What's causing the Nexus 6P glass visor to crack?

AndroidPIT Nexus 6P cracked glass visor 2
© NextPit

Some of you might have seen the Reddit thread a while back where several Nexus 6P owners shared images of their phones with a cracked glass visor on the back. While many probably suspected that the Redditors had secretly dropped their device or otherwise abused it, I can now say from personal experience that the Nexus 6P lens glass does indeed spontaneously crack.

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Here's what happened to me: I was out buying a Christmas tree in the relatively chill weather, around five degrees Celsius or so. I pulled out my two-month-old Nexus 6P to snap a photo of the tree I'd just bought, and heard a “crrck” sound.

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Some Redditors claim their Nexus 6P broke while it was simply sitting on a table. / © ANDROIDPIT

It didn't quite catch in my head at the time, but when I got home and checked the pictures, I realized that the smears in the photos were definitely caused by not grease on the lens. I took a look at the back of the phone and saw the exact same crack pattern that all those Redditors had shared in their images. My glass had broken as spontaneously as I now believe theirs did.

Huawei's response

I contacted Huawei directly and got the following, rather uninspiring, response: “Huawei is committed to the highest levels of craftsmanship and quality in the devices we build. During development the Nexus 6P went through rigorous testing to ensure the device can withstand what occurs during normal use.

“While there are certain elements and environments that can’t be controlled, we continue to test the Nexus 6P and every phone we make to ensure our customers receive the highest quality devices.”

AndroidPIT Nexus 6P cracked glass visor 1
It doesn't seem like going from a warm pocket to cool air could do this. / © ANDROIDPIT

I can assure everyone out there that the way I used the phone was nothing beyond normal. If anything, because of the silly Bendgate and cracked visor stories in the early days, I was even more careful with my Nexus 6P than I would normally be. I then started to wonder about then wandered to the “certain elements and environments” that Huawei mentioned.

Possible culprits

Environmental factors

It was chilly that night, to be sure, but nothing out of the ordinary, and certainly nothing extreme. I somehow doubt that the transition from the warmth of my pocket to the 5ºC air counts as an extreme change in weather environments.

Nevertheless, I took to the internet to look for more information on the possibility that temperature fluctuations might be responsible and came across this rather telling video by JerryRigEverything.

Jerry subjects two Nexus 6Ps to some pretty serious temperature changes in a very short amount of time – up to 200 degrees in less than 30 seconds. Nothing happens to his glass visors, even though it's tempting to consider the expansion and contraction of metal as the cause of mysteriously cracked glass. So if Jerry's Nexus 6Ps could stand this vast change in temperature, why couldn't mine (or the one belonging to other folk on Reddit) handle a mild change? If the weather were the culprit, it would have been Nexus 6P armageddon as we enter the winter months in the Northern hemisphere.

A bad batch of Gorilla Glass

The problem didn't seem to affect all Nexus 6P owners out there – at least, not yet – so perhaps it was simply a bad batch of Gorilla Glass. The way glass is tempered to make it stronger can occasionally have the opposite effect, making it weaker instead.

This is unusual, but it is possible. It's also perfectly feasible that a small batch of bad glass could have made it past Huawei's quality control. In the age of the internet even, even if only 10 people are affected, you're still likely to hear about it. So perhaps all Nexus 6Ps aren't a time bomb waiting to go off. 

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Huawei decided not to include a rubber gasket between the metal frame and glass visor. / © ANDROIDPIT

Lack of a gasket

One other possibility sits kind of in between the temperature fluctuations and bad batch of glass theories, and relates to the lack of a rubber gasket surrounding the visor glass in the metal frame of the Nexus 6P.

The theory goes that the expansion and contraction of both the metal and glass without a buffer in between could actually exacerbate any imperfections in the glass, causing it to break. It is noteworthy that Huawei neglected to include a rubber binding around the visor in the Nexus 6P, but one can only assume this is because it didn't feel it needed one rather than a gross oversight.

Another example of a cracked Nexus 6P visor from Reddit. / © Backglasscrack123 (Reddit)

Google's response

Not knowing whether this is likely to become a more widespread concern for Nexus 6P owners globally, I also contacted Google for an official comment. I wanted to know how many incidents had been reported thus far and what the official line was for anyone suffering from this problem on a device bought through the Play Store.

At the time of publication I haven't received that comment, but will update this article when it comes in. From what I can tell from anecdotal evidence scattered around internet forums and Reddit, it seems that Google tends to redirect general claims to a retailer and those retailers tend to fend them off to Huawei.

But if you bought a Nexus 6P from Google Play, you at least have Google's Nexus 6P warranty on your side, which states: “If you purchased your Nexus 6P on the Google Store, contact us for information about refunds, exchanges, or repairs. Your satisfaction is important to us and we want to help.” Google also refers to the limited manufacturer's warranty in the Nexus 6P packaging.

Update: Google has officially declined to comment on this issue, but has agreed with our flagging of the Nexus 6P warranty linked to above.

nexus6P backglass
Another Reddit example of cracked Nexus 6P rear glass. / © Freshprinceofsf (Reddit)

Should you be worried?

That's a tough one. I was aware of the problems and been extra careful with my phone and it still broke after a couple of months, for no reason that I can discern. Will the same thing happen to yours? I can't say.

Without knowing the cause of the issue – temperature, manufacturing defect, lack of a gasket or something else entirely – it's impossible to know just how widespread the problem might be. Until Huawei or Google comes out with an official explanation for the breakages, we won't know for sure.

One thing I do know is that Huawei is testing the devices that get returned to find out what happened. Assuming something consistent comes up, it stands to reason that Huawei will go public and either recall the specific batch affected or offer a free replacement or repair offer to anyone affected.

Of course, you'll have to satisfy Huawei that your breakage isn't the result of you dropping the phone, but if it isn't then you should have nothing to worry about. I'll be following this story closely and will be sure to let you know when new details emerge.

If you've been affected, be sure to contact Google or Huawei directly and share your story in the Google Nexus help forum.

Has this happened to you or someone you know? What do you think is causing the problem? Tell us in the comments.

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  • steve Sep 26, 2016 Link to comment

    I had one coming up to a year now, I've dropped it a a few times(it does have a case on it) and no problem so far.

  • Agneta May Jan 30, 2016 Link to comment

    THIS IS THE END, only 6 days passed since I bought Nexus 6P, when suddenly its back camera glass broke. While the smartphone was lying on the table, the glass cracked ON ITS OWN with a loud and clear sound. The Warranty made an examination, did not determine any defects in the product, and, eventually, offered to replace the glass for 60 EUR. Huawei International Support does not respond to my emails. Dear Huawei, you were given a nice opportunity to prove that you CAN make Nexus devices. So prove it…

    • Nickname303 Jan 30, 2016 Link to comment

      Hi Agneta, sorry to hear of your experience. How can they say that there's no defects when the glass has broken? That's ridiculous! And to expect you to pay 60 Euros to fix THEIR faulty product shows what they think of you. They don't care now that they've got your cash, in fact, now they've sold you a faulty device, they want to take even more money from you to fix it! I would never buy a Huawei device now after reading about the way they are treating customers over this. If this is their idea of customer service then they can go and take a running jump. You should have some consumer rights backing you up legally, but it depends which country you're in. I hate seeing people treated like fools by companies like this. I hope you can get things sorted out and that Huawei is made to see the error of their ways in one way or another

  • Neomanis Kennedy Dec 28, 2015 Link to comment


    After some research, I discovered my problem is not with you , but with the Androidpit for providing a forum for people such as yourself. They don't mind publishing rude, insulting , ramblings such as yours. And they have no problem with insulting CEOs of major world wide companies. Making ridiculous statements , like they have more money than the U S government. The US assets are worth more than a mile high mountain of cell phones They don't seem to mind insulting our legal system for solving disputes. But that is how we do it in the US. Do you know a better way ? I would like to here your thoughts on this.And they are real optmist when they are expecting a world wide financial meltdown. The Androidpit is pitiful and you are one of their own. Don't bother replying and forget answering my question I am signing of for good from this site

    • Nickname303 Dec 28, 2015 Link to comment

      Well at least youve finally realised that it's no use trying to justify your stance anymore. Youve still refused to answer my questions though! And now you're running away to hide. Oh well, you undoubtedly do have the same sentiments as Google, I think you've proved that now

      Forums like this are provided for people to discuss their views. I'll tell you how it works. You say what you think about a topic and some people may agree with you, some may disagree. If your point is a valid one you will have many ways of justifying and proving your point of view to the people who disagree. If your ideas are ridiculous (like yours) then you struggle to back up your theory and are unable to answer simple questions about that theory (again like you). In the end youve realised that you can't win an argument with a theory that has been flawed from the start.

      If you're so disillusioned with some of the things Android Pit has been saying you should have used the comments on those topics to argue your case against what they've said that you think is so ridiculous. But that would have no doubt been as successful as your attempts on this topic.

      Enjoy your life without Android Pit, we will sure as hell enjoy life without you and your inane rambling

  • Dan Hoover Dec 25, 2015 Link to comment

    Google bricked my 2013 N7 with the lollipop update. I went from a perfectly good device to one that won't boot. Like hundreds/thousands of other users because mine was purchased at best buy (on the first day of availability) Google took zero responsibility... And they ACTIVELY broke my device.

  • Dana Uy Dec 24, 2015 Link to comment

    This has already occurred to me.
    My rear glass cracked on it's own in a office environment with the phone left on the desk.
    The display screen was facing down and when i turned my head to look at the phone, i was like WTF?
    I've contacted Huawei and i was advised they've heard a few people reporting the same issue and i should contact my service provider to have the rear glass replaced under warranty.
    i have not once drop this phone and it is very well protected with a nexus case.

    I was thinking about selling this phone after getting the rear glass replaced but the phone is too good to leave my hands.

    • Futuristic A. Dec 24, 2015 Link to comment

      I don't understand why they would ask you to call the service provider. I would battle that out with Huawei, as they are the manufacturer. Google replaced my first Nexus 6P with a second and it works perfectly.

      • Dana Uy Jan 18, 2016 Link to comment

        Both Huawei and Service provider refused to replace the visor\device...

      • Nickname303 Jan 26, 2016 Link to comment

        Well, well, well. This situation just gets better and better doesn't it? First Google refuse to even comment on the problem, and now their partners in crime, Huawei, refuse to fix the problem too. It never ceases to amaze me the contempt with which companies treat the people who have spent their hard earned money purchasing their products. Dana, I don't know where you are in the world, but here in the UK consumers have a LEGAL right to either a repair, replacement or refund if a product is faulty. Huawei would be breaking the law to refuse to sort out your problem here, although this doesn't stop some companies still trying to fob us off sometimes. Surely you got some sort of warranty when you purchased the phone? How can Huawei refuse to honour the warranty? The product is obviously faulty and they even acknowledge that many people have complained about it, so they know that it's an inherent fault with their product. I hope you get it sorted out somehow, although the way its being dealt with so far is pitiful

      • Dana Uy Jan 27, 2016 Link to comment

        Hi Nickname 303,
        I am from Australia, also contacted the Australia Consumers and they've directed me Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman to handle the situation for me.
        After Huawei and Vodafone refused to support my problem, I sent a complaint to Huawei via Facebook.Their supervisor contacted me they've asked me to contact this a specific company who can replace the visor under my own expense.

        Either way, I've looked up this place and read negative feedbacks that it took 4-6 weeks to get their screen replaced. I am not going to go phoneless for that long and I am so over this drama,... I've actually ordered the Visor and double sided tape to fix this issue myself.

      • Nickname303 Jan 27, 2016 Link to comment

        Hi Dana,
        It completely sucks that these days many people find themselves in your position of having to sort out the problem themselves, and at their own expense. Customer service and satisfaction seems to be something that doesn't bother alot of companies anymore. And they obviously aren't bothered about brand loyalty either, because treating customers like this will only lead to them not wanting to buy any other products from them in the future. Huawei has been gaining a decent reputation for producing good phones at competitive prices. I was going to be considering their phones next time I need to upgrade mine. I say WAS though, because I doubt I would buy one of their phones now after hearing this. I hope you successfully fix your phone, and that you steer clear of Huawei products in the future if this is how they're going to treat you

      • Dana Uy Jan 27, 2016 Link to comment

        Thanks for understanding. Huawei only offers 1free screen replacement but not the visor.
        In the end, I have to end up fixing it myself, order should come through in a few weeks.. Let's hope I don't make things worse...

      • Nickname303 Jan 27, 2016 Link to comment

        Well I know you said that you're done with the drama and just want a phone that works again, but just remember that as soon as you start trying to fix it yourself you will be giving up all rights to a repair/replacement etc. So be certain that you don't wanna carry on fighting to get it fixed by Huawei/service provider before you try to fix it yourself. I would imagine it would be pretty simple to fix though. Good luck, and let me know how it goes

  • Tahmid Khan Dec 24, 2015 Link to comment

    I live in Alberta and have taken my nexus out even in -16 to -20 degrees celcius, I admit I was worried about this but nothing has happened to my nexus 6p.

  • Nickname303 Dec 24, 2015 Link to comment

    "Google officially declined to comment" Really Google? You have no problem promoting your phone so that people will spend their hard earned money buying it, yet when things start going wrong you suddenly lose your tongue? If you're selling faulty products you should acknowledge there's a problem and make it clear to consumers what they can do to get it sorted out. You shouldn't hide like a scared child. Totally unacceptable in my opinion. Get your act together Google. I don't own a Nexus 6P but this sort of thing really pisses me off

    • Neomanis Kennedy Dec 24, 2015 Link to comment

      Only one comment after one day, and it comes from someone who does not even own a nexus 6P. And this person is Jolly about knocking Google. I do own a nexus 6P and I have had no problems at all, no cracking , no bending no reception problems .NO PROBLEMS AT ALL. So , to all of you who are on either side of these issues, please speak up ! And Merry Christmas to all !!!!!!

      And to the critic above. I suggest that He stop crying like a child. AND DREAM OF SUGAR PLUMBS DANCING IN HIS HEAD.

      • Nickname303 Dec 24, 2015 Link to comment

        So youre telling me that if the glass on your nice relatively new 6P suddenly cracked tomorrow, like has happened to other people, you wouldn't give a f**k? You would be happy with Google just declining to comment on the reason why your expensive phone has a fault? People like you are the reason that Google thinks they can get away with being arrogant like that, because you let them get away with that kind of shit. If you think it's ok for a multi billion dollar company to take your hard earned money, then decline to even comment let alone give helpful advice when it develops a fault, then I guess there's no hope for you. You may have no fauIts with your phone (yet), good for you. But for the unfortunate people who HAVE had problems, Google isn't exactly bathing itself in glory at the moment. I guess you're the sort of person that as long as yours is working OK you don't give a damn about other people out there who have been disappointed with this. I hope the glass breaks on yours, because it obviously won't bother you one bit and you will just go out and buy another one. And im not "being jolly" about knocking Google. This sort of arrogant bad attitude pisses me off no matter who the company is, I don't have any vendetta against Google specifically. Merry Christmas

      • Neomanis Kennedy Dec 24, 2015 Link to comment

        I am sorry I echoed your own words regarding childish behavior. But I'm still hearing Nexus 6P nonownership negativity blaring aloud. But now it's directed at Google and Me. Tell me how many people have had problems with cracking camera visors ? Do you know ? I can tell you Google and Huawie know and they are working on the problem , no matter how big or small. It seems to me that far to many people blame companies like Google and Apple just to blow off steam. Give them time , these companies seem to always come through in the end.

        And remember these multi billion dollar companies need us . Remember us , We are the customers. Yes there will be many more complaints from you or a few of the billions of people who are texting and talking away on their smartphones each day.

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