Some early iPhone 7 adopters are getting considerably more than they bargained for. Reports are surfacing of both the regular iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus producing hissing sounds when they’re subjected to a heavy processor workload, such as a game. They continue to function, thankfully, but it’s a bit disconcerting when most phones are virtually silent. It’s not clear what the cause is — some suspect coil whine or similar electromagnetic effects, but there’s no guarantee that this is the case.
The issue doesn’t appear for everyone. I tested an iPhone 7 using 3DMark “Ice Storm Extreme,” a performance benchmark that puts the processor under serious strain, and heard no hissing at all. That suggests that the noise may stem from a manufacturing issue instead of an inherent design quirk. Not that this will make you feel any better if you’re affected, of course.
We’ve asked Apple for its take on the reports and will let you know if it has something to say. It won’t be pretty if you run into this issue and want a replacement iPhone, though. Supplies are already extremely tight, so you may end up waiting days to get a blissfully quiet device.