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My wife's iPhone SE is a couple years old and many drops in (probably average of 1/week at least). It's been rock solid this whole time, but earlier today, it started having horizontal lines going up and down the display, and the lines seem to get more intense if the iPhone is doing some heavy processing or rendering something on the screen.

A picture is worth a thousand words:

Horizontal lines on iPhone SE display

And a video is worth a thousand more: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1J9lbanGn2kJjAWpwKJxgnOkVWpWQJDV0/view?usp=sharing

I tried resetting the phone, updating to iOS 11, and shutting it off, waiting a while, then turning it back on, but nothing seems to get the lines to go away completely. My wife said it was intermittent at first, but it seems to be happening all the time now that I'm trying to debug it.

Any ideas? Do I need to replace the front panel assembly (e.g. using replacement from iFixIt)? Or could this be something deeper that would require more work/replacement than it's worth?

  • Seeing the lines in the apple logo screen makes me thinks it's a hardware issue, though I'm really just guessing. A lot of posts online I found searching for: "Iphone scanlines" and "iphone vertical lines" and "iphone horizontal lines" seem to suggest reseating the screen cable or replacing the whole screen are possible fixes. As a person who hates opening apple products, I'd bring it to Apple store or a third party repair shop. – Joonas Apr 19 '18 at 6:59
  • Agreed, it is likely screen hardware and not an OS issue. – Steve Chambers Apr 19 '18 at 13:40
  • That's what I feared... so I've ordered the digitizer/screen replacement kit from iFixIt, and we'll see where that goes! – geerlingguy Apr 19 '18 at 23:23
  • But guys the 'Verifying update...' alert doesn't seem to have the lines. Seems like a software issue then wouldn't it? – IIllIIll Apr 20 '18 at 13:46
  • @IIllIIll - There are lines there, too, but in the picture they're slightly harder to see. The lines go over every interface element, but depending on brightness/what's rendered the lines look different on different UI elements. – geerlingguy Apr 20 '18 at 22:24
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As it turns out, it was something in the display assembly. I purchased an iPhone SE LCD Screen and Digitizer Full Assembly from iFixIt, then followed the meticulously-detailed iPhone SE Display Assembly Replacement guide, and after another hard reset, the display was back to its former glory!

One caveat for those replacing the display assembly: When re-assembling, if it's hard to snap the top part of the display into the body of the iPhone, check if there are extra bits of glue or plastic on the new assembly. It seems the iFixIt replacement parts sometimes have an extra bit of goop that needs to be shaved off in order to fit well.

If the display doesn't snap in snugly like the old one, you could end up putting pressure on both the earpiece and vibration motor, which can make sound and vibration features a bit strange (tinny or even nonexistent!) until you fix the problem.

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