My iPhone 3GS started displaying a completely white screen today. I tried a hard reset, a reset with the volume button, updating through iTunes and restoring back to factory. None of these worked for me.

Some web pages suggest that this is a hardware problem, but my screen would work after reboot. However, the white screen came back each time it went to sleep.

I tried numerous other things and found the real solution completely by accident. After cleaning and reseating the sim card, the white screen was gone. I tested it 5 times, no white screen.

However, it started happening again shortly after. Then it dawned on me: when I reseated the sim, I was working in a brightly lit area. Everywhere else was very dim.

I turned on my phone, got the white screen. I pressed the sleep button and before pressing it again to wake it, I covered the entire top black area of the phone above the screen. SUCCESS! I repeated those steps over and over…

It’s the light sensor! The light sensor went out and is somehow screwing up the display. I opened the phone’s settings and turned off the auto brightness feature and the White Screen Of Death is no more!

I’ll come back and clean up this post later, I thought I’d dump my immediate thoughts in case it can help anyone.

Hopefully this saves someone a trip to the apple store, gets you to September for the iPhone 5 launch or (like me) gives you more time on your iPhone until the next wave of Android phones.

UPDATE: It was unsettling how covering the light sensor worked, considering covering it would mean the phone would think it was pitch black. So I went in and switched the auto brightness back on. Guess what, with the auto brightness on, it still wakes without the WSOD. I guess the complete solution is to reboot, turn the auto-brightness off; put it to sleep; wake; turn auto-brightness back on.

UPDATE #2: Well, that worked for a day or two, now it goes to the white screen whether auto bright is on or off. My new trick is to squeeze the iPhone firmly at the top where the SIM card makes contact with the device. Hope that helps someone out there.

UPDATE #3: Bit the bullet & replaced my iPhone with a sweet Samsung Infuse. There will be no more updates on this post from me. Good Luck to you!

 

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