?

  3. Aluminium a soft material? Really?

    Anyway, this is is unbelievable. So smart to offer another iPhone for 200 dollars. The make them for around 100, offer next to none warranty and as a gesture they offer another refurbished phone for 200. Smart, very smart company. Or should I say, faithful customers?

    • Aluminium is comparably soft when put next to other metals such as steel. a lot lighter and strong enough but here it looks like they just made it to thin to shave those extra grams off

    • Exactly what I was thinking, man Apple sure does know how to make money. Pure genius to make a product with flaws then turn around and make the customer pay extra for your mistake or for a tweak that should have been in the product in the first place case in point the ipad mini first with no retina display then wait a few months then drop one with retina display. Not sure what the facts are with this latest issue (bending), but just curious to know if the people having these bending issues are their phones in cases like an otterbox or some other kind or do they just take them straight out the box and use it with no case? Just curious cause my wife just got a iphone 5, now I’m curious to put it on a flat surface and see what happens lol.

  4. Material substitution usually demands that engineers make adaptions in design to accommodate the unique characteristics of a material.

    In the automotive industry, for example, a comparison of steel based steering components vs alu based replacements would, in almost all cases, reveal that the alu components are dimensionally larger (in a few rare cases, the dimensions are similar, owing to the original steel design having been greatly over engineered.)

    To my eyes, it is clear that, under bending, the material of the chassis is failing at the narrowest cross section (namely at the volume buttons)… The chassis bezel is simply too thin to withstand normal usage patterns (validated by past iPhone and competitor usage) this dimensional short coming is exacerbated by the longer chassis (increasing the bending length), elimination of two glass panels in addition to going to the alu chassis.

  5. Cheap 6061 aluminum would have worked better with a long thin rocker switch rather than the big round buttons of the 4/4s.

  6. I think that apple needs to make a recall or the iPhone 5 it isnt heard of another phone bending like this. they should have found that it would bend in testing. my phone has been in its case since say one and it has bent.. NOT GOOD ENOUGH APPLE!!!!

  7. My husband had his IPHONE 4 since they first came out. He usually carried it in a pocket because he has a Blackberry work phone that he has to carry. He switched to the IPHONE 5…..we purchased it at the apple store. We put it in an otter type case which we purchased at Sam’s an hour after purchasing the Iphone. He never dropped it or did any damage to it. Two weeks after buying it, we noticed that the “changed volume emblem” that appears on the screen wasn’t going off. we examined it & noticed that the volume buttons appeared jammed, & u could not change the volume. We didn’t notice at that time the slight bend to the top of the phone. We made an appointment at the apple store with the genius, assuming it was a little glitche they could fix…..WRONG! we took it in, & the first thing they showed us was that it was bent & asked us what happened to it. We told them nothing. Now they are saying we probably didn’t put it in the case correctly so we are out $289 more dollars. We bought the apple care this go around. We’d paid $200 for the one we’d had 2 weeks. The old IPhone 4 was not in a case & my husband carried the Iphone 5 the same way except he bought the case for it since the phone looked more fragile. We don’t know what happened but feel there’s a problem. we are in our fifties, no kids at home, & no one but us handled it. Sad!

    • There you have it, “they are saying we probably didn’t put it in the case correctly”, so besides holding it wrong you also can put it in the case wrong……… LOL

    • And you were actually stupid enough to give these people even more of your money.

    • I am sure the “cheap plastic” on the Samsung Galaxy S3 will not bend so easy LOL…..There is always a price to pay for using “luxury aluminium material”. Btw, aluminium are soft material and we used it for making cola can hahaha….

  8. I got my iPhone 5 last week, I have had it on a case for awhile and then I realized a couple days ago that the screen was kind of popping out at me. So I took it off and sure enough the iPhone one week old phone had a curve to it already. Have not even dropped the thing once in or out of the case. So I called Apple and told them, they right away assumed I dropped it in water (because a bent phone is obviously water damage). They told me to send it in and they will ship me a new one, but honestly I think I am going to go back to the 4s. Apple has really let me down with this phone and the 5 is just turning into a mess and a hassle that I did not expect from them. Better luck next time with the 5S I guess.

    • I just noticed the bend in my iPhone 5, when I was putting on a new screen protector. I never inflicted damage on it, but did carry it for short periods of time in my front pocket. This should not happen. I had a 3g, and a 4, and I was able to carry them in my pocket. I have the Applecare plan, but from what I read, they don’t cover the bend problem. Ridiculous!

  9. Check your local laws. In Minnesota, we have an ‘Implied Warranty’ law which states:

    325G.18 IMPLIED WARRANTIES.
    Subdivision 1.Merchantability and fitness for intended purpose. Unless disclaimed in the manner prescribed in subdivision 2, every consumer sale in this state shall be accompanied by an implied warranty that the goods are merchantable, and, in a consumer sale where the seller has reason to know that the goods are required for a particular purpose and that the buyer is relying on the seller’s skill or judgment to select or furnish suitable goods, an implied warranty of fitness. A seller may, however, limit damages or remedies for breach of implied warranties as provided in chapter 336.
    Subd. 2.Disclaimers. No consumer sale on an “as is” or “with all faults” basis shall be effective to disclaim the implied warranty of merchantability, or, where applicable, the implied warranty of fitness, unless a conspicuous writing clearly informs the buyer, prior to the sale, in simple and concise language each of the following:
    (1) the goods are being sold on an “as is” or “with all faults” basis; and
    (2) the entire risk as to the quality and performance of the goods is with the buyer.
    In event of a consumer sale by means of a mail order catalog, the catalog may contain the required writing in lieu of the requirement of notification prior to the sale.
    History: 1973 c 692 s 2

    Key words and meaning: “Merchantability and fitness for intended purpose”
    And, as found in case law: “Suitable for it’s intended purpose”

    Clearly a product which is so easily damaged, either by the users doing or it’s own, is NOT suitable for it’s intended purpose.

    I can’t tell you how many times citing this to managers/supervisors has changed their tune immediately.

    If this were to happen to me, by no extraordinary means, I would take it to upper level management and site the law.
    No, I will not pay for a replacement, and no, I will not pay my $49 under Applecare+ as this is not extraordinary damage, this is due to the phone being unsuitable for everyday task such as every other phone on the market, or those manufactured by Apple for that matter. Period. If they still wanted to argue, I would ask them where to send a summons for small claims court so I can proceed :)

    That said, if you did something ridiculous to damage it, then man up and quit crying. Also, learn your lesson, and buy the Applecare+ or other insurance.

  10. I’m having a same problem, and Apple told me to pay $220 for a replacement. :(

  11. I’ve had my white iPhone 5 for about a month. I just noticed my phone is bent. I didn’t do anything to it and have had it in a case since the second it came out of the box. It’s not bad. Maybe a centimeter or less. But none the less, what a disappointment. I had my iPhone 4 for 2 years and didn’t have a scratch or dent in it. I dropped that thing all the time too. I refuse to pay another $200 to replace my new phone. It works fine. Apple needs to address this and replace our phones. This is bullshit.

  12. Outside US, most people is shifting away from Apple. Their product is no longer what it was. In my opinion, 3GS is the best one they came up with. Sturdy and reliable. I carry a Galaxy S3 in my pocket and despite its larger screen and plastic components, it feels very robust. I believe Apple is cutting too much profit out of the product when they should be paying more attention to the quality of their product instead.

  13. A clear sign that apple is getting greedier with each product release. Their profit margin is growing substantially but the quality of their product is rapidly declining.

  14. Same bent iphone 5 here. I can show a picture. Never dropped, never in my back pocket, and always taken care of. When i inspected it today for scratches i noticed it was bent. I mean come on man! This phone is a piece of shit, period.

  15. Might be a PCB (printied circuit board) elements mounting dis-balance. If side of the PCB has way more components then the other it ma cause a PCB geometry distraction. Quite a known issue in military industry, yet there it is resolved with tight computer case design and verified by stress tests.

  16. Lithium batteries swell like that when they age, but this must be something different.
    Unless Apple used second rate batteries for their new iPhone. Then anything is possible.

  17. The reason these phones bend are 1) the 6061 non-tempered aluminum is quite soft and pliable. It’s light, easy to mil, etc. 2) The thickness at which the phone body was made and the lack of cross section at the volume buttons. There is very little material to keep the body in shape should decent amount of force be applied.

  18. What a disgrace!!!! This has to go public and get bigger!!! Unhappy customers should get together and sue apple…..They made no without warning about this possibility…..my wife currently uses my previous iphone 4 and still works fine…the 5 is a complete failure…….. ..i switched to the galaxy s3 in august, AMAZING PHONE and much improved experience and versatility with android jelly beam…….i miss nothing of ios……really guys , i regret it took me that long to realise

  19. Switch to Windows Phone 8. I went for the HTC 8X and do not regret it at all. Thought I would miss all the apps etc. But it is a kick as GUI – deeply integrated with all social networking platforms.

    Apple/iOS now looks old school to me and it costs half the price.

    Still keeping my iPad though :)

  20. Got myself an aluminum case from EDGE Design. Problem solved. http://edge-design.com

  21. I bought mine in November and found within two weeks a slight curve at the top part of the screen I instantly thought it was a feature apple had put on the iPhone 5, A slight curve for Better ergonomics. Then doing the research I found that this was not the case. Mine is not so bad as others but first noticed when my minus button didn’t click so well. It’s fine now.
    I carry mine in my front pocket while walking the dog and sometimes playing and running with him. While doing this I listen to music as well as use Siri, message and phone calls. Could it be excessive heat from the iPhone? this then helps make the iPhone pliable in the front pocket? Only a thought.

  22. I have the identical problem where there is a very small crack on the frame between the volume button and lcd (just like the picture on this site), I brought it to the Apple store and almost kicked this guys butt as he told me I had damaged it. The day I purchased the phone I put it in a hard case which apparently didn’t help. I could have gotten the 4S for free but elected to pay $250 even with my Sprint upgrade. Luckily I just got a company phone (Galaxy S3) and I love it. My Iphone 5 still works but everytime I look at it I am sick to my stomach. My first and last Apple product!!

  23. My son’s iphone5 bent within 2 months after purchase. He does NOT keep it in his back pocket. He did NOT drop it. We are not sure why the darn thing bent. All I can tell you is that Apple does not want to deal with the issue. The store manager was so rude and told my son that he must have dropped it… need to buy new phone or $240 for rebuilt phone. Contacted Apple via IM Chat, the rep apologized for the store manager’s rudeness and told me they would provide a replacement phone. Yes, I did print this entire IM Chat Conversation when I was done. He put me in contact with a rep via phone to handle shipping etc. Well, they wanted the credit card… guess what, it wasn’t at no charge. Several phone calls later, still have a bent iphone5 and no resolution other than $ out of our pocket. Yes, this is very disappointing. You would think after spending a considerable amount of money for a new phone, there would be some sort of guarantee that the phone will hold up – at least for a while, no? Why should I buy another phone if I just bought one? To be honest, after all of the research I’ve done on the subject matter, after speaking with Apple, I’ve come to the conclusion that no one is 100% certain as to why these phones are bending. IF APPLE DOES KNOW, they aren’t sharing. The only thing I’ve heard from them is “consumer damaged the phone”… Clearly there is an issue with the phone, there are hundreds of folks by now (maybe thousands) that have a bent iphone5 only 5 months after launch. If Apple says it’s your fault, there is no other recourse. Truly this doesn’t seem fair, who are they to be the final word? What if the consumer didn’t drop it or sit on it and the consumer isn’t lying??? What then? I keep checking to see if anyone has filed a class action lawsuit… class action lawsuits do not provide consumers with a fair amount of money – usually walk away with a few bucks if anything. But at least I will sleep better knowing that Apple was “held accountable” to someone of higher authority.

  24. Bought my 5 in January and was immediately put into a full leather case Charged every night in its case. Until last week, woke to find the volume buttons were sticking. Removing the phone from its case revealed a bend in the frame around the volume buttons.I managed to force it back so the buttons would operate, It still has a slight bend.Then found numerous reports on others with similar problems.Made an appointment at the apple store and got the usual story”Haven’t heard of that problem before” He checked the battery and all was OK And also wiped the phone to install latest software, This was done to try to extend the battery life, which is another issue. From day one the battery would discharge at an alarming rate,far worse than the one year old iphone4s I had just sold.The Genius said he would document the problem in case there is another problem in the future.Exchanging this phone for another 5 isn’t going to solve this problem,Until they manufacture the body from a more substantial material, this problem will not go away. My advice to someone with the 4s would be to keep it! It is a far superior phone to this so called “Jewel” I’m now seriously looking at the SG4. Well and truly over the apple experience.

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