As if the iPhone 15 didn’t have enough issues that Apple had to fix right after launch, the company has now confirmed another annoying problem with the phones. However, it’s a problem that Apple plans to fix via an iPhone update that will roll out after the iOS 17.1 release.
A few days ago, reports emerged that the wireless chargers that come with certain BMW cars might break the NFC functionality of the iPhone 15 chip. That leads to incredibly annoying problems like the inability to use Apple Pay on your iPhone. Also, issues with the NFC will break the digital car key functionality. You won’t be able to use your phone to unlock your BMW.
Almost a month later, Apple confirmed the issue. It apparently impacts some Toyota Supra owners who have iPhone 15 units.
If you’ve encountered the “Could Not Set Up Apple Pay” error message on your iPhone at any point after charging the iPhone 15 wirelessly in a car, the only fix was having your handset exchanged. MacRumors first reported the issue on October 1st.
Some customers said at the time that the iPhone goes into a data recovery mode while charging wirelessly in the car. Once it wakes up, the NFC chip loses all functionality. Apple replaced some of the affected models, indicating the issue is indeed real.
However, the devices remained at risk of going through the same problem in case of a subsequent wireless charging session involving the same charger.
It’s unclear what causes the problem and why only the new iPhone 15 models are affected. Specifically, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max users were more likely to find the NFC chip not working.
Almost a month later, Apple confirmed the NFC problem in an internal memo that the same MacRumors saw. The memo, which reached Apple Authorized Service Providers, says that a “small number” of wireless chargers in certain new BMW and Toyota Supra models can temporarily disable the NFC features of the handset.
It turns out all four iPhone 15 models can be impacted. But Apple doesn’t explain what’s happening with the NFC chip during these charging sessions.
The good news is that Apple found a way to fix the problem via a software update. That indicates there are no issues with the NFC chip that would warrant a smartphone replacement.
However, it’s unclear when Apple will release the update. It’s coming later this year, but this might not be good enough for most people. As someone who relies on Apple Pay almost exclusively for payments, I’d hate to experience such issues. Rather than waiting, I’d try to get a replacement and then avoid that car wireless charger at all costs.
Apple says in the memo that support technicians can attempt to restart the NFC chip using a software tool part of the Apple Service Toolkit 2. That implies this fix might work. But it won’t always deliver results. Apple says technicians should initiate hardware repairs if the software tool doesn’t work.