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11 annoying problems with the iPhone 7, and how to fix them

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Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The iPhone 7 doesn’t look much different than its predecessors, but the deeper you dive, the more improvements you’ll find. The camera is a great performer, there are dual speakers, and Apple finally made its flagship device water-resistant. If you snagged one, then you’re likely enjoying it, but sometimes a single issue can kill the fun. We’ve been filtering feedback to isolate the main issues iPhone 7 users are running into, and we’ve got some potential fixes and workarounds to put the smile back on your face.

More: Check out 24 of the best iPhone 7 cases and covers for your shiny new phone

Annoyance: No 3.5-millimeter headphone jack

Apple’s decision to kill the headphone jack has, understandably, been very controversial. If you’ve already invested in a killer pair of headphones that rely on the standard port present in every phone up until now, you could be forgiven for being a wee bit peeved. Having to use the Lightning port also means that you can’t charge your iPhone 7 while you’re using headphones. There are some workarounds, but there’s no real solution for this one.

Workarounds:

Problem: iPhone 7 makes a hissing sound

A lot of iPhone 7 owners have been complaining about a mysterious hissing sound coming from the back of the device. It seems to be louder when the iPhone is engaged in heavy lifting, such as when a demanding app or game is running, which suggests that it’s related to the processor. Put your ear next to the Apple logo and run something that requires a lot of processing power to test for yourself. It’s also worth mentioning that many phones and other devices will emit some hissing and other noises when under heavy stress — if you listen closely enough, that is. We just don’t notice it most of the time. This problem was affecting enough people that both Ars Technica and 9to5Mac reported on it.

Potential solution:

  • There’s currently no fix for this, but reports suggest that it’s not something that’s present in every iPhone 7, so you might want to return your handset and get a new one. If it’s really bothering you, then contact Apple, your carrier, or your retailer and ask for a replacement.

Issue: Poor battery life

Battery life for the iPhone 7 should be a lot better than it was for the iPhone 6S, thanks to a larger battery and the more efficient A10 Fusion chip. For a lot of people on the Apple discussion forums, that does seem to be the case, but we’ve also seen some complaints about rapid battery drain, with more recent complaints resulting from the iOS 10.2 update.

Workarounds:

  • If you head into Settings > Battery, you can turn Low Power Mode on to stretch your battery further, but it comes at a cost. Mail fetch, Hey Siri, Background app refresh, automatic downloads, and some visual effects will be reduced or turned off completely. However, you can individually turn off any of these things for a lesser bump in battery life.
  • Take a look under Battery Usage in Settings > Battery and see if any particular app is guzzling too much power. Consider updating, uninstalling, or replacing it.
  • Check out our iPhone battery tips for more ideas.

Problem: Can’t activate a new iPhone 7

A lot of people have trouble activating their new iPhones. If you’re getting a message about the activation server being unavailable, it could be that Apple is simply struggling to cope with the current volume or people trying to access it. You can check the status here — if there isn’t a green box next to iOS Device Activation, then try again later.

Possible fixes:

  • If you’re trying to do it using your cellular connection, then switch to Wi-Fi instead.
  • Try turning your iPhone off and on again by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button and then dragging the slider to turn the device completely off. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again to turn it on.
  • Make sure that iTunes is up to date, and try plugging your iPhone 7 into your computer and completing the activation using iTunes.
  • Contact your carrier and ask if there are any known issues with iPhone 7 activation. You might need to get a replacement SIM card.
  • If nothing has worked, then it’s time to contact Apple.

Problem: Poor phone call/speaker quality

There are multiple threads on the Apple discussion forums full of iPhone 7 owners who have reported this particular problem. People have said that incoming audio sounds distant, or it’s too low to hear. Enough people have even made complaints about this that Apple has since updated a support page in an attempt to help people with sound issues.

Official solution:

  • Go to Settings > Sounds and drag the Ringer And Alerts slider to turn the volume up.
  • If you can get audio out of the speaker, there are several other things you can try:
    • Check the Ring/Silent switch on the side of the phone to make sure it’s not set to Silent (Orange).
    • Make sure your case isn’t blocking the speaker.
    • Restart your iPhone.
    • Clean any dirt, dust, or debris out of the speaker.
    • Launch an app that plays audio or sound effects and adjust the volume using the volume keys or Control Center controls.
  • If you can’t get sound out of the speaker, or nothing changes after trying the aforementioned methods, reach out to Apple Support.
  • It’s been suggested that if your carrier is Verizon, that could be the source of the issue. Reach out to the company’s support here.

Bug: 3D Touch haptic feedback no longer working

This is almost certainly a bug, since 3D Touch continues to work, it’s just that there’s no feedback from the phone indicating that 3D Touch was used. There’s no definitive fix, as the problem has persisted into iOS 10.2, but there are a few things to try.

Workaround:

  • Restarting the phone will temporarily restore haptic feedback.

Potential solutions:

  • Go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics and toggle System Haptics off and on again.
  • Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > 3D Touch to toggle the feature on and off, and to adjust the sensitivity.
  • If you have Skype installed, some have managed to restore feedback after disabling the app’s integration option.

Issue: Phone app crashes and freezes

Many users took to the Apple discussion forums to report that the Phone app will crash or lock up when in the Phone app’s settings, in the Recent Calls list, and while making calls using Bluetooth headsets. Soft and Hard Resets have not fixed the problem, and those who have tried a factory reset have not experienced any changes either.

Potential solutions:

  • Update to iOS 10.2.1 if you haven’t already.
  • If the problem started after an update, the update itself may have installed incorrectly. If possible, restore your device to a backup made before the update was applied, then install the update again.
  • A proposed workaround suggests turning off Exchange contacts. You can do so by going to Settings > Contacts > Accounts, then tap your Exchange account(s) and toggle the Contacts slider off.

Problem: 3D Touch no longer working

The 3D Touch feature is an integral part of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, as it makes it easier to interact with apps and get to some of their settings and features. Some users, however, have been unable to get their 3D Touch to work, or have noticed the feature has stopped working completely.

Potential solutions:

  • Restart your iPhone.
  • If you’ve recently applied a new screen protector, remove it and try using 3D Touch again. If it works, the problem was with the screen protector.
  • Clean your touchscreen, as well as your own hands.
  • Go to Settings > General> Accessibility > 3D Touch and make sure the feature hasn’t been turned off by accident. From this page, you can also adjust the feature’s sensitivity and test it out.
  • Reach out to Apple Support or go to an Apple Store or Apple Service Provider in order to get your device repaired or replaced.

Problem: Microphone cuts out

When in the middle of a voice call and using either speakerphone or the handset, the microphone will cut out, resulting in static and unintelligible sounds. The problem doesn’t occur during every phone call. Often, after hanging up and calling again, the static is gone, but the caller is still hard to hear or muted completely. This is different from the Phone quality issue above, which dealt with audio from incoming calls. This is an issue with the person making an outgoing call.

Potential solutions:

  • As always, restart your phone and also check for an update.
  • One solution that had been said to work is to backup your iPhone, then perform a factory reset and restore the phone using the backup.
  • It could also be a hardware issue. Reach out to Apple Support or go to an Apple Store to get repairs or a replacement.

Problem: Touch ID has stopped working

People on the Apple forums have been having trouble with Touch ID. The feature has stopped working completely, or has trouble functioning. On the iMore forums, one user has been unable to use Touch ID while it’s plugged in and charging.

Potential solutions:

  • As always, start by restarting your phone and then trying to use Touch ID again.
  • Clean the sensor and the finger(s) used for Touch ID. Dust, dirt, and other debris can interfere with the sensor.
  • If you’re not currently running iOS 10.2.1, download and install the update.
  • Remove previously added fingerprints and re-add them. Consider creating multiple fingerprints by scanning the same finger at different angles.
  • If it doesn’t work while plugged in, try using a different wall outlet or USB port. Be sure to check the Lightning port as well and remove any debris.
  • Reach out to Apple Support, as it may be a hardware issue. You may be able to have your phone repaired or replaced.

Problem: Bluetooth issues

As with other smartphones, people have been having trouble maintaining a Bluetooth connection, either with 3rd party wireless headphones, or when trying to connect their iPhone to a car. Some users have also noticed a much larger drain on the battery when using it.

Potential solutions:

  • Restart the phone.
  • Toggle Bluetooth off and on again.
  • Unpair the Bluetooth devices and try pairing them again.
  • You can try resetting your network settings by tapping Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. Then try Bluetooth again.
  • iOS 10.2 contained improvements for Bluetooth performance and connections to 3rd party accessories. If you’re not running 10.2 or 10.2.1, those updates may alleviate the issue.
  • If you’re noticing a bigger battery drain like this user, the cable you’re using may be the culprit. Consider using the Lightning cable that came with the iPhone or better-quality cables.
  • Perform a factory reset, restore your phone using a backup (or as a new phone) and try Bluetooth again.