Just when iPhone 15 users breathed a sigh of relief as Apple resolved the overheating issue, a new problem seems to be emerging on the horizon: the smartphone’s speaker. A growing number of users are reporting that the iPhone 15, despite its plethora of advanced features, may suffer from a speaker issue that notably affects audio quality. The issue appears to manifest as a crackling or rattling sound, primarily from the top speaker, when the volume is set at over 80%.

Apple’s Previous Fix: Overheating

Before we delve into the speaker issue, it’s worth revisiting the recently addressed problem of overheating. Apple promptly acknowledged that certain iPhone 15 models were running warmer than expected. Contrary to speculation, the new titanium and aluminum frame on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models was not the culprit. A software bug in iOS 17 and some third-party apps like Instagram and Uber were identified as the cause. Apple rolled out an update, iOS 17.0.3, on October 4, 2023, that reportedly fixed the overheating problem without any performance throttling of the A17 Pro chip.

The Emerging Speaker Issue

Now, back to the speaker issue at hand. Users are reporting a disturbing sound when playing audio—including videos and calls—at high volume levels. The issue has been notably described as a crackling or rattling sound, with some users even reporting that it sounds as if there’s water inside the speaker.

TikTok user MilesAboveTech revealed that Apple had acknowledged the issue and replaced his iPhone 15 Pro Max twice. Despite these efforts, the issue persisted. To make matters more concerning, the user tested various iPhone 15 models at an Apple store and found that all four versions were susceptible to the same sound issues.


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Is it a Software or Hardware Issue?

At this point, the root cause of the speaker problem is still unclear. While Apple has been confirming the issue by replacing defective units, replacement units seem to be plagued by the same problem.

If the issue turns out to be software-related, Apple could potentially resolve it with a simple update, much like the previous overheating problem. However, if it’s a hardware issue, the company will likely need to address the problem at the manufacturing level. This means future iPhone 15 models may not suffer from the same issue, and current owners might then consider swapping their devices for a new one.

User Reactions and Next Steps

The issue has gained enough traction online for it to be a concern, although it’s still uncertain how widespread the problem is. In the meantime, some users are choosing to wait for an official statement from Apple before making any decisions about replacements or refunds.

Wrapping it Up

While it’s still too early to gauge the extent of the speaker issue, what is clear is that Apple has another challenge on its hands after just resolving the overheating issue. If history is any guide, we can expect Apple to tackle this issue head-on, just as it did with the overheating problem. For now, iPhone 15 owners may want to keep the volume dial below 80%—at least until we hear more from Apple.