It’s the Jet Black version of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus that was supposed to be prone to scratching, scuffing, and “micro-abrasions.” But Jet Black users are loving the new color with no known reports of scuffing. In contrast, many people who purchased the Matte Black iPhone 7 or 7 Plus are complaining about the paint chipping off for no apparent reason. Some users noticed chipping in just a few days or weeks of buying the brand new phone.
iPhone 7 Plus more vulnerable to chipping
Apple’s Support Communities are filled with complaints about the iPhone’s Matte Black coating chipping or peeling off. Most of the complaints concern the anodized finish around the speaker grille, the physical buttons, as well as around the corners. Worse, the paint was chipping off even when the phones were covered by a protective case, reports 9to5Mac.
These chips expose the aluminum underneath the anodized surface. Based on comments on the support forum, the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus is more prone to the issue than its smaller sibling. One user posted an image of their brand new iPhone having suffered extensive chipping across the back of the device. The user added that initially there were some bubbles building up on the back of the iPhone 7 Plus. When they put the handset on the table, “the paint chipped off completely.”
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iPhone 7 is not unique in this aspect
In many cases, users mentioned that they had kept their iPhones in protective cases since day one to protect it from any damage. But the Matte Black coating was still chipping off. The Cupertino company introduced the Matte Black finish with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus last year. Apple also released a Jet Black variant, and warned consumers that the Jet Black version was prone to scratching and scuffing. But the Matte Black version came with no such warning.
This is not the first times the iPhones have suffered from chipping. In 2012, the iPhone 5 had a problem with anodizing. In some cases, the iPhone 5 arrived with chips visible right out of the box. The iPhone 6 and 6S were also affected by similar issues. But chipping-related complaints for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are significantly higher than previous models.
‘Cosmetic damage’ isn’t covered under warranty
What worries users is Apple’s policy on the damage. Apple’s marketing head Phil Spencer has said in the past that some chipping was normal on any aluminum product. People who contacted Apple Care have been told that it’s a “cosmetic damage” that occurs through daily use, it is not covered under warranty. The company considers it a cosmetic damage even if chipping appears just a few days after purchase.
One user “Phirsisch” reported that the Apple Support hotline requested them to send photos of the damaged phone. The photos have been forwarded to Apple engineers in California for inspection. Phirsisch is still waiting for feedback. Since Apple isn’t repairing their devices, many users have taken it upon themselves to cover the chipped areas using acrylic paint.