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No, hisses and buzzes aren't unique to iPhone 7 and aren't a problem

iPhones 7 in black and jet black.
iPhones 7 in black and jet black.

First, it was iPhone 7 Home buttons and capacitive gloves, now it's iPhone 7 making a "hiss" or "buzz" sound. Every year, the tidal wave that is iPhone launch attention sweeps up all sorts of "gates" in its wake, and it can be difficult and confusing to sort the real from the imagined.

We've now spent almost a day testing both iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, as well as the last two generations of iPhone, all recent iPads, recent Macs, peripherals like routers, and other electronic devices. And here's the deal:

They all make the same noises, and all to differing degrees. I initially thought iPhone 7 Plus might be louder, but after putting a series of devices through high-intensity CPU/GPU activity, which pulls much more power than normal daily use, they all sounded roughly the same. That includes the MacBook Pro I'm typing this on right now.

It also makes sense, given the people who noticed the noise did so while their new iPhones were restoring, which migrates libraries, re-indexes data, and otherwise puts the system through heavy load.

Since many people have now reported hearing the same sound from other devices across a wide range consumer electronics and brands, and hardware engineers around the internet have commented and tweeted explaining what the sound is and why it's not only normal but expected, it seems highly likely nothing out of the ordinary is going on. (I'd say "almost certainly", but I try not to mistake my writing for an engineering degree!)

Perhaps there's something about the new iPhones that makes the sound louder and more noticeable, or perhaps it's because everyone is hyper-vigilant following the Galaxy Note 7 recall.

Regardless, there doesn't seem to be anything to be concerned about, not with the processors, the batteries, nor the radios. So go back to setting up your new iPhones, and enjoy!

Updated to reflect additional testing and information.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

142 Comments
  • My 6 has had a buzz from the earpiece every time I'm on a call. Did a restore and still does it. Guess I'll use my Bluetooth headsets from now on. This is nothing new for me. Sent from the iMore App
  • Has anyone considered its just heat? Like if you create heat in an enclosed space, something is going to boil and burst. Maybe its just the heat escaping from the CPU/GPU chip? These phones are getting as fast it seems, at least according to Geekbench as our computers now in some ways. Some heat is radiated through the metal case, but inside, even now that its more sealed from water, might mean a more narrow space for heat to escape. I have no idea though. Its not often I've had my iPhone SE under load like that. Only on the iOS update recently and didn't hear anything.
  • It has nothing to do with heat... This is normal for any kind of circuitry:
    http://superuser.com/questions/19968/processor-noise-what-generates-it
    I used to have a Dell Latitude that was super loud that way... Same for the out of the box Nexus 5 charger... Could not use that one in the bedroom because the buzzing would drive me mad.
  • If that is required to hear then I really don't care because I never use my phone in that manner. I also don't stare at my screen in the dark on full bright or full dark looking for screen issues.
  • My Nexus 5 never buzzed Posted from my Nexus 6P
  • It does, it just might be a bit quieter. Run GeekBench then put the phone to your ear, you'll hear it
  • But what about the charger, which is what they were actually referring to? I've had a number of chargers that were included with phones make weird noises.
  • Ah ok, that kind of noise. Very common, even my battery charger makes a certain type of high pitched noise when charging. Its more annoying but never heard anything on my SE for me to notice. I have apple's leather case on it also so probably helps to quiet things down.
  • I've also got the leather case on my 6s Plus and have not heard any sound either. Sent from the iMore App
  • Perhaps, but they are also running less hot than they used to as well GPU's/CPU's.
  • I have never noticed it on my iPhone 6s Plus. What are you running to demonstrate the problem?
  • Run geek bench and hold the back of the phone, near the camera lens, to your ear. Side by side a 6s and a 7 I have here both do this although the 7 is a tad louder. Nowhere near as bad as some notebooks though and, at least for my 35 year old ears, not audible at the usual arms length...
  • That is exactly what I tried after I posted. I guess, in this particular case, being 55 and a former DJ has an upside. My hearing cuts off at about 13kHz.
  • I wonder if the redesigned antenna bands is the cause for the louder sound. Sent from the iMore App
  • If it is, then it's a case of switching one "issue" for another. These devices are built in an incredible way to still remain looking great whilst housing powerful hardware, something has to give. A bit of coil whine though shouldn't be a big deal, but if it is it seems Apple will replace the device
  • Oh boy... Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • You will have coil whine on your phone as well, whatever you're using :)
  • Nothing. I promise you. Even under long term VR use there is no whine. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Same here. Went into an isolation booth(the shower stall) and ran Benchmarks and others and my 6 makes no sound whatsoever.
  • Would you please stop calling minor controversies "-gate"? It's behind time to move on and it's only journalists that keep it going.
  • I thought I was the only one who finds this mind numbingly irritating. The seem goes for words that end in -erati.... Seriously...
  • You are not alone. Gate-gate needs to stop. There has never been a gate that has measured up to the original gate anyway. (That would be Watergate for you young ones. :) )
  • I hate all of "gate" scandal reporting... Watergate was a hotet. Now every so called journalist and ba-ba person puts gate on things to be cool... I try to to see it as a short for "investigate"... But even still it is silly. I just hate trendy stuff... But maybe Rene does too... Yet this click bait term gets the masses attention...
  • Yeah, I agree...it's a nightmare. It's as if every iPhone launch has to have its requisite clutch of articles describing what's wrong with it: http://www.macworld.com/article/3121864/ios/it-s-always-something-findin...
  • This is called Coil Whine. You'll notice it happens on other iPhones as well - as you mentioned in the article. I have my SE to test right now. Put the Apple logo by your ear and do something on the phone. Scrolling, opening an app, etc. You'll hear the strange noise. It's pretty faint compared to what some people are reporting with the 7, and frankly, I had no idea about it until I've started reading these reports on the issue.
  • Never noticed it on my 6+ or Ipad Pro 9.7 even if gaming. If I have to put my ear up to the logo on the back to heaR it then I consider it a non-issue.
  • Yep, for sure. I think the words "you're holding it wrong" definitely apply here!
  • what coils do you think are in the iPhone, especially near the logo?
  • Mine has oddly started brewing black coffee in the morning when I have the alarm set to every day. It makes a percolating sound from around the area of the lightning port. I did notice it with my iPhone 6 Plus but the coffee was not as dark as with my matte black iPhone 7.
  • I hear a very faint hiss from my iP7plus, but it has to be held to my ear. I hear a similar hiss from my Samsung Note 5 and older Note 4. Seems like it pretty typical.
  • Running all these Geekbench tests, I can definitely conclude that the iP7p, blows away my 1 year OLD note 5. Single core is 2.5x faster and multi core is 45% faster. :)
  • You are like the best Apple defender. For a minute take a deep breath with the help of your Apple watch and relax. Don't have to shoot down every complaint people have with their new iPhones. Sent from the iMore App
  • You might practice what you preach.
  • Sounds similar to what happens when you have Dynamic Frequency Scaling turned on? My laptop does it, But fortunately I could turn DFS off on the laptop. If this noise is audible from my phone when it's sitting on the desk, and not being held right up to my ear, I will find that quite annoying.
  • I only noticed the buzzing sound on my 6s after doing a screen replacement, so I wasn't that sure if this sound was there originally. If it was, then I am okay with it. It buzzes only when my screen is turned on. I almost went back to Apple store to report about the buzzing sound, but it seems now I might not need to.
  • I ran a benchmark - ice storm and I put my 6s next to my ear and I hear a very faint sound intermittently. Could be worse , I could of set my ear on fire Sent from the iMore App
  • that is how my note 7 started
  • I can say I've not heard any of fore mentioned, but since updating my Apple Watch vibrates for no apparent reason and does some weird chimes even though it's on silent. At first I thought I imagined it, alas, no! It's happening for sure!!! Plus, very glitchy notifications of an occasion. Sent from the iMore App
  • I just benched my 6s, and my iPad mini 4. Not a peep from them.
    I've never heard bussing with that volume on any mobile device since coil whine on a Treo 750.
  • What conditions does one have to create to recreate this sound? I've never heard any noise in my use. If one must create a very specific set of conditions then this seems silly and like something normal people will never experience. Thus no need to report on it.
  • It's essentially just when you're doing something resource-intensive, like playing a game or exporting a video from iMovie. The easiest way to replicate it is to use something like Geekbench as some people have done in this article, as this benchmarks your iPhone hardware by running it at max-capacity (don't worry, it won't do any damage to your phone!)
  • Well if I have to do that just to hear a noise then it seems like a non-issue. All computers will make a noise when they are stressed. That's how processing works.
  • I've no doubt that Apple will have noticed this during testing and deemed it a non-issue. This is bendgate all over again, you won't hear anything about this in a couple months time
  • I've never noticed any sound, like the ones I've heard today with 7's, coming out of any phone or tablet. Nothing like this at all. That is a pretty loud, distinctive coil type sound. Concerning, for sure. It could just be a few batches are having issues. I'll let you guys know when I get my 7+...which is hopefully next week.
  • I think it's not bcoz we are being too sensitive, I've been using iphone since 3gs... I have tested my sister's 6s+ as well, and not even a sound on the back under heavy load.... Plus I can hear the sound on my i7+ even when it's in flight mode... I have tested every possibility to see what exactly cause this problem... and the sound appears as soon as you turn on the screen.... not even downloading or doing anything on my iphone... so it's not caused by heavy load I can be sure of that..
  • btw I have tested more than five i7+, and they all got the strange sound... i7 not that noticeable... but still has the sound..
  • Coil noise would be my guess. If it makes anyone feel better, my nearly-3yr-old 5S does this, too. :)
  • With this, the screen issue (dim, too warm) and the complaints on the headphone adapter, I'm thinking of canceling my order, and stick with my 6+. Sent from the iMore App
  • I've not heard any complaints on the adapter itself, just people missing the headphone jack, and the people complaining about the headphone jack being removed mostly haven't actually bought and tried the phone yet. The coil whine happens with other iPhones too, it's just a bit louder on the iPhone 7 and you're only going to possibly hear it if you're playing a resource intensive game like a 3D one. I'd go to an Apple Store and try an iPhone 7 in store, if you find the screen ok in-store then I wouldn't worry about the rest of the "issues" as in some way they're not really issues
  • My 6 hisses. I'm used to it now and honestly it never bothered me before and it doesn't bother me now. My HTC One M7 also hissed. People do like to find fault with the latest and greatest devices, regardless which manufacturer they come from
  • Essentially devices today are being pushed to their limits, something has to give if you want a really powerful phone, and I think a bit of Coil Whine (which as you state happens on other phones) isn't really much of an issue
  • No noise yet since Friday. iPhone 7 Sent from the iMore App
  • You're obviously listening wrong, and therefore you're hearing it wrong!
  • This is ridiculous. Get over it people Sent from the iMore App
  • Don't notice anything with wife's 6s, but hear hiss on my iPhone 7. Its real, going to return to Apple Store later today if they have a replacement available Sent from the iMore App
  • you are the phone the wrong way - just like antennagate
  • Lol this is why i never buy on launch days. Will wait till black Friday sales. Sent from the iMore App
  • This "issue" happens with all phones, including the one you're currently using to post that comment
  • Nope it doesnt happen with every device. Not at all with 6s. See unbox therapy's video. Sent from the iMore App
  • It might be a lot quieter but it's there, run Geekbench on the phone then put the back of your phone right to your ear
  • Some iphone owners are saying it's occurring without heavy load as well. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • One person reports and issue and the other person exaggerates it, same happened with bendgate, antennagate, the list goes on… it's coil whine, it can only really happen under load
  • No issue with my iPhone 6 either.... Not sure if there was any..
  • Media told you that did it ?
  • I think my Palm III had this, I was kinda worried about it at the time. I looked it up and realized it's no big deal. After a while you don't notice it... and it only happens under load so you don't even get to hear it that often.
  • Nothing is ever an issue.
  • Uh, well, some things are, but this isn't. Happens with all devices under load
  • Considering I actually have very good hearing for high frequency sounds and regularly experience cases where I can hear high-frequency whine of electronics I can tell you that this does not happen to even a notable fraction of devices. I'm used to changing my phones 4-6 times per year too and not one has had this problem, ever. This includes my 6s Plus.
  • Only audible on iphone 7, not on 6s Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm assuming you've tested these next to each other in the same conditions then?
  • I've tested these under the same conditions, yes. My usage pattern and environment don't change day to day. They are consistent. Further to this, as somebody who can easily hear high frequency sounds emitted by faulty or badly dampened electronics, I can't emphasize enough how distracting or problematic this can be. Not everyone will be equally sensitive, but some of the current reports on the problem indicate that this isn't at all subtle or normal. Any other questions?
  • Seriously? This is ok and justified? If anyone was unconvinced that Rene would never say anything bad, here is proof positive. A company like Apple that prides itself on hardware design, power efficiency and user experience should not let this happen. I have used a new device each year for over 5 years and never heard of this in my life. Even with lengthy use of VR which puts a great deal of stress on a device, I have never come across this.
    At least call this out as something Apple needs to address. Regardless of whether or not it affects operation, someone paying over $700 for their phone should not be subjected to this. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Yea I give them the benefit of the doubt but if I hear something on my 7 but not my 6s doing the exact same thing, there's a problem. Be better.
  • I completely agree 110%! If you're getting a 7 Plus with 256gb and AppleCare+ you're spending over $1100! This should not be justified. This is a problem on some devices. It might not be all, but why are we saying it's ok? I've had a 6s Plus since December and never once have I heard something similar to this. Some of the sounds that I've heard in a couple of videos should not be justified.
  • They're only slightly louder on the iPhone 7, you could probably only hear it in a quiet room AND when your phone is under load, but the exact same thing is happening on your 6S, just quieter. It's not an issue, just something that was there before but slightly louder due to more powerful hardware
  • <_< Le sigh...-_-
  • "Le memes because I can't generate an intellectual response"
  • You sound like a broken record. I think you've copied and pasted like 25 of the same comments in this discussion. So yes, "le sigh" because I'm sick of reading your dribble. Post your love of all things Apple once and let the rest of the discussion flow. Nobody is asking you to comment on every post yet you feel like you need to. I have a problem followed by your "no you don't". Over and over again. Too bad you can't ignore on here like on Flipboard comments for instance.
  • Thanks. I just assumed that this bad experience was just on the ip7. Didn't realize the precious gen had the same troubles. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • They both have this "problem" that wasn't a problem until the iPhone 7 came out
  • Or maybe it's a more frequent occurrence with the 7?? Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • It's not any more frequent, it's slightly louder. Which is enough for people to go to news websites and for them to create articles and because it has the word "Apple" in it, it will get loads of views. Clickbait is the word
  • Based on what evidence are you claiming that this is not more frequent and only slightly louder? Did you do a statistically sound study? If not, please be quiet because the only anecdotal evidence available right now (and that's the only evidence right now, period) points to this being an issue with the 7 series. There is no evidence to the contrary.
  • Have you actually tried an iPhone 7 and seen if this is "really" an issue? It happens on all high-end devices, it's slightly louder on the iPhone 7, and it will only happen under load. Most likely you wouldn't notice it. It's a non-issue, same as the removal of the headphone jack is a non-issue
  • Steve, why don't you just stop using the CMDOCOS pseudonym? We get it that you have never gotten over your humiliation in laughing at the iPhone when it came out and the tens of billions you lost in mobile, but isn't it time you moved on and shouldn't you be working on improving the Clippers team you bought instead of trolling Apple hate each and every day on a site for Apple enthusiasts and users?? Sad Steve, just sad.
  • Its an issue. I just heard audio on another website. Not normal. I expect a statement soon from Apple that includes the phrase "you're hearing it wrong"
  • Do you own an iPhone 7 and are you hearing this "issue"? It happens with all high-end devices, it's just slightly louder on the iPhone 7 as opposed to the iPhone 6S. It's not an issue, coil whine is normal, and you most likely won't hear it if you own the device yourself
  • The Apple bot is back. You invoke him by putting Apple and problem in the same comment.
  • The trolls are back, you invoke them by simply being on an Apple-related website…
  • The party is over. Why are you still here?
  • If it's "not a problem" why is AppleCare saying it's not normal and doing exchanges?! (But you could count on iMore on writing a defense piece. )
  • Apple have some of the best customer service, and most likely they don't see it as an issue but know that it happens on some devices and not others, depending on the manufacturing process and other variables. As they know it probably only happens with certain devices, they will be willing to exchange a device anyway knowing they can give one that doesn't exhibit this "issue" or at least not as loud anyway, but for most people that have one making a louder coil whine noise they won't go back to Apple because they probably won't notice it in day-to-day usage
  • Are you really just an alter-ego of Rene? Or just clueless? Not sure which at this point...
    Regardless, thanks Apple Bot for the insight! Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Lol he should be paid by apple given his reply in every comment. Sent from the iMore App
  • Shame that you aren't paid at all, trolling doesn't get you any favors
  • Neither, but you're a troll. It's widely known that Apple has some of the best customer service, and if you've ever dealt with Apple's customer service you'd know this yourself. It sounds fanboyish but it's a fact. As for the coil whine you probably won't even notice it… plus it exists on the 6S and many other high-end phones too
  • It must cause you said so. You seem to know better than the many others on here that have the 6s and other high end phones that have never had this issue at all. We must all be lying. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • You never had the issue because it never was an issue, the people that have heard it on the iPhone 7 have only heard it in certain conditions in a quiet room, the same conditions it would take for you to hear it on the 6S. You need to be running the phone at high capacity, and you'll need to be in a quiet room to hear it, same for both the 7 and the 6S. The only difference is that it might be a bit louder on the 7, but the primary thing is that it existed on the 6S as well
  • I have a 6s and there is no noise. Do you have any proof of this?
  • Do you have any proof it exists on the iPhone 7? What even is the proof of this? It's coil whine, it's natural. Most likely you will hear it on a 6S if you run Geekbench and put your ear to the back of the phone, if not then you probably won't notice it on the iPhone 7 either…