15 annoying iPhone 7 problems, and how to fix them

Apple stops offering free repairs for iPhones with grayed speaker buttons

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’ve managed to snag 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 iPhone 7 problems that users are running into, and we’ve got some potential fixes and workarounds to put the smile back on your face.

Problem: Speaker button is grayed-out during calls

Some iPhone users have noticed that the speaker icon is grayed-out when making phone calls. This issue seems to affect a small number of users and Apple is aware of the issue, however, it is no longer offering free out-of-warranty repairs for internal speakers that no longer work.

Potential Solution: 

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

Issue: “No Service” detected

In September, MacRumors reported that it had an internal document from Apple showing that the company was aware of a bug that caused the iPhone 7 to have no cellular service after coming out of Airplane Mode. The company said it had resolved the issue, but now it has also launched a repair program for those still suffering from it. Apple says the issue affects a “small” percentage” of devices, but those with an affected device can take their phone in to an Apple Store to get a free repair. Model numbers affected by the issue include A1660, A1780, and A779, and you can check the model number on the back of your device.

Potential solutions:

  • Apple has an official solution posted for this issue, which walks you through restarting and re-inserting your SIM card. We suggest that you follow these instructions any time your iPhone 7 can’t get a cellular connection.
  • Update to the latest version of iOS, if you haven’t yet.
  • If the issue persists, check your model number to see if your eligible for a free device repair.

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:

  • Update to iOS 10.3.2 if you haven’t already. Battery drain issues were addressed in this update.
  • 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, or our roundup of the best portable battery chargers.

Glitch: 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

This is one of the most widely reported iPhone 7 problems. 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.
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