The Amazing Bendable iPhone 6 Plus, Users Report Warping Of Apple's Big Boy

Apple's iPhone 6 Plus packs a bevy of improvements into its phablet-sized frame -- its battery life dwarfs all previous iPhones, its screen quality and resolution are excellent, it's just six ounces, and a scant 7.1mm thick. As an added bonus, according to a number of MacRumors readers, it's got a hidden feature -- it bends!

And no, we don't mean it bends in a "Hey, what an awesome feature!" sort of way. More like a "Hey, the entire phone is near to snapping" kind of way. What's even more troubling is that many of the users who are reporting bent devices also claim that they were carrying it in front pockets or in a normal fashion as opposed to sitting on it directly.

Bending an iPhone 6 Plus
Image Credit: Unbox Therapy - Example of how much stress it takes to bend the device by hand. 

Obviously, there's no way to check people to ensure they're being honest, but the kind of subtle curves and bends that users have photographed point to fairly normal types of stress (as opposed to slamming one's phone in a car door). In a sense, we've been waiting for this to happen for a long time -- ever since phone manufacturers of all sorts began pushing devices to be relentlessly thinner -- even though doing so compromised battery life, made devices more fragile (advances in glassmaking have been snapped up as an excuse to make thinner screens rather than stronger ones), and led to huge, razor thin products that are nearly impossible to use one handed and have the cross-grain strength of particle board. At 7.1mm, the iPhone 6 Plus is smaller than even the Galaxy Note 3 or the Galaxy S5 -- and while Apple has its own material engineers, the fact is, there's a fundamental limit to how small you can shrink the dimensions of a product.

iPhone 6 Plus as seen in a user's pant pocket. This seemingly normal usage caused warping.
Credit: Russell Holly,

Now what?

When Apple shipped a poor antenna in the iPhone 4, they mitigated the issue by telling people they held their phones incorrectly and handing out case bumpers. A similar approach could work here, but only if Apple is willing to hand out full cases -- or some other form of reinforcing structure.

Barring that, I don't see a way for Apple to meaningfully address the problem, but if this proves widespread, it'll hopefully spur acknowledgment in the industry that this myopic pursuit of thinness is a ridiculous obsession that's harmful for devices in the long term. Simply making products thinner while simultaneously making them wider and taller only makes it harder to hold them.

Incidentally, the reason you end up with pieces from insurers praising the iPhone 6 while stories like this surface, it means one of two things. Either some of the iPhone 6 Plus hardware is defective (the vastly preferable option) or it's because the tests run by other venues are putting different kinds of stress on the chassis. It's not clear what the story is -- hopefully Apple will clarify in the very short term.