The final result of my iPhone 7 Plus display problem with Apple

This is about the iPhone 7 Plus display not being brighter, as advertised. You can see side-by-side comparative photos in my previous blog post here:

I received a call from the Apple liaison this evening and the final conclusion is that as far as Apple is concerned that’s just the way they are.

They admit there is a variation in the phones during manufacture, but they aren’t willing to continue to exchange phones until we find one that is as bright and noticeably more vibrant and brilliant as advertised – or even as bright as the iPhone 7 Plus my friend from the U.S. has, which we compared side-by-side during his visit here to Japan.

However, Apple are willing to let me think about it for a week or so and even though I bought it from my carrier, Softbank, and even though Softbank does not allow returns and refunds, Apple would be willing to let me sell the phone to Apple for the full retail price and I could then just buy another cell phone with the carrier. In other words, they are offering me a way out, if I decide I want to do that.

So I will think about it.

I’m of course disappointed with Apple and with the quality of the screen. And the logic of the engineering team bewilders me. They are advertising one thing and selling another. It’s clear to anybody who looks at my side-by-side photos, which compare the iPhone 7 Plus and my iPhone 6 Plus displays. It’s even more obvious in person. The Apple Store people who have seen it also agree. 100% of everybody who sees the two iPhones side-by-side agree the iPhone 6 Plus is the one that is brighter.

So I will think about exactly how much this bothers me for a bit. I’ll see what my carrier offers. Perhaps an iPhone 6S Plus if I decide to stick with Apple. Or maybe it’s time to look into Android substitutes.

Since Apple is offering a complete refund of the full purchase price, I suppose I will tentatively remain an Apple customer for now. But I certainly wouldn’t buy anything else from Apple again unless it was clear there was a full money-back guarantee from the start. I don’t want to go through this experience again.

I guess that is the end of my story. I hope other people have better luck than I did with their iPhone 7 Pluses. And I hope Apple reconsiders the way they advertise the iPhone 7 Plus screen. Because what they are advertising just is not what you get.

iPhone 7 Plus screen brightness issue update

Well, I received the 2nd replacement iPhone 7 Plus today, and unfortunately it is even dimmer than the first 1st replacement iPhone 7 Plus, and both are much dimmer than my iPhone 6 Plus.

Here are the results, and thoughts about going forward.

First, comparison screenshots.

Left is 1st replacement iPhone 7 Plus received 12/23/2016, right is 2nd replacement iPhone 2 Plus received 1/23/2017. The 1st replacement is clearly brighter.

Comparison 1

Switched order to show it’s not a camera illusion. Left is 2nd replacement iPhone 7 Plus received today, right is 1st replacement iPhone 7 Plus. The 1st replacement is obviously much brighter.

Comparison 2


Here we have the 2nd replacement iPhone 7 Plus on the left, the iPhone 6 Plus in the middle and the 1st replacement iPhone 7 Plus on the right. The iPhone 6 Plus is obviously brighter than either iPhone 7 Plus.


Comparison 3


Again, the 2nd replacement iPhone 7 Plus on the left, the iPhone 6 Plus in the middle and the 1st replacement iPhone 7 Plus on the right. This time the view is more straight on. The iPhone 6 Plus is obviously brighter than either iPhone 7 Plus.


Comparison 4


First, I am going to return the original iPhone 7 Plus and the 2nd replacement iPhone 7 Plus as soon as possible. I’m getting nervous about having all these extra iPhone 7 Pluses here. I have reset both of those devices and packed them up nicely in their boxes, with all the original accessories. Apple can be pick them up at any time.


I’m currently using the 1st replacement iPhone 7 Plus, which, while obviously worse than the iPhone 6 Plus is very noticeably better than the 2nd replacement iPhone 7 Plus received today. It’s even more obvious to the naked eye than it is in the photos.

As to what to do next, I don’t really know. It seems obvious to me:


1. There is great variation in the manufacturing of different iPhone 7 Pluses. I know that not just from direct comparison today, but also from seeing my American friends’ iPhone 7 Pluses last month, which I posted photos of. Theirs are clearly much brighter than mine. I am really surprised there is such variation from device to device.


2. I’m sorry to say this, but I feel that the Apple engineering team is not being honest with the liaison or with me. The iPhone 7 Plus is supposed to be not just 25% brighter but, in Apple’s words:


“So what you see will be noticeably more brilliant and vibrant.”


As I mentioned before, if something looks darker and looks dingier it is impossible to say it is “noticeably more brilliant and vibrant.” The word “noticeably” means something you can visually see. If you can’t see it, it isn’t noticeable.


I don’t know how much Apple wants to continue to try to solve the problem. But there is a problem.


I am pretty stressed out from this over the last 10 weeks. One option for me would be to just move on and stick with this iPhone 7 Plus or sell it and switch to another company’s smartphone. In that case Apple will have lost a customer, because how can I ever buy anything from Apple again with any confidence?


I would hope that Apple would stand by their word and really try to figure out what is going on here. I wonder what I should tell my friends and colleagues at this point. And I’ve still been waiting more than 2 months now to send my iPhone 6 Plus to my sister.
Anyway, that’s how things stand now. I will post again if and when I have updates.

Frustration with Apple after all these years

I am extremely frustrated with Apple after all these years.

I just heard back from the Apple liaison again. She says the engineering team claims my iPhone 7 Plus really is brighter but I just can’t see it, which makes no sense to me.

Nevertheless they are going to send out one more unit and see if it’s better. If you look at Apple’s home page at (see screenshot) in addition to claiming it is 25% brighter it says:

“So what you see will be noticeably more brilliant and vibrant.”



If something looks darker and looks dingier it is impossible to say it is “noticeably more brilliant and vibrant.” The word “noticeably” means something you can visually see. If you can’t see it, it isn’t noticeable.

Also, my U.S. friends’ iPhone 7 Pluses, when they visited last month, were noticeably brighter than mine.

I think Apple must admit there is a manufacturing quality enforcement issue going on. If there is such variation in display quality there must be something going on.

I do hope this next device change fixes the problem. If not, regrettably this will be my last Apple purchase. It becomes a basic trust issue at that point.

In that case I will have to decide how to “phase out” using Apple products. One example might be just keeping this iPhone 7 Plus until the end of the contract. Or maybe I’ll wait until after using it for 6 months. Then I can unlock it and sell it for a good price. At this point I wish I could reverse the entire transaction, but that doesn’t seem possible or practical at this point

If I give up using iPhones I will be in the market for an Android I guess. Something with a good camera and the other features I need. Though I am also tempted to go for a “middling” model of something so I no longer feel vested in having “the latest and best” product. When you have something in the middle you figure, “well, it’s in the middle, so I shouldn’t expect too much.” If you go for something that is supposedly the best, it’s irritating when it really isn’t.

I don’t think I like the “materialistic” feelings that come from owning products like these.

If I give up my iPhone I may very well sell my MacBook Pro, which is in like-new condition after a final fix-up under AppleCare last month, and consider switching to a Windows 10 notebook computer with a touchscreen display.

I just went through the history of all the Apple devices I’ve used over more than a quarter century and now just feel weird about the whole thing.

I think I computers, and smart phones, should just be tools for practical purposes. I should never have gotten so caught up in it.

Anyway, I will test this so-called “last device” when it comes and see if it is an improvement.

More on the iPhone 7 Plus screen dimness issue – disappointed with Apple’s false advertising, but what can I do?

OK, am I just being too obsessed over this or what?

I upgraded from my iPhone 6 Plus to the iPhone 7 Plus after the election, partly to “cheer me up.” What my friend, Sue, called “retail therapy.”

But the fact the new iPhone is dimmer than my old iPhone 6 Plus really irks me.

I posted side-by-side photos about it in a discussion thread at the Apple support forums ( You can see the photos there.

Below is an email I just sent to Tim Cook because Apple has not been helpful.

Am I making too big a deal out of this? Should I just “live with it?”

At the moment I’m so upset at Apple I feel like completely getting away from their whole ecosystem and going full Windows and Android. Would that be cutting off my nose to spite my face?

But I feel so sick of Apple at this point. The fact that their new MacBook Pro series is overpriced and gets rid of all the standard ports for all my devices doesn’t help my feelings towards them at this point either.

Getting rid of the iPhone 7 Plus would also be costly because I’d still be responsible for paying it off with my carrier. Though I suppose I could do that and sell it somewhere and take some loss. Would that be stupid though? Should I just live with it for two years and then gradually just move away from Apple rather than doing something rash I might regret?

But the iPhone 7 Plus is not as advertised, and I feel that is wrong.

Should practicality take priority over principle though?

Here’s the email I just sent to Cook:

Dear Mr. Cook,

As a last resort I’m writing to you, but I despair that Apple simply doesn’t care to help in this case.

A week ago Saturday I decided to “upgrade” my iPhone 6 Plus to an iPhone 7 Plus.

At it says, in addition to the new phone being 25% brighter, that, “…what you see will be noticeably more brilliant and vibrant. Because we all deserve a bit more brightness in our day.”

I would like that, but it’s not true.

While the iPhone 7 Plus seems to work well in all other respects, the display is important. I’m not saying the iPhone 7 Plus display is bad, per se. But as soon as I took it out of the box on Saturday it was obvious that it was dimmer than my iPhone 6 Plus, even before comparing it side-by-side.

Apple is advertising the iPhone 7 Plus as 25% brighter, and “noticeably more brilliant and vibrant” – but that is simply not true. And Apple refuses to assist me (you can refer to Case number 100064822147).

Attached are photos I sent in to “Michael” ( who was handling my case, but won’t provide further assistance.

I took the photos with my iPad Air. I took 6 photos from different distances and angles. Brightness settings are the same. In fact all the settings are the same. Both are set at maximum brightness for these photos. No hue tinting or other display changes have been made on either phone.

The phone on the left is my iPhone 6 Plus, which I was using with KDDI AU until Saturday. The phone on the right is my new iPhone 7 plus, which uses the Softbank carrier to which I switched when I upgraded.

Everybody – the sales person, friends, and the technician at the service center I visited the day after purchase (Apple service center inside Bic Camera at Hachioji, Tokyo station) all agree that the iPhone 7 Plus is not not “25% brighter.” It is not “noticeably more brilliant and vibrant.” it is actually dimmer than the iPhone 6 Plus. And the whites are not as white.

We did try an exchange with a new iPhone 7 Plus at the service center last week, but both the technician and I agreed the exchange unit was even dimmer than the one I brought in. So we did not make the exchange. That made me wonder if this is a general problem with the new iPhone 7 Plus.

Just before, “Michael” called to tell me that’s “just the way they are.” This Michael person is trying to claim that the iPhone 7 Plus might not look brighter but it really is. That makes no sense at all. Your advertising says it is supposed to be “noticeably more brilliant and vibrant.” If you can’t see it how can be be “noticeably more brilliant and vibrant”? And Michael refuses to help and says there is nobody else at Apple I can talk to about it and it’s not Apple’s responsibility since I bought it from my carrier.

Obviously that is not acceptable. The carrier says it’s Apple’s responsibility. And I agree. You are advertising something that isn’t true.

I think even you will agree that the iPhone 6 Plus on the left is brighter, and the whites more white, than the iPhone 7 Plus on the right, which is clearly dimmer.

I hope you respond, and help, but I am despairing of Apple assisting. If the iPhone 7 Plus is not as advertised – and that seems to be the case – I want Apple’s assistance in reversing everything with the carrier, Softbank. Softbank won’t help; they say there are no returns allowed and that it is an Apple problem.

After all these decades of being a loyal Apple customer I can’t tell you how disappointed I am to be brushed off like this.

I suppose if Apple refuses to help the next stop would be the Japan consumer affairs agency. But I am hoping you intercede first.


Doug Lerner