iPhone 5s Battery/Blue Screen of Death Issues
Hello iFixit users,
I purchased a used iPhone 5s 64GB in excellent condition earlier this year from a reputable seller on eBay and it seems like I have had nothing but problems with it since I got it. It has been displaying the infamous "blue screen of death" symptoms, including flashing a dark blue screen then constantly trying to reboot over and over again. At first, I thought this was just a problem with the phone being overworked at certain times, but when it started to do it almost too often, that's when I realized that clearly, something must be wrong. The problem seems to have gotten worse over time, starting out with a simple blue screen flash and one reboot, later progressing to several blue screen flash-reboot attempts in a row, one after another until the phone finally was able to stabilize itself. It didn't matter if I was using a certain app or trying to unlock the phone -- the blue screen flashes would occur at any given time. Completely random and unexpected. It has gotten to the point that the phone is so terribly unreliable, I have since gone back to using my old iPhone 4 (running iOS 6.0) for the past few months until I can get this figured out.
Something else that's rather strange that I began to notice after this issue began to escalate is that my phone's battery life seemed to take a nosedive. During the first few weeks I used it, the phone would get me through about a 16 hour day, which I was satisfied with because that's what I was used to with my iPhone 4. However, after the blue screen issue got worse, my phone would literally lose 1% battery life every five minutes at idle, and even more with light to heavy use. This includes the brightness set at the lowest possible setting, no apps running in the background, LTE, Wi-Fi, and all cell service disabled (airplane mode). To correct this issue, I purchased a "cheapo" battery from Amazon and installed it myself, which seemed to improve the phone's overall battery life, but not without bringing on another set of issues.
After the battery replacement, I remember leaving the phone to charge and when I returned to check on it and unplug it, it showed a 'Connect to iTunes' screen. I thought this was really strange because I hadn't done anything to the phone except let it sit and charge, so why would it need to be connected to iTunes? I unplugged the charger and waited 30 seconds before the message finally disappeared. After this, I turned the phone on and it operated as normal. This cycle has continued every single time I have needed to charge the phone since. When I leave it to charge, it displays my home/lock screen, and when I return to unplug it, it shows 'Connect to iTunes.' I then have to unplug the charger, wait 30 seconds for the iTunes message to disappear, then turn the phone on and begin using it as normal. I now realize the phone must have been going into recovery/ DFU mode (I think), but I have absolutely no idea why the phone was forced into this state to begin with. I don't recall having any major problems installing the new battery into the phone that would lead to possible damage. Maybe the new battery I installed is faulty? Maybe a new one would correct the issue...?
Another weird thing about the new battery is that it appears to have a minor delay in updating the accuracy of the battery percentage life remaining. For example, I'll use the phone heavily for 20 minutes straight and the battery indicator still shows 100% remaining. Then I'll check the phone about 10 minutes later and it will be at 78% without any use in between. I'll use it again for 5 minutes, let it sit, and the percentage is then at around 64%. The battery life is still much better than the old battery, albeit slightly delayed, but this still does not seem normal to me. Also, while charging idly for about half an hour, the phone becomes completely unresponsive when I go to use it again. It just shows a black screen and no amount of button pressing will get it to wake-up, including removing the charging cable. The only fix for this issue is to let the phone sit for about 24-48 hours and then try to turn it on, which usually works. It's like it dies while charging...?
Over the past 10 months, I have scoured the Internet for hours hoping for a solution to both the "blue screen of death" issue and my newfound battery/DFU mode issue, but to no avail. I have literally tried almost everything to see if I could somehow correct the blue screen of death issue, but no matter how many times I try and truly believe the phone is fixed, it still rears its ugly head out of the blue (no pun intended). I've tried several restore from backup attempts via iTunes , two of which worked great for two consecutive weeks and one of which worked great for three months, but the issue still persists since the last restore in late July. I've basically been letting the phone sit unused in the meantime until I can figure out what to do with it. As I'm sure you can imagine, this is extremely frustrating because I bought the phone to use it on a daily basis in the first place. Lately, it has been good nearly every time I've gone to use it, which has been convincing, but this is with very limited use (about 5 minutes). I'm confident that with heavier use, it will remind me why I've been essentially ignoring it over the past few months.
I contacted the seller I purchased the phone from on eBay and he indicated that he was not aware of this problem with the phone and never would have sold it had it been operating in this condition. He also mentioned that the phone had never had any screen replacements or repairs of any kind; nor had it been dropped hard or exposed to water. I trust the seller because the phone was sold and received in excellent physical condition. Before the sale, he just updated the phone to iOS 9, which is somewhat coincidental because many other 5s owners have reported the "blue screen of death" issue after updating to iOS 9. Upon prying the phone open to replace the battery, I could tell that the phone had never received any other prior repairs judging by the intact seal around the screen where it meets the metal band. In other words, this is an unmolested phone displaying the blue screen of death issue. If the phone had never been tampered with, how could I have long screw trace damage to the motherboard if the phone had all original parts prior to installing the new battery? What would be the reason for this besides the iOS 9 update? This is the only logical explanation I can think of.
With high hopes, I tried the procedure outlined in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEZEfykr..., However, much to my dismay, it didn't correct the issue for me. I'm thinking this is because my phone has never had any previous screen replacements/repairs. It's funny because in the process of trying this little fix, I accidentally pulled up on the phone's screen too much and damaged the home button ribbon flex cable (could it get any worse?). Wish they would have said to be more careful in the tutorial I was watching... Now, with a broken home button, this eliminates the possibility of performing a soft reset when the phone enters the blue screen reboot loop. I don't use iWorks apps (Pages, Keynotes, Numbers) and never have, so I have already ruled that solution out. All iCloud sharing is disabled, so I'm all set there, too. Because I truly believe this is a software issue and not a hardware issue, I hoped the subsequent iOS updates released after iOS 9.0 would fix the issue, but the issue still persists on the current OS (9.3.3). Maybe my possible faulty new battery has aggravated the issue, even though it was blue screening before the battery replacement?
Of course, I looked at this thread before starting a new one:
One response I was particularly interested in regarding both the blue screen/rebooting and battery issues I've been experiencing was the advice from Garry Horne, in which he stated:
"Replacing the battery will help with a depleting battery where the phone constantly dies after little use. For a phone that blue screens or constantly reboots and doesn't change the percentage of power, this is the power module or charge connector that has become damaged so will need replacing.
Hope this helps. It has solved my charge, blue screen, rebooting and battery percentage not dropping issues."
Does anyone think this might help my phone? I'm willing to try this, even though I don't see the logic behind replacing my phone's charging port if the phone charges what appears to be normally besides the weird screen unresponsive-blackout-while-charging issue. I would think that if the charging port needed to be replaced, the phone wouldn't charge at all whatsoever, which is not the case in my dilemma. Basically, this, installing a new battery, and/or purchasing an online iOS software repair kit (https://www.restore-iphone-data.com/fix-...) are my only options besides seeing what Apple can do for me (if anything). The warranty on the phone has long expired so maybe it's not worth the headache trying to repair my 5s if it's going to be expensive. Has anybody had good luck with Apple repair techs/outcomes in the past? My 5s sure was a great phone while it was working as normal...I'm truly hoping it can be revived once and for all and serve me for years to come like my trusty iPhone 4 has.
I know this is a long post but I wanted to thoroughly cover the issues I've been having and didn't want to leave any details out in an effort to gain better advice. Any feedback is appreciated more than words can express.
Thanks in advance!