iPhone owners with ‘phantom vibration syndrome’ can try these steps for relief

A green iPhone 13 resting atop a green iPhone 13 Pro, on a bright pink background
(Image credit: Future)

If you've ever picked your phone out of your pocket only to discover that the vibration you just felt wasn't actually a vibration at all, you might be suffering from something called phantom vibration syndrome, or PVS.

PVS is something that people have suffered from for years and it's generally associated with the belief that those people use their iPhones too much. If that's the case, the theory is that you could just reduce the amount of time you spend doomscrolling Twitter. But is there anything else you can try?

Actually, yes. There are.

Some things to try

Rehan Ali from Uswitch believes that there are some things that can be done to try and reduce the number of times you pick your iPhone up, only for there to be nothing new to look at.

“Try disabling vibration alerts on your phone or set your mobile to ring rather than vibrate. This will get you used to not experiencing any phone vibrations at all," Ali suggested in an email to iMore. "You could also turn up your ringer volume so you’re not as reliant on vibrations."

Another option is to change your iPhone's vibration pattern to something new. "This change might help your brain differentiate between real and phantom vibrations more easily," Ali suggests.

Finally, Ali does also believe that minimizing the amount of time on your iPhone might help. Tools like Screen Time could help here, but a fair amount of willpower will be needed regardless.

Using our phones less isn't always easy, though. And with Apple about to announce its best iPhones yet later this year, it's a safe assumption that we'll all want to use our new iPhone 15 even more than our old model.

Apple is expected to announce the new iPhones this fall, likely in the first couple of weeks of September.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.