Previous 1 2 Next 20 Replies Latest reply: May 18, 2013 8:47 AM by RJMcMaster
iSeymour Level 1 Level 1

Just a few weeks into ownership of my new iPhone 5, I realized there was an rattle sound near the top of the iPhone 5 when you gently shake it or gently tap on the back near the camera light. This couldn't be normal, there must be an issue, so I made an appointment with the Genius Bar at my nearest Apple Store (33 miles each way), hoping they could identify and remedy that annoying rattle sound. After all, I did purchase Apple Care Plus.


I explained the issue in detail and demonstrated the rattle sound to the Apple Genius. He said he never heard of the issue before, so he started examining my iPhone 5 and quickly said he could not hear anything. I suggested maybe the background noise of the activity in the store was preventing him from hearing the rattle sound. I asked him to try listening for the rattle sound in a less noisy environment than in the public area of the store. He took it to the back where the techs work on equipment and was gone for about 10 minutes. When he returned, his first words were... "The rattle sound was normal, it's from the button on the top", "it's plastic" and said "it's within manufacturing tolerances and wasn't considered a problem". I was dumbfounded. I asked him to please explain to me how such a refined device such as this, with all of the hype and attention to detail and tight design specifications, could have a plastic button that rattles. That's kind of like building the most advanced spacecraft ever, and putting a plastic door handle on it.


I asked if there had ever been a "rattle sound" like this known on any previous version of the iPhone... he said that to the best of his knowledge, the iPhone 4 and 4S used a top button made of metal rather than plastic and didn't have this issue. I asked if we could examine a few of the iPhone 5's on display... we did, and discovered several but Not All of them, had the same rattle sound, again, he said it was normal. I asked why do some have the rattle sound and some don't? He didn't know why. Then he offered to replace my iPhone 5, "if it was that big of a deal". He further explained if I wanted that, it would be a "one time only replacement" and no promise could be made that any replacement wouldn't also have the same rattle sound, and if it did, it could not be replaced again.


I didn't understand why this rattle sound could even exist from one of Apple's new flagship devices. I'm not new to Apple products by any stretch, but this is my first iPhone. I expected more. I expected a quality device, one that matches the level of quality and reliability of every other Apple product I have ever purchased. I felt let down. For the first time, I started to feel as if this device might have been rushed to market and maybe quality control wasn't what it once was... 


At this point, I decided to test this "plastic button" to see just how loose it was. While holding the phone in my right hand (display facing down), I applied slight pressure on the top button (holding it still), and then gently tapped the back near the camera light, just as before. I was shocked! It still rattled! Being more confused, I asked the Apple Genius how it was possible for me to hold the button still, and there still had the rattle sound? He paused a moment, then said it was most likely the component that makes the phone vibrate. Still holding firm to the claim of it "was within manufacturing tolerances". I asked how could the source of the rattle sound suddenly move from the plastic top button to the vibrate component? He said that was a known issue and he knew of only a few iPhone 5's having been replaced for that reason. I started to feel as if he was being deceptive the whole time. How else could he have come up with an alternative reason and suddenly recall a few phones being replaced. Hence the title of this post... "Rattlegate".


I explained to him some of the reasons I waited so long before buying my first iPhone. I asked if he seen Apple's Keynote announcement for the iPhone 5? "Yes, of course I did", he said. Do you remember some of the claims from that Keynote wherein the following statements were made:


Keynote Quotes:

"what makes the iPhone 5 so unique, is how it feels in your hand"

"the materials it's been made with"

"the remarkable precision with which its been built"

"never before have we built a product with this extraordinary level of fit and finish",

"we've developed manufacturing processes that are our most complex and ambitious"... and so on.


For the most part, the Apple Genius remembered those lines from the Keynote, then he suggested I fill out a comment or suggestion on the website, and once again offered a "one time replacement" of my iPhone 5. I told him thanks for the offer, but I would pass for now, but would follow his recommendation of posting on the website... and here we are...


If you have an iPhone 5 and it has a rattle sound, please let me know (IF) and (HOW) you might have resolved this issue.


Thank You very much!

  • Jgeis Level 1 Level 1

    I too am having the same problem. I held out for so long in buying my first iphone, so when the 5 came out I thought I would finally take the leap and spend the large some of money. I too watched the keynote speaker on launch day and the promo video as well. The mention of precision and how every minuscule difference in components was taken into account when selecting the next piece during its construction easily gave me a sense of confidence when deciding to buy this product.  I began to notice the rattle in the upper portion of the phone about a week after purchasing it. I read some forums on this site where the mention was made that the rattle was normal with responses from apple staff like it had something to do with the camera and the lenses, or the vibrate motor, or maybe the power button. I have gone to the local apple store to find about 1 in every 4 display iphone 5's to have a rattle like mine. I asked an employee at the store about it and he said he had not heard about a rattle problem and said it's probably the vibrate motor and is normal. He also said in response to these forums that "people will say anything on a forum". Needless to say I left the store with no satisfying answers and not really knowing if there is anything left to do. I've been trying to just let it be and accept maybe the camera option for the cause of the rattle, but every time I set the phone down i hear the rattle and I am reminded about how much I spent on this 64 gb phone.

  • iSeymour Level 1 Level 1

    My iPhone 5 did not make this sound when I first purchased it, this I know for a fact! After they programed it, the iPhone was placed in the Otterbox Defender series case. The case completely protects the entire phone, including a full screen protector. I have always been very careful, maybe even obsessive with all expensive electronics, especially one that needs to work for at least two years (the term of the service agreement).


    Like most of us, I invested a great deal of hard earned money on the iPhone 5 and expect the quality and craftsmanship to be second to none. In addition to the actual iPhone 5 price and the Apple Care Plus, and another two years being slaved under a two year service agreement, it all adds up quick. That said, does Apple really expect this problem will go away if they ignore it? It is a monumental shame for the rattle sound to even exist, but it's a bigger shame when they seem to act as if this isn't a real issue.


    I know their stock value steadily dropped just after the iPhone 5 started selling, I wonder if something as simple as a using a cheap plastic sleep button contributed to that? I'm starting to see a pattern and it's not good. I had a real problem with my new iPad3 after "upgrading" to iOS 6. It became nearly useless, nothing worked as it did before the upgrade. My resolution was unique, that explanation can be found by reading my other post... by (iSeymour).


    This week, Apple is expected to have another product announcement. Rumors claim it will be about a smaller iPad, and maybe a refreshed Mac Mini and iMac. If true, I would normally purchase the newest Mini and iMac, but now I'm hesitant to spend any more money with Apple. I think I'll wait until the new products get out there for a while and stay current by reading the reviews and forum posts. After a few months of good reviews and no big problem posts, I'll go forward and make the purchases.


    If all of us iPhone 5 owners with the rattle sound are lucky, Apple will acknowledge this defect, find a way to correct it, and let us come in and get it fixed in short order. Unfortunately, history being our guide, often times in several instances, it seems to take a bunch of attorneys to get the ball rolling. Maybe this time will be different.


    Anyone that has/had the rattle sound and may have found a remedy, Please post, and let us all know how it was fixed.


    Thank You!

  • diesel vdub Level 7 Level 7

    iSeymour wrote:


    Just a few weeks into ownership of my new iPhone 5, I realized there was an rattle sound near the top of the iPhone 5 when you gently shake it or gently tap on the back near the camera light.

    There's a very simple fix.  I cannot believe that someone intelligent enough to find these forums, sign up, and post here cannot figure it out.


    Let me spell it out for you.


    S T O P   S H A K I NG   O R   T A P P I N G    T H E   D A R N   D E V I C E.


    There... very simple, problem never occurs again.


    FYI, a simple search of the forums would have revealed the same "issue" with the 4 and 4S.

  • iSeymour Level 1 Level 1

    With respect... Thank you Captain obvious! (diesel vdub).


    I created the thread to share my actual experience at the Apple store. Of course the primary focus is on the rattle sound, but the spirit of what I was attempting to convey was in large part about how Apple doesn't seem to acknowledge the issue as a problem. The Apple Genius was clearly being deceptive, for which I have little tolerance. I would have felt a lot better about the whole thing if he was up front with me from the start. He could have told me it was very common but not a big deal... but he didn't do that. In the end, it was obvious he was indeed being deceptive, which in and of its self, is unacceptable.


    Your all cap print of what not to do is indeed very simple... but I think you might have missed the bigger picture I was trying to paint. Being my first iPhone, and after the grand claims of quality, craftsmanship and fit and finish (unlike several previous Keynotes), I simply expected the iPhone 5 to be near perfect. But of course, we don't live in a perfect world. Additionally, you are correct, I did not follow previous releases of the iPhone as they did not have the features I require, however, the iPhone 5 is the first version that is adequate for my needs.


    Lastly, I've seen countless posts on a variety of topics wherein people seem to be somewhat aggressive toward the person making a post, rather than contributing constructive comments that help people reach an acceptable remedy, almost as if the aggressor seems to think they are superior or better than others in some way… for that reason, I will not be drawn into endless exchanges unless constructive and helpful to the majority.


    Thank you for your comments.

  • sgeuter Level 1 Level 1

    I also have this problem. My 16GB black iPhone 5 got delivered today and if I tap the back towards the top I get the rattling sound everyone's been describing. I don't think it bothers me enough to try and get a replacement, but as others have said, it is disappointing. The way Apple launched the product really convinced me it was a premium phone that would definitely not fall short in terms of build. I guess it just reminds us that Apple products aren't all as perfect as they like to say..

  • molotovito Level 1 Level 1

    The iPhone 5 has the vibrator on top of the phone, and if you've seen the vibrator, you will know it has a part that moves, even if its not "vibrating". Yes, if you tap the phone anywhere close to the top, you will hear a rattle.

  • Errk! Level 1 Level 1

    Don't be ignorant. Think for a second instead of trying to sound like a know-it-all.


    You don't have to purposefully tap or shake the phone for it to happen. It does it if you set it down on a hard surface like a table, or if you have vibrate turned on and it vibrates while sitting on a hard surface.

  • Empire_1 Level 1 Level 1

    It's NOT the vibrator to the genious up there (molovito).


    I bought an iPod Touch 5th generation and I have this problem as well (and no, it does not have a vibrating feature). Right out of the box, as I set the device down onto the table to admire it, it made a rattling sound, as if some internal component was loose. At first I thought it might have been the loop. But after tapping the device in different regions, and setting it down on different corners, I realized the sound occurs from the camera region.


    I did some searches online and it apparently has something to do with the autofocus lens, and many iPhone 4 and 4S owners have had this problem too.



    If this problem was "supposed" to happen and occur in every device I wouldn't be nearly as bummed. BUT. It's not. Some iPods/iPhones have this problem and others don't. Some don't have it early on, but develop it later. Some problems worsen over time. Others remain free of the problem.



    It annoys me more that the Apple Store employees seem to be trying to cover up the problem, as they always do.

  • marcosbarrio Level 1 Level 1

    Hi iSeymour,


    I have the same issue, let me tell you my story.


    I bought one 32gb white and noticed that had a metallic sound when shaking, took it to the Apple Store and replaced for another one, which did not make the sound but it had some sruffs in the side. I went to another Apple Store and replaced for my current iphone; 15 days ago.


    This new iPhone had the same issue, I shake it and I noticed this metallic sound, and what its worse, every time the phone vibrates, after vibration I hear a "tic". This tic it's not loud enough but if for example I am whatsapping in silence I hear it and if I am in a call and receive a notification I can notice and it is really annoying. This is not acceptable for such a "well manufactured product" of almost 800$.


    I took it yesterday to the genius bar and the opened it; they told me all was OK, and they screw all the parts that seem to be a little bit loose.  They told me that the worng iPhone are those which not rattle. I didn't noticed any sound in the Apple Store so I thaught it was OK.


    When I arrived home I noticed that the sound was there, not as loud as before but still.


    Today I sent an email to Phil Schiller and Tim Cook to ask to recognise this as an issue and replace all the affected vibrators, because this is something that happens in 9 out 10 iphones. Hope theuy read the mail and do something.


    <Edited By Host>

  • Chris092881 Level 1 Level 1

    Phil Schiller will not help you. Did you see his response to the scuffing issue on the i5? It's comical.

  • Stumpo Level 1 Level 1

    Hey iseymour, I have the iPhone 5 as well and whenever I tap near the camera is makes that lite rattle noise as well. I was very close to having a nice meeting with apples geniuses but I did some research and I found out that everyone has this problem, some rattle louder than others. My friend also just recently got an iPhone 5 and first thing I did was check for the rattle, sure enough it was their. Even my friends with the 4 and 4s have that problem, it's just not as loud because the two phones both have glass, aside from aluminum. I think as long as the phone is 100% functional theirs no big deal.

    Ps I'm in a way glad to hear that people in other parts of the world are having this issue, I thought it was only Canada.

  • jbwalsh Level 1 Level 1

    Noise Problem cured !!!


    My iPhone 5 made a rattling noise when shaken after it had "a few falls"


    I read in one of the forums that it was the battery coming away from the adhesive.


    I checked iFixit teardown of the iPhone 5 and noted the very large battery which occupies two thirds of the screen space from left to right (starting from above the headphone jack side).


    I'm not surprised that if it comes loose that it is the cause of the clunking rattle.


    One of the forums contributors suggested gradually pressing all the area of the phone on the outside that overlies the battery inside pressing hard between front and back over all of the screen area from left to right that fronts the battery inside. In this way one pushes the battery back on to the adhesive !!


    It works perfectly - Problem cured !! -  J B Walsh

  • GadGetGeek7 Level 1 Level 1

    iSeymour, I have the rattle as well, but I think it's just the camera rattle that everyone seems to experience with the iPhone 5s. The only solution I found to this specific problem is that if you open the camera app and focus on somehting very close, after reaching focus, tap on the back near the camera and you'll notice it starts to go away. I believe, this is because the lens elements compact together making them firmly seated. The issue is that I guess Apple programmed the app to set the lens elements to go to an extended position instead of compact so the rattle stays. The solution, I imagine, would be to have an update made by Apple to the camera app to default to the latter position. Question is, how do we get Apple's attention so they see this as worth while?


    Also as long as you are experiencing this camera rattle, there shouldn't be any cause for concern. But if you're like me then something like this rattling will drive you crazy.

  • _Schafe_ Level 1 Level 1

    I am so glad that I found this. I have been having the same problem with my iPod touch 5th generation. It was really starting to bother me and made me think that there was something broken on the inside that would rattle every time I put it down. I wasn't noticing any problems with using the device, the rattling was just annoying. I am glad to hear that nothing is broken, but still, Apple should fix this problem. Especially because it is so widespread. I am disappointed to hear how you were treated by the Apple Genius. That should be unacceptable.


    And in response to diesel vdub, your "simple fix" was very rude and very wrong. Obviously, not tapping or shaking the device is only avoiding the problem... Not fixing it. But the most annoying part is that it rattles when it it set down, not just when it is tapped or shaken. When I first started reading your post I got excited to hear that my problem could be fixed. Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed and somewhat angry.


    All this being said, I still love my iPod Touch. It works and feels great. Hopefully Apple will realize how many people are being affected and bothered by this rattling problem and offer a solution.

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