4S vibrate buzzing sound, bad Genius experience

TonyC28

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 15, 2009
1,717
5,250
USA
So my iPhone 4S (16GB black AT&T) makes a buzzing sound when the phone vibrates. The sound comes from the bottom right corner of the phone and can be stopped by pressing or squeezing that area. Clearly there is something loose or the vibrate mechanism is rattling against something. But that's not why I'm posting here. I'm wondering if anyone else has had Genius's tell them that this is "normal". I've dealt with 4 Apple employees so far (2 on the phone and 2 in the store) and 3 of them seem to spout the same line..."gee, this is the first time I've heard of that. That sound is normal since my phone does it too." The 4th employee was over the phone and she said it was definitely a problem and I should go to the store for a replacement. Obviously the store disagreed because they just told me it was normal.

Has anyone else had a bad experience with Apple when dealing with this vibrate issue?

**Fanboys, settle down. I realize that not every phone has this issue. And that by the way is exactly what concerns me.
 

ayeying

macrumors 601
Dec 5, 2007
4,547
11
Yay Area, CA
AppleCare will give you a case ID so in which that the Apple Store geniuses won't hassle with you. I went in for a buzzing sound in my speaker and at first the Genius won't take my case stating it was normal. AppleCare gave me a case number, I just showed him the number and he can't argue anymore and just issued a replacement for me.
 

catalyst6

macrumors 6502a
Oct 13, 2007
570
3
Berlin
Just a heads up that I've been dealing with Applecare to get a replacement for this issue as well....

Even sent off a sample to their Engineering department so they could attempt to figure out what the cause is. That being said, I've received 3 replacements and all of them have demonstrated this issue except for ONE which had a piss yellow screen :(

My friends all have iPhone 4S and dont have a weird vibrate rattle. I'm the only one with a White 64GB model, so I'm not sure if that matters. I wonder if potentially that assembly line has a supply of weird vibrate motors.
 

rkeato1

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2011
132
2
No, it was smooth sailing for me. But as above, for my 2nd replacement due to this issue, I went through AppleCare and they wanted me to send the phone to them so the engineers could determine what was going on. I asked if they could arrange the exchange at a local retail store and it was done.

Sorry to hear you're having a bad experience. The buzzing isnt normal and an AppleCare case number will help you out!
 

AndrewR23

macrumors 68040
Jun 24, 2010
3,897
1,181
My launch day 4S had this annoying issue but the screen was perfect. I lived with it until I returned it to get a 32GB. My first black 32GB did not have this issue but had a brown tinted screen. Not yellow, brown.

Returned that for a white. My white 32GB has a perfect screen and no vibrate with great battery life. I got really lucky.

It shouldn't be about luck though when buying an iPhone now. Sucks how bad QC is getting.

QC was never this bad with iPhone original and the 3G. Started getting worse around the 3GS.
 

cababah

macrumors 68000
Jun 11, 2009
1,692
165
SF Bay Area, CA
got mine replaced for that same exact annoying buzzing sound with no issues at all. The genius took it out back where it was more quiet to listen to it and then agreed to replace. The first unit he pulled out also had a vibration buzzing sound so I had to have him pull out a new one. The new one was DOA and he said that was the last one so I went to another apple store and got it replaced no issues.

Listening to the floor models, I noticed vibration buzzing in about one out of every two phones but it is definitely NOT normal.
 

joeshmo2010

macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2009
561
3
Seattle, WA
Yeah, they think it's normal for whatever reason it's not. You just have to keep pushing. It is their job to keep replacing the phone until you are satisfied. My last genius and I talked for awhile about their policy for the number of replacements people get. If a genius won't budge, just ask for a manager, they'll tell the genius to give you a new one.
 

rw3

macrumors 6502a
May 13, 2008
679
41
DFW, TX
It is their job to keep replacing the phone until you are satisfied. My last genius and I talked for awhile about their policy for the number of replacements people get. If a genius won't budge, just ask for a manager, they'll tell the genius to give you a new one.
Completely incorrect....
 

madKIR

macrumors 6502a
Feb 2, 2010
849
801
NYC
Completely incorrect....
You took the words out of my mouth!
Once I had to deal with an ******* manager! He was actually even ruder than the genius. I had a faulty home button and I had to press it with great strength to register clicks. He pretended as if there was no problem. I was so frustrated since I was able to replicate the issue right before his eyes. It was my one and only negative experience at Apple stores. Then I went to another store and had it replaced no problem.
 

Caliber26

macrumors 68000
Sep 25, 2009
1,835
1,337
Orlando, FL
I took mine in to the Apple store, eight days after buying it, for this very issue. They immediately exchanged it, no questions asked. Obviously, I tried listening for the buzzing noise while I was in the store but, because there were about 100 people in there, I couldn't hear ****. When I got in my car, I noticed it was present in the new replacement as well. I just said "**** it" and kept it. I've just learned to not pay attention to it.
 

TonyC28

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 15, 2009
1,717
5,250
USA
Yeah, they think it's normal for whatever reason it's not. You just have to keep pushing. It is their job to keep replacing the phone until you are satisfied. My last genius and I talked for awhile about their policy for the number of replacements people get. If a genius won't budge, just ask for a manager, they'll tell the genius to give you a new one.
I wish that were true. It seems that at this point their job is to act as though you are the first person to ever mention the problem to them and tell you it's normal.
 

DC Hurricane

macrumors member
Feb 16, 2009
65
0
Don't deal with a genius. Just reserve the phone at 9 and you can swap it out within warranty no questions asked.
 

glhughes

macrumors regular
Jul 4, 2009
120
32
I have had 4 iPhone 4S's (all returned for different issues!). 3 of them had the buzzing vibrate to a certain extent, one was really bad, and the last one didn't make a noise in the pocket/on a desk so it was ok. The only 4S I have had that did not make the vibrate buzzing noise was not assembled correctly (gap between front glass and body; backlight could be seen through side of phone).

I have not had the experience of trying to return / exchange a phone for the buzzing vibrate so I can't comment on whether it's considered normal or not.

I can say that 3/4 times I have had to exchange / return the phone it has been a pleasant experience dealing with the genius and/or AppleCare. The first time I did the exchange (launch day phone w/ green/yellow tint) I was made to feel like the genius was doing me a favor for exchanging the phone and that did upset me a bit.
 

Sonisk

macrumors member
Apr 17, 2011
85
0
I have this buzzing as well, and it has become loud over time. Gonna pay Three a visit tommorow, and see their take on it. Sadly I can't go to an Apple store, being in Denmark and all :(
 

TonyC28

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 15, 2009
1,717
5,250
USA
By the way, thank you everyone for the polite, non-snarky responses.
 

i hate phones

macrumors 6502a
Jul 5, 2010
831
286
Philly Suburbs, PA
if genius give you a replacement do you get a new phone in a box? or is it one of those brown boxed ones? i JUST got my phone shipped to me from at&t today and have the vibrate buzz... i had a previous 4s that was so quiet i wouldn't even know it vibrated unless i was holding it, but had to return to apple and order through at&t cause of eligibility issues :( I have a genius appointment tonight and have no idea what to expect, i kind of feel like an idiot complaining on something some see as trivial, but its pretty embarassing when it goes off at work! i don't want to get a refurb when i just got my phone and i want the box with the correct serial #...
 

catalyst6

macrumors 6502a
Oct 13, 2007
570
3
Berlin
^

You won't get a new boxed phone...they will give you a (most likely) new, unused phone from a supply of phones that do not come with all the accessories, etc.

They will instruct you to keep your box and accessories and just trade the actual device. Let us know if your swap ends up with you getting a non-annoying, non-buzzing phone.
 

Sonisk

macrumors member
Apr 17, 2011
85
0
It's under settings, where you activate the Accessability feature for the vibrator, and then create a custom vibration under sound settings.
 

i hate phones

macrumors 6502a
Jul 5, 2010
831
286
Philly Suburbs, PA
it only bothers me at work (or rather more so bothers others)... its not discrete at all which defeats its purpose. Plus having experience with one that was impressively silent, i know somethings wrong. just makes it feel a little junky. reminds me of the phones 10 years ago that sounded like jackhammers going off when they vibrated.
 
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