In which I detail all the problems I’ve had with the iPhone 6

iPhone 6I’ve had my iPhone 6 for just about two months now, so I feel I’m in a good position to detail some of my feelings about it. It’s certainly beautiful and fast, and it takes phenomenal photos. But there are a slew of hardware / design problems with it that honestly make me regret upgrading from the iPhone 5S. I have a long — long — list of bugs I’ve found in iOS 8, but right now I just want to write about the hardware.

So here goes, in no particular order:

Moving the power button to the side was an awful idea. It infuriates me because after two months I am still finding new reasons to disagree with this decision, and I can’t imagine how anyone at Apple approved this change.

  • Taking screenshots is now an exercise in digital gymnastics which much more often than not results in either changing the volume or locking the screen instead.
  • Restarting / rebooting the phone — which is already something you only do when frustrated or annoyed by a different problem — is now maddening.
  • After years of hitting the top of the phone to lock the screen, I still do that regularly to my chagrin.

The gorgeous curved edges are lovely to see, but make the phone harder to grasp. I routinely used my iPhone 5S (and 5 before that) in commando mode, without a case, and the squared edges provided very well-balanced fulcrum points for manipulating any of the buttons. Because of the increased width and decreased depth of the 6, squeezing the phone with one hand to reach the power button is now impossible to do without a case to provide grip. (It will simply pop out of my hand like a water balloon.) And being forced to add a case obviously nullifies the beauty of the curves.

I’m right-handed (like most people) and the vast, vast majority of the time I use my phone, I’m doing so single-handedly and with my left hand. Unfortunately the increased height of the 6 means I can no longer reach the top right corner of the screen with my left thumb and the increased width means I can no longer reach the right edge of the screen either. The only way to do so is to sort of pop the phone halfway into my palm, but then my fingers are no longer clasping the right edge of the phone and are instead balancing it from behind, which is dangerously precarious.

I know that Apple introduced with iOS 8 the ability to sort of double-tap the home button to bring the items at the top of the screen a bit lower so they can be reached with the left thumb, but (a) that doesn’t solve the issue of hitting the items on the far right of the screen, (b) I never remember that option exists, and (c) this is the sort of half-hearted, last-second kludge of a fix that I expect from really, really bad developers and not from one of the largest, most-profitable corporations in the history of the world which prides itself on spectacular design.

It took me a good week or two to get used to this and I still find myself having to catch it with my right hand or risk it smashing on the ground. (For reference: I never once clumsily dropped any of my previous iPhones in all the years I had them. Not once.)

Apple made a big deal about how the 6 is allegedly designed to improve your ability to take a “selfie”, but in my experience this simply isn’t true. The increased height and width of the device make it infinitely more difficult to maintain a stable grip on it while simultaneously clicking the shutter button (or either of the volume buttons) to snap a photo at arms’ length. And I use the word “infinitely” intentionally, because with all prior versions of the phone taking a selfie required zero — zero — careful consideration of finger placement or grip.

I don’t have particularly small hands.

I should note that I don’t have particularly small hands or anything ridiculous like that, and that I’m only writing about the iPhone 6 here. I can’t even imagine how torturous the iPhone 6+ is to use.

I should also note that if the reason for the increased size of the phone was made to provide more space for an incredible battery, I would still have all of these complaints. But I’d at least understand that most people care more about battery life than anything else. But the battery life of my iPhone 6 is considerably worse than that of the iPhone 5S, which regularly lasted 36 hours with normal use. I have yet to get more than about 16 hours of normal use out of my iPhone 6 without needing to recharge it.

This is the first time I’ve been truly disappointed with an Apple product, and that bothers me for a lot of reasons.

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What Is This? is the personal weblog of me, David Vincent Gagne. I've been publishing here since 1999, which makes this one of the oldest continuously-updated websites on the Internet.

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