The iPhone SE puts the power of an iPhone 6S into a smaller, more compact body similar to that of an iPhone 5. Despite this merger of older design and newer hardware, the iPhone SE is a competent smartphone, and a great entry point for those new, or returning, to the iOS operating system. That said, not everyone is having a smooth experience with the device following its launch. Here are some common problems iPhone SE users have reported having, and the various workarounds and fixes for them.
Some new iPhone SE owners have reported being unable to connect to iTunes with the smartphone, or that iTunes doesn’t recognize it. Users are getting the message, “The iPhone cannot be used because it requires a newer version of iTunes. Go to www.itunes.com to download the latest version of iTunes.”
Make sure you’re using the latest version of iTunes: 12.3.3. Apple updated the software in March, adding sync support for the iPhone SE and iPad Pro. Windows users need to have Windows 7 or later to use the latest version of iTunes, while Mac users need to have OS X version 10.8.5 or later.
If the problem persists after updating iTunes, Apple has a helpful guide explaining what to do in the event that iTunes doesn’t recognize your iOS device.
If neither of the above options resolve the issue, you may have to reset your iPhone SE to its factory settings, meaning you’ll have to re-sync the device and all of your data. Make sure you back up everything on your iPhone first, then go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings and see if that helps.
Your final option is to contact Apple directly to see if they have any other solutions.
Issue: Unable to pair to Apple Watch
Like other models of the iPhone, the iPhone SE can also be paired with an Apple Watch. However, some have said they’ve been unsuccessful in their attempts to pair the newest smartphone with Apple’s wearable.
Keep your iPhone SE and Apple Watch within range of one another. Check to make sure that Airplane Mode is off and that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are both on. Try re-pairing.
Update your iPhone SE to the latest version of iOS (currently iOS 9.3.1), then try pairing again.
Make sure another iPhone isn’t already paired with the Apple Watch, as the wearable can only be paired with one iPhone at a time. Open the Watch app on the other iPhone, tap the My Watch tab, then tap Apple Watch > Unpair Apple Watch. Tap again to confirm. Attempt pairing with new phone.
If you no longer have the older phone, erase your Apple Watch. Tap Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. If asked to restore from a watch backup, select the most recent backup. Without an iPhone backup, you’ll need to set up your Apple Watch as if it was new.
Issue: Distorted or static-filled audio when using Bluetooth
A few people are suffering with distorted audio, static sounds, or inaudible phone calls when using an iPhone SE over Bluetooth with a vehicle system or another accessory. This seems to only affect iPhone SE models running iOS 9.3 or 9.3.1. The issue does not appear to be with any single car model, and has reportedly been encountered with vehicles produced by Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jeep, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen.
Restoring the device from a backup, resetting your network settings, un-pairing and re-pairing Bluetooth, toggling cellular data, and changing SIM cards have all been attempted, with varying ranges of success.
Official Apple fix:
The iOS 9.3.2 update addresses this issue: “Fixes an issue where some Bluetooth accessories could experience audio quality issues when paired to the iPhone SE.” Take a look in Settings > General > Software Update to see if you can download and install the recent update.
Issue: iPhone SE not syncing iMessages
Have you found that iMessages sent and received from other iOS devices are not appearing on iPhone SE, but they still appear on other devices? You’re not the only one.
Make sure all devices are linked to the same Apple ID. To sign in and manage your Apple ID settings, head to appleid.apple.com. To check the devices associated with your account, head to the Devices section of your Apple ID account page.
Previous messages and conversations will only appear if the phone has been restored using a backup that contained those conversations. Restoring a device that has already been setup will see those settings and content replaced during the restoration process. You can restore using iCloud or iTunes by following the steps outlined on Apple’s support page.
Issue: Dropping calls
Some users have experienced signal loss and found that their iPhone SE is constantly dropping calls.
Start by updating your carrier settings. Make sure your iPhone is connected to the internet, then tap Settings > General > About. If an update is available, you’ll be met with a prompt to update.
Check your phone settings, too. Turn Airplane Mode on, wait 5 seconds, then turn it off. You should also check your Do Not Disturb settings via Settings > Do Not Disturb.
Turn your iPhone SE off and remove, then carefully reinsert, your SIM card.
Many new iPhone SE owners have found that their batteries are draining quicker than expected, or they’re simply disappointed by how long the battery lasts.
Look at your Battery Usage to see which apps are draining your power the most in Settings > Battery. Change your settings for apps that are the biggest culprits, such as apps working in the background. Tapping on Battery Usage will reveal how long apps have been used and how long they’ve been active in the background.
Consider enabling Low Power Mode in Settings > Battery. It turns off certain features like mail fetch, background app refresh, and automatic downloads. Tap Settings > General > Background App Refresh if you only want to adjust the app refresh settings.
Location Services uses GPS and Bluetooth to determine your approximate location. If you don’t need this, toggle it off by going to Settings > Privacy.
Back up precious files and reset your iPhone SE to its factory settings, then set it up like a new phone without restoring via a backup. If battery life is better, restore using your backup. If the problem comes back, you may need to forgo using that backup or delete third-party apps.
If none of the aforementioned suggestions resolve the issue, contact Apple Support, go to an Apple Store, or visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider to seek a replacement phone or repair.
Issue: Instances of overheating
Some users report their devices are overheating from everyday use, or that they get extremely hot while running games and apps. A side effect of this is often rapid battery drain.
Turn the phone off completely and let it sit until it cool downs. Make sure not to sit it under direct light or near a heat source. Remove the case if you’re using one. Power the phone back on after it cools to see if overheating continues.
Refrain from playing graphics-heavy games, or delete them entirely.
Update to the latest version of iOS. Check you have it in Settings > General > Software Update.
Erase your iPhone’s contents and settings, and restore them from a backup. Use the phone as you would normally, or run games that were causing the overheating issue and see if it returns.
Back up your files, then restore your iPhone to its factory settings and proceed to set it up as a new phone, without restoring your backup. Test to see if the overheating is gone. If it is, then install apps or games one-by-one and test to see if the problem returns.
Issue: Unable to send pictures to Android phones/non-iPhones
A small number of users are unable to send texts and MMS messages to non-iOS devices. Messages will come back almost immediately with a red exclamation point and a message reading, “Not Delivered.”
Check and see if MMS is enabled. Tap Settings > Messages, and under SMS/MMS, you’ll see which settings are enabled.
The contact you’re attempting to send messages to may be blocked. Go to Settings > Messages and you’ll be able to select Blocked to see if anyone has been added.
Restart your device and check for carrier updates via Settings > General > About and software updates via Settings > General > Software Update.
Contact your network provider or carrier. If you recently upgraded from a previous iPhone to the iPhone SE, or just changed phones, your provider may still believe you’re using the old phone. They should be able to make the necessary changes on their end, and get it working after a quick restart of your device.
Issue: Yellow screen
Some users have noticed that their iPhone SE displays are slightly yellower than other iPhone models, instead of the usual white. In other cases, the yellow tint is only around the edges of the display.
Check your Night Shift settings in Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift, to see if the feature has been enabled. The recently implemented feature changes the color of the display to give it a warmer hue once the sun goes down. Messing with the color temperature slider at the bottom may do away with the yellowing, or could be the cause.
Older iPhone models such as the iPhone 5 had a similar problem that people reported running into. In most cases, it was a matter of the adhesive used for the digitizer during the phone’s production, and while it was drying, it would produce the yellow tint. If the iPhone SE problem is anything like the iPhone 5 problem, then the glue should dry within a week, thereby doing away with the yellow color.
If the yellowing persists after following the potential solutions outlined above, contact Apple or your carrier, or schedule an appointment with an Apple Authorized Service Provider to either get the phone repaired or replaced.
Those are all the problems and solutions we have right now, but check back soon for more, or let us know what issues you’re having with the iPhone SE in the comments below.