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A new iPhone 6 problem arises: Dye from jeans is ruining the iPhone’s plastic strips

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:52PM EST
iPhone 6 Cases
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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Apple fans breathed a sigh of relief this past summer when Nikkei, typically a reliable source of accurate early information on unreleased Apple devices, issued a report stating that the white plastic strips we had seen on countless iPhone 6 mockups would not be part of the final design. Those strips, which many people found to be quite an eyesore, reportedly stemmed from a misunderstanding of some iPhone 6 schematics that had previously leaked. Instead, the Nikkei claimed that those areas would actually be covered by glass panels similar to the ones on the back of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s.

Unfortunately for people who think those plastic strips ruin the sleek look of the phone, they were still present when Apple’s next-generation handsets were unveiled last month.

Of course, had Apple found another way to give the antennas inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus some breathing room that was feasible technically and financially in such a slim phone, the company might have opted to ditch the plastic in favor of glass or another solution. And thanks to a new issue that seems to have arisen in recent weeks, we know of at least a few people who wish Apple had indeed found another solution.

FROM EARLIER: The 10 best iPhone apps with iOS 8 Notification Center widgets

BGR has spoken with several iPhone 6 owners over the past couple of weeks who have encountered a very annoying issue with Apple’s new iPhones. The issue involves pockets on men’s jeans, but this time it’s not a matter of Apple’s gigantic iPhone phablet fitting into pockets. In fact, these particular iPhone users might wish their smartphones didn’t fit in their pockets.

Some iPhone owners who don’t cover their phones with a protective case are finding that after sliding an iPhone in and out of the pockets on their jeans for a period of time, some of the dye from the denim is rubbing off onto the plastic strips on the back of the phone.

The result is an unsightly discoloration that makes the iPhone look dirty and old. Conventional soaps and other cleaning products one might use in an effort to remove the darkening on the plastic strips apparently have not worked.

One BGR reader jokingly referred to the problem as “Dyegate.”

The photos below (click to enlarge) were sent to us via email by a BGR reader who asked not to be identified, and they show an iPhone 6 impacted by this issue.

Each of the people in contact with BGR who had iPhones impacted by this issue said they received similar responses when they contacted Apple for assistance. According to accounts relayed to BGR, Apple support staff instructed users to carefully scrub their iPhones with various common cleaning products. When those products failed to remove the dye from the iPhones, no further assistance was provided.

This is not the first time we’ve seen an issue like this. Last year’s HTC One smartphone featured white plastic strips over some internal antennas long before the iPhone 6 was unveiled, and it too suffered from issues involving dye from denim jeans transferring onto the plastic.

One of BGR’s own HTC One review units suffered from the issue, though a careful cleaning with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser removed all of the dye from the plastic on the back of the phone. It is unclear at this time if a Magic Eraser will work on the iPhone 6, however.

An Apple spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.