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The most common iPhone 7 problems and how to fix them

Released in 2016, the iPhone 7 still holds its own as a midrange smartphone. The camera is a great performer, there are dual speakers, and it was the first flagship Apple device to have an IP67 rating for water resistance. If you’ve managed to get your hands on one, then you’re likely still enjoying it, but sometimes a single issue can kill the fun. We’ve been filtering feedback to isolate the main iPhone 7 problems that users are still running into even now, and we’ve got some potential fixes and workarounds to put the smile back on your face.

Problem: iPhone 7 is not charging

Is your iPhone 7 not charging? Don’t worry! It happens. Here’s what to do to get it started again.

Potential solutions:

  • There may be a problem with your charging cable or the connecting port. Try charging your phone with a new authorized cable or use another port.
  • Restart your phone.
  • Still not working? It could be that your charging port is worn out. Explore either getting it replaced at an Apple Store, or — as a final option — look at buying a new iPhone.

Problem: Speaker button is grayed out during calls

On some iPhone 7 models, the speaker icon is grayed out when making phone calls. This issue, acknowledged by Apple, affected a small number of users. The company is no longer offering free out-of-warranty repairs for internal speakers.

Potential solution: 

  • This issue may be attributed to paired Bluetooth accessories. Turn off Bluetooth by swiping up from the bottom of your phone and tapping on the Bluetooth icon to disable it.

Problem: No 3.5mm headphone jack

Apple’s decision to kill the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 was controversial. Having to use the Lightning port to plug in headphones means that you can’t charge your iPhone 7 while you’re using headphones. Here are two viable workarounds, as there is no solution to a new design.

Potential solutions:

Problem: iPhone 7 makes a hissing sound

Many iPhone 7 owners complained about a hissing sound coming from the back of the device. It’s louder when the iPhone is running a demanding app or game, 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.

Potential solutions:

  • Put the phone on speaker for a second and then tap on it again to turn it off.
  • If it’s a network issue, hang up and call again to check the sound quality.
  • Remove the headset.
  • Reboot or perform a factory recovery or reset.
  • Contact Apple or a qualified technician about a repair.

Issue: Poor battery life

Battery life for the iPhone 7, although pretty good for the most part, did get various complaints about rapid battery drain. These complaints often coincide with an OS update, and get solved with a later update.

Potential solutions:

  • Update to the latest version of iOS.
  • 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, Siri, Background app refresh, automatic downloads, and some visual effects get 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 at Settings > Battery > Battery Usage to see if a particular app is guzzling too much juice. Consider updating, uninstalling, or replacing the offending app.
  • Check out our iPhone battery tips for more ideas, or our roundup of the best portable battery chargers.

Problem: Can’t activate your iPhone 7

The iPhone 7 is several years old, but people are still buying and selling secondhand or refurbished units. Here’s what to do if you’re having problems activating your new phone.

Potential solutions:

  • If you’re trying to activate via your cellular connection, 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 back on.
  • 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 works, then contact Apple.

Problem: Poor phone call/speaker quality

This is one of the most widely reported iPhone 7 problems — with multiple threads on the Apple discussion forums. Problems range from incoming audio that’s distant or too low to hear. Apple has updated a support page to help people with sound issues.

Official solution:

  • Update to iOS 15.
  • Go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics 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.
  • Call Apple Support if all else fails.

Problem: Microphone cuts out

When in the middle of a voice call and using either speakerphone or the handset, the mic cuts out, resulting in static and unintelligible sounds. The problem is intermittent. Often, after hanging up and calling again, the static is gone, but the caller is still hard to hear or muted completely.

Potential solutions:

  • Restart your phone and check for an iOS update.
  • Back up your iPhone, then perform a factory reset and restore the phone using the backup.
  • Contact Apple Support or go to an Apple Store to rectify a hardware issue if software solutions fail.

Problem: 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 the latest available version of iOS.
  • If the problem started after an update, the update itself may have been installed incorrectly. If possible, restore your device to a backup made before the update was applied, then install the update again.
  • Turn 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

3D Touch was an integral part of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, making it easier to interact with apps and access their deep settings and features. While 3D Touch is technically still available in hardware, the feature has been deprecated in later versions of the iOS where Haptic Touch has largely replaced 3D Touch and functions similarly. If you find the press and hold feature is not working as you expect, here are some things you can try.

Potential solutions:

  • Make sure you are using the latest operating system — iOS 15.
  • Go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics and toggle System Haptics off and on again.
  • Restart your iPhone.
  • If you’ve recently applied a new screen protector, remove it and try the press and hold gesture again. If it works, the problem was with the screen protector.
  • Clean your touchscreen, as well as your own hands.
  • Go to Settings > Accessibility > Haptic Touch and adjust the touch duration.

Problem: Touch ID has stopped working

People on the Apple forums have been having trouble with Touch ID. The feature either stopped working completely or was not functioning optimally, with some users reporting that they can’t use Touch ID while the iPhone is plugged in and charging.

Potential solutions:

  • Restart your phone and then try 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.
  • Update to the latest version of iOS.
  • 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.
  • You should add a new fingerprint on your device every six months, but when you do so, your device’s Touch ID can malfunction. The best way to fix it is by visiting Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and deleting the old fingerprint. Add a new fingerprint and restart your device.
  • Contact Apple Support, as it may be a hardware issue — some users noted that Touch ID stopped working after a battery replacement.

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.
  • Update the iPhone.
  • Perform a factory reset, restore your phone using a backup (or as a new phone) and try Bluetooth again.

Problem: Camera displays a black, green, or purple screen

This issue affects users with the iPhone 7 Plus. Users on the Apple discussion forums and Reddit complained that their iPhone 7 Plus shows a black — or sometimes a green or purple — screen when they use their camera. Sometimes an error also appears that says “Emergency iPhone needs to cool down.” Other users reported that the Camera app doesn’t load.

Potential solutions:

  • The first thing to do is to try the steps listed on Apple’s support site.
  • If the aforementioned steps don’t resolve the issue with your camera, your iPhone 7 is likely suffering from a hardware problem. In that case, we suggest that you contact Apple support or bring it in for servicing.

Problem: Exterior chips or peels

Apple’s support pages report on the likelihood of micro-abrasions on the glossy finish of the jet black iPhone 7, which was prone to scratching. However, a thread that reached epic proportions on Apple’s discussion forums shows the regular black finish on the iPhone 7 is also prone to chipping and peeling, even when encased.

Workarounds:

  • Apple’s warranty doesn’t cover this kind of cosmetic damage. Some users opted to sell their iPhone and get another iPhone 7 in a different color.
  • Apple suggests keeping a protective case on the phone at all times.

Problem: Overheating

Over the years, many iPhone 7 users have complained that the phone can get uncomfortably hot. While it’s normal for smartphones to heat up when performing certain CPU-intensive tasks like broadcasting live video, using Snapchat, or playing games, your iPhone should return to a normal operating temperature when you’re done.

Potential solutions:

  • A misbehaving app, possibly working in the background, could be what is causing your iPhone to overheat. Check for any apps that were just updated — this issue is often caused by a faulty update.
  • Shut off apps and services like Safari, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, maps, navigation apps, and location services.
  • If you can’t track down the issue, follow our guide on how to restore your iPhone.
  • Update your phone to the latest iOS version. Go to Settings > General > Software Update and get a stable version of iOS 15.
  • If you have reset your iPhone and restored it and the issue persists, contact Apple Support. A smartphone that is constantly overheating could have a dangerous hardware problem.

Problem: ‘No Service’ detected

In 2016, Apple acknowledged a bug that caused the iPhone 7 to lose cellular service after coming off Airplane Mode. The company resolved the issue and also launched a repair program dedicated to it — discontinued in 2018. However, we include this older problem in case you encounter it.

Potential solutions:

  • Update to the latest version of iOS — iOS 15.
  • Reset your network settings.
  • Remove and re-insert your SIM card.
  • Bring your phone into an Apple Store for repair.

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