A reader shared his iPhone X Suica problem unit exchange experience. It might be helpful to others:
Thank you for your reporting on Apple Pay Suica issues on iPhone X!
I just returned from the Ginza Apple Store. iPhone X replacement granted, it’s a second one for me already. The previous replacement yielded iPhone X manufactured in March 2018, and I was told to test it anyway, try Suica on it and come back if Suica performance is still spotty. I could be wrong but it felt like the March 2018 iPhone X performed much better than my previous Day 1 iPhone, but it still occasionally (say 1 in 50 attempts – absolutely incomparable with Day 1 device) gave me a reader error.
Something to be careful about (for people trying to replace their iPhone X in the future): Apple Store Genius claimed that since I experienced this problem on two different phones now, it must be a software issue caused by corrupt data in iCloud (huh?), so I should nuke all my data, restore phone to factory defaults and NOT restore from any backup – start clean, basically. I very quickly rejected that idea (and anybody given this suggestion in the future should, too) and instead asked for device replacement instead, which was in the end granted.
Since they didn’t have European model of iPhone X in the store (as expected, and exactly as last time), he had to order the phone for me instead. When he was filling in the form for ordering a replacement device, I got the possibly useless, possibly brilliant idea of asking him to please put in a note into the form to request a device manufactured after April 2018. He did exactly that, but I’ll have yet to see if that note had any effect once the replacement device arrives in the store.
Thank you one more time! Without your website, I would have thought that the iPhone X Suica performance is completely normal, and never would have thought that it should work so, so much smoother.
Other readers report getting the same Apple Support “don’t restore from backup” line, it appears to be part of the internal support doc script to weed out exchange requests.
It’s very interesting that the March 2018 manufactured exchange iPhone X unit performed much better than the reader’s original October manufacture iPhone X, but still fell short of the flawless performance of post April 2018 manufacture Revision B iPhone X units.
The revision process must have been fascinating. Was it a supplier who changed a part spec at Apple’s request, was it a modified assembly procedure step implemented after much trial and error, ‘put more coating here, an extra piece of tape there’ kind of thing? The reader experience suggests it was trial and error.
Unfortunately the reader experience also suggests that Apple Support still does not have a handle on the iPhone X NFC problem and how to exchange it, otherwise they would not be giving out exchange iPhone X units made before the April 2018 Rev-B iPhone X unit switchover.