Dark Spot on iPhone Camera?

by Michael on July 20, 2009 · 51 comments

About two weeks ago, I ordered a new iPhone 3Gs from AT&T. It arrived quickly (within two business days) and I rushed over to pick it up. Once activated, I tested it out and everything seemed to be working well, so I headed home.


Unfortunately, once I got home I noticed a dark spot on the iPhone camera. It appeared on the display as a dark spot about the size of the tip of my pinky finger (see below). My first spot was that there was a problem with the display. However, it looked fine in other apps, and the dark spot was actually present in the pictures when I downloaded them from the camera.

Dark Spot in iPhone Camera

Note that the above pic is a crappy photo of a yellow wall in poor light. Not my best work, but it illustrates the problem reasonably well. If only I knew how to take an iPhone screenshot when I was having the problem!

Since the problem wasn’t the faulty display, my next thought was that there must a smudge or some sort of gunk on the lens. As it turned out, however, the lens was as clean as could be. That meant the dark spot must have be coming from inside my beautiful new iPhone.

The next day, I headed back to AT&T and they verified the problem. Unfortunately, once you walk out the door with an iPhone, AT&T can’t (or won’t?) help you. Instead, you have to deal with Apple. The good news here is that Apple service rocks.

All I had to do was call 1-800-MY-IPHONE (1-800-694-7466), explain the problem, and they set up a replacement. They shipped the phone out that afternoon, and I had it the next morning around 10AM. Also, since the 3Gs is such a new model, I got a brand new iPhone instead of a refurb.

Anyway, it seems that this is pretty rare problem, as I couldn’t find any other mentions, even after extensive Googling. While I’ve found multiple reports of dead pixels, black spots caused by a bad spot on the sensor, etc., I haven’t come across any reports of mysterious dark spots. Thus, I thought I’d document the problem here in case someone else runs into it and is likewise compelled to search the web for answers.


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