Some iPhone 12 models have been losing color from their aluminum chassis, according to a new report from Svetapple.sk, which includes photos of a PRODUCT(RED) iPhone 12 model that has been noticeably leached of color.
The side of the iPhone 12 near the power button has faded to an orange shade and there’s a clear delineation where the red coloring has worn off.
Svetapple.sk says that the iPhone has been used in a transparent case, so friction from a hand has not been a factor, though it’s not clear if the case itself may have caused the issue.
There have been similar reports of fading from iPhone 11 and iPhone SE 2 users. MacRumors reader t101, for example, shared photos of an iPhone 11 with a dramatic loss of color on the edges. That iPhone model had also been in a transparent case. While many of the reports have focused on the Red iPhone models, the fading has been seen less frequently on iPhone 11 models in different colors.
Some MacRumors readers speculated that the color fading is due to UV exposure enabled by the clear case, but the problem would likely be more widespread if it was a UV exposure issue. There has also been speculation that the issue could be caused by a chemical reaction with a case, but there’s no clear cut explanation.
There are a limited number of reports about color fading, but this is a problem that seems to have persisted for years as there are complaints about the iPhone XR, too. Aside from the iPhone 12 photos shared by Svetapple.sk, we have not seen similar reports about color loss on other iPhone 12 devices, and this could be a manufacturing defect that’s not widespread.
Apple likely considers the color fading to be a cosmetic issue, so it’s not known if devices that are suffering from color loss will be replaced.