5 Problems With the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
The new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus brought a variety of fun new features to the iPhone lineup. A more advanced camera, official water resistance, stereo speakers, a new Home button, and new black colorways are a few of the features to be excited about. And if you’re comparing the iPhone 7 with the iPhone 6s, you’ll find plenty of areas where this year’s iPhone is much better than last year’s model.
But as with any new iPhone release, there have been a few bugs for Apple to sort out with the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. In fact, users who have already upgraded to the new iPhone have noticed a few problems with the devices — some of which Apple is still working on fixing. Read on to check out a few of the problems that people are having with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
1. The iPhone 7’s Home button is “useless” without skin contact
Chance Miller reports for 9to5Mac that the new Home button requires physical contact with the user’s skin (or a capacitive surface) in order to function. The redesigned button isn’t an actual moving button anymore. Instead, the Taptic Engine provides haptic feedback to simulate the feeling of pressing a button even though the button doesn’t actually move.
The problem is that the new button requires physical contact with your skin or with another capacitive surface in order to function, which is likely to prove problematic come winter. You won’t be able to use the button with gloves on (which has been true of Touch ID in iPhones past). But on the iPhone 7, it’s the Touch ID sensor that’s recognizing when you press the Home button. So if the Touch ID sensor isn’t triggered, the Home button won’t work at all — not even to wake the phone and enable you to enter your passcode.
Additionally, the new iOS 10 lockscreen doesn’t enable users to simply swipe over to access the passcode entry screen. Instead, you have to press the Home button. So, since you can’t press the Home button with gloves on, Miller notes that “you essentially have no way to get into your phone without taking removing the gloves or using Assistive Touch. And even if you were able to get in, you wouldn’t be able to use the Home button anyway.” Some users have reported that using gloves optimized for touchscreens will activate the Home button, while others have said that such gloves don’t work.
2. The iPhone 7 can produce a hissing sound
Roger Fingas reports for Apple Insider that some iPhone 7 owners are complaining of an audible hissing sound when the A10 processor is tasked with heavy loads. A number of bloggers and early iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus adopters have pointed out the issue online. The hissing seems to occur only when the phones are tasked with processor-heavy activities, and there don’t appear to be any other negative consequences for the devices. Some users have been offered replacement units by support staff after calling Apple Care.
According to Fingas, some previous iPhone models have allegedly experienced similar trouble. But it’s unclear how widespread the current problem is. It’s also unclear which components may be responsible for the hissing sound. Fingas notes that there isn’t anything on the A10, or anything else in the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus aside from the duo system (and the speakers, of course) that “should be capable of directly generating noise.”
It’s possible that the issue could involve the RF transmitter or some kind of interference with the speaker system. Whether or not the hissing turns out to be a common issue, it’s possible that it’s related to a defect with the first batch of phones. (Which means that Apple will likely need to offer customers free replacements for those defective units.)
3. The iPhone 7 can lose service after you put it in Airplane Mode
Joe Rossignol reports for MacRumors that some users have found that the iPhone 7 loses cellular access after they turn off Airplane Mode. Apple is reportedly investigating the problem, according to internal documents obtained by the publication. In the meantime, Apple is advising authorized service providers to tell customers to restart an affected iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus. If the phone still doesn’t have cellular access, Apple advises that customers remove and reinsert the device’s SIM card.
More complaints about the problem are appearing online, and in several cases reports specifically indicate that affected units are AT&T models (which feature Intel modems, instead of the Qualcomm modems used in Verizon and Sprint models). But support representatives have indicated that the issue may be attributable to the iPhone 7’s SIM tray, which could be allowing cards to shift enough to lose contact. Phones that have ongoing problems with Airplane Mode may actually just have a “slightly askew SIM.” However, some users report that Apple is willing to switch affected units out for a replacement.
4. The iPhone 7’s camera lens seems to scratch too easily
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes reports for ZDNet that Apple has warned users that the high-gloss Jet Black iPhone 7 is easily scratched, but a scratch test raises concerns about the durability of the camera lens. YouTuber JerryRigEverything subjected an iPhone 7 to a series of destructive tests (which isn’t unusual in the months following an iPhone launch). But the scratch test raises some serious concerns about how durable the iPhone 7 will be in real-life situations.
The display and chassis both resisted scratching, but the camera lens seemed to scratch easily. (The scratches were made with a test pick that has a hardness of six on Moh’s scale, which is about equivalent to keys, coins, and other objects you might have in your pocket or in your work bag.) That’s an interesting — and concerning — outcome given Apple’s claims that the lens cover is made of sapphire crystal, which Kingsley-Hughes notes should be able to withstand the kind of abuse inflicted in the video. The result suggests that the lens cover is glass, not crystal, though Apple has yet to comment on the situation.
5. The remote on Apple’s new Lightning EarPods can sporadically stop working
Apple Insider reports that the multifunction remote control module in the Lightning EarPods included with the iPhone 7 is sporadically rendered useless by a glitch in Apple’s software. Users have complained that the glitch with the new EarPods appears to be sporadic, but the fact that it’s reproducible suggested a flaw present in Apple’s software. In most cases, users say that the EarPods’ volume and call answer/end buttons become unresponsive after a few minutes of inactivity. The audio continues to play and the microphone remains active, but users are unable to adjust the volume settings, start or stop calls, or invoke Siri with the remote.
Unlike some of the other problems with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, this one already has a fix. Apple has released iOS 10.0.2 to fix a few bugs, including the issue with the new Lighting EarPods. So, if you have an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus with Lightning EarPods that sporadically stop working, you should install the update through the Settings app or by connecting your device to iTunes via a Mac or PC.