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I was traveling by air very recently, and once I got home I noticed that the button on my iPhone 6 seemed to be more deeply recessed. After a while I realized that this did not make any sense mechanically, so I removed the Rhinoshield phone protector and discovered that the front of my phone was slightly pulled out!!

How this happened I do not know, but the timing seems to be related to my last trip through airport security; Hong Kong. However the phone is old and was opened several years ago for a screen repair, so I supposed it might have somehow spontaneously popped open.

I don't know if it was surreptitiously opened or not, but if so, why might this happen, and what if anything might have been done to it?

The poor quality photos are from my laptop. I have turned off the power of the phone right now for safety reasons.

enter image description here

  • The thing that jumps to mind is sticking some kind of chip inside (soldered on to the board to infect the OS, just glued to the case for tracking, wtv). Even just opening the case and sticking something to the inside would be hard to pull off at the X-ray machine while you're watching. Was the phone ever out of your sight for a significant period of time? – Mike Ounsworth Aug 18 '17 at 18:28
  • @MikeOunsworth completely out of sight for something like 60 to 90 seconds I would guess, it's they way they were doing it at that moment. It doesn't seem like enough time to do much at all. That's why I've asked this question, it doesn't really make any sense. I'm guessing that it's probably just a coincidence. edit: however it may force me to leave it somewhere for service for a much longer time, but that would not be in HK. So again, it wouldn't make sense. – uhoh Aug 18 '17 at 18:38
  • @uhoh Soldeirng something in in 60sec, if the iron is hot already and so on, is not impossible... – deviantfan Aug 18 '17 at 19:28
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    Perhaps battery failure? LiPo batteries tend to swell when they fail, which can cause damage like this. If it's within warranty I'd just get Apple to replace it. – Polynomial Aug 18 '17 at 20:41
  • @Polynomial the battery is indeed going downhill these days, this sounds like the most likely scenario in fact. Rather than delete the question, it might be OK to answer this one myself as a good example of level-headed thinking. – uhoh Aug 19 '17 at 3:37
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I thought about deleting the question, but leaving an answer in this case might serve as a good example. In a comment above it was pointed out that a failing iPhone battery can sometimes swell and cause problems like this.

This is in fact the case that my battery is failing. I never thought to connect an electrical phenomenon with an opened phone, but batteries can be clever this way.

So by far the simplest explanation is that my known-to-be-failing battery swelled and popped the display out, and the timing is pure coincidence.

The level heads at stackexchange have once-again prevailed.

Here's what the battery looks like after I had it replaced:

enter image description here

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